Posted March 26, 2009 in MH Raleigh NC:
Notes from Near and Far: Raleigh, North Carolina

by Theresa Davis.

The difficult times in which we live have alerted people. They seem to be feeling more of a need for unity, support, solidarity, belonging to a family. Two important events here in Raleigh indicated this.

One was put on by AAMEN (African American Ministry Evangelization Network), a group in our parish. They had a Mass, which they had urged the white community to participate in as Eucharistic ministers and lectors and in the wonderful reception afterwards.

Many cultures were represented including African-American, African-African, Polish, Vietnamese, Montagnard, and Korean. It was a joyful and unifying occasion.

The other event was a huge ecumenical prayer meeting at a synagogue. There was standing room only. The rabbi prayed in Hebrew and explained the Holy of Holies and the sanctuary. (It was evident as he was speaking, that we are Judeo-Christians.)

A Jesuit, the main homilist, explained some of our Catholic beliefs, and a Lutheran minister led prayers. Even an imam read from the Koran in Arabic. He translated what he had read, and the last line was, "You cannot get into Paradise unless you have loved one another."

A third event is coming up, one initiated by a new Ukrainian Byzantine-Rite priest. Believing that ecumenism needs to happen at a local as well as a hierarchical level, he is organizing a get-together for Orthodox and Roman Catholics, a gathering where the common bond will be beauty—the beauty of sacred music.

All have agreed to share some of their beautiful music. A former MH staff worker, who lives in Raleigh, will be representing the Roman Rite, and he will be singing "Ave Maria" and some of our other sacred hymns.

Fortune, an important economic magazine, ranked Raleigh fifth among the American cities likely to have the least unemployment in the near future. There are, however, lots of lay-offs, the supplies at the food banks are low, and the line-ups to receive the food is getting longer.

In the words of Charles Dickens, this is "the best of times and the worst of times." As for me, I find it very stimulating and wonderful to have been chosen to live in this era.


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