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September 5, 2004

5/9/4 Domingo

Cheers to Matt and Nate, who have already commented on my first weblog entry!  So you DO read my emails, even if you never respond to my requests to let me know what YOU’RE up to  

Today I decided to go to mass at the Sao Sebastiao church I always pass on my busrides to and from campus.  Well, actually, I decided to go earlier in the week as something to do on Sunday.  I thought it’d be neat to compare worship in the US and Brazil; although I realized this morning that I don’t really have much to base a comparison on since I don’t go to the Catholic Church in the US!  I did identify two Presbyterian churches in Porto Alegre by doing a google search last night, so I plan to phone the closest one and find out when their “culto”, or worship, is.  (Yes, the word culto also means cult–I’m not sure why it’s also used for worship, or why it’s also used for cult if worship came first.  It seems like Protestants wouldn’t want to risk that association.).

Anyway, despite the fact that I couldn’t do an in-depth cultural comparison due to my lack of experience with Catholic mass in the US, there didn’t appear to be anything radically different between the service and the few masses I can remember attending–nor much difference from a Protestant worship service.  There were hymns, call-and-responses, a few scripture readings, offering, Communion, and the passing of the peace (when everyone said “a paz de Deus” and either shook hands or kissed the cheek of those nearby, just like we do at the end of every service at SCPresby).  The congregation appeared to be primarily middle class and middle aged or elderly, though there were several other young faces in the crowd as well.  When I went up to take Communion (am I allowed to do that in a Catholic church if I’m not a Catholic?), I didn’t put the wafer in my mouth immediately, so the bishop took it back out of my hand and did it for me!  The abruptness  of it briefly unsettled me as I thought to myself, Geesh, I was going to put the darn thing in my mouth in a sec! 

It’s funny, but I found myself really yearning to go to a church service last night and this morning.  I think I needed the comfort of something more or less familiar, and perhaps I actually needed the comfort of God/Jesus.  I typcially consider myself more of a spiritual person than a religious person, but maybe I believe in more than I think I do–or perhaps it’s the lingering influence of my Christian upbringing.  In any case, I was definitely seeking something when I went to church this morning.  It’s hard, at times, to be here without any friends or family from home.  I miss you guys all so much and wish I could afford a weekend trip back to the states to help clear away my longing to receive some FISH hugs, to go to a burger night at PJ Harrigan’s with my family, and to spend an evening in Paul’s arms.  I feel like that would be enough to refresh me for the rest of my stay until December, when I’ll be able to be surrounded by the people I love once again every week.

Homesickness is the only hard part about being here.  The language, classwork, city life–all of this I’m handling hands down.  But in a way, I appreciate the hardship.  It helps me to empathize with others who are separated from their loved ones, such as those in Iraq, and with those who have lost family members or friends.  I’m lucky that the circumstances separating us right now are by choice, and that all of us are alive and well with no dangers other than the ordinary facing us.  Take a moment right now to say a prayer for all of the people in the world who are feeling the pain of separation, or send a positive vibe their way if you aren’t the praying type.  I firmly believe that there is power in thought–that our mental energies can travel distances that our voices can’t.  The power of love IS that strong, we just need to tap into it more often.  People talk about humans only using a small percentage of our brains, but I think it’s the percentage of our hearts that we don’t use that would enable us to achieve the extraordinary if only we were to utilize more of it.

A paz e o amor sejam com vocês.



From → Brazil, Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. hey miss cori
    just wanted to say this weblog is cool and i definately agree with some of the great things you said about separation.  when i experience culture shock or homesickness on a trip, i always think of the millions of immigrants around the world who leave their home countries once and for all for various hardship reasons…
    as far as that all goes, i’m leaving for france in a few days and i think i’m going to try to make an online journal as well.  good idea!  i’m not the website type… anyway i’ve been reading a few things that you’ve written and the letters from my friend in jordan, and i see immense wisdom coming out of some of the most desperate writings… we learn so much when we are out of our comfort zones.  we think thoughts we never would have imagined.  good stuff.  keep plugging along!  and LOVING.
    here’s some good vibes your way…

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