Culture does indeed matter. It contributes greatly to who we are because it incorporates the characteristic features of our everyday existence, especially during our formative years. We are raised in it, we develop in it, and our self-identity is greatly influenced by it.
Culture is to be honored and respected as a great creative force in our world. Culture is a force that brings beauty and diversity to the human experience of life. All the cultures of our world contain great wisdom and when we respect the great diversity of cultures, we create the opportunity for ourselves to wonder into them and be enlightened by their wisdom and enriched by their peoples. Every single culture on this planet is worthy of honor and respect.
Yet so much harm has been committed and continues to be done in the drive for assimilation. Often times, assimilation carries within itself the silencing and destruction of cultures. I remember that as a newly arrived child in this country the words “assimilate” and “melting-pot” seemed to be all around me. So, the pressure to assimilate and melt slowly gained their ground until I finally understood that I would no longer buy the rhetoric nor coward to their demands and destructive powers.
Our parish is a beautiful place of so many cultures. There are cultures from Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America. We speak a number of languages including some indigenous languages as Quich. Some of us have been born here and others born in numerous other countries. St. Julia is a place where everyone feels safe and feels free to be who they are and express themselves in their culture. What a blessing it is to be enriched by so many cultures and the wisdom, spiritualities, music, art, customs and foods that each one brings to our parish family.
How do we share more of all these blessings with the greater parish community? How? When? Do you have any ideas as to how you can share your culture with the community? Can you think of new ways to do it? What can we do to make sure that everyone feels free and good about sharing anything and everything about their culture? Do you have any ideas? Are there things you would like to see, or better yet, create and make happen in our parish?
We need to keep teaching our children about the beauty and power of our culture and the cultures that make up who we are at St. Julia. We all need to empower one another with the ability to respect, honor and appreciate one another’s culture.
You know, it’s only by knowing one another and sharing with one another that we will come to a greater appreciation and understanding of each another. So, what new opportunities can we create?
You are in my prayers and in my heart. Peace.