Monday, March 23, 2009

A game night

On Saturday some friends of mine hosted a game night. The time flew by with conversation, Taboo (I managed to score a 0 in one turn-- go me!), and Catholic Scattergories (can you name a king or queen crowned by the Pope whose name begins with a B? Can you name any monarch crowned by the Pope? Some of those categories were tough!)

We also began designing a Catholic Monopoly. Boardwalk and Park Place might be the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica-- what do ya'll think? Should an apparition site like Lourdes or Tepeyac rank above a fabulous church like St. Mark's in Venice? But then came the much more interesting question of what church properties could stand in for the cheap monopoly of Baltic and Mediterranean. I immediately suggested our own church, St. Peter Chanel in Hawaiian Gardens, which is an awesome parish housed in a very humble building with walls of plastic sheeting. It's been in that half-deconstructed state since before I came two years ago.

Then someone else suggested the L.A. Cathedral for the low-rent district, and we had a winner! Unless we use the Cathedral for the jail? It does have high forbidding concrete walls...

One of the girls spoke up and said she'd once attended Mass at the L.A. Cathedral. Like me, she popped in while on jury duty, since the Cathedral's in downtown L.A. right near the courthouses. It was Cardinal Mahony himself celebrating the Mass. Now, some of you know that the Eucharistic prayers mention the pope and the local bishop by name, as in prayer one (the Roman Canon):

We come to you, Father, with praise and thanksgiving, through Jesus Christ your Son. Through him we ask you to accept and bless these gifts we offer you in sacrifice. We offer them for your holy catholic Church; watch over it, Lord, and guide it; grant it peace and unity throughout the world. We offer them for {name of the current pope} our pope, for {name of bishop in your diocese} our bishop, and for all who hold and teach the catholic faith that comes to us from the apostles....

It occurred to my friend to wonder what Cardinal Mahony would say at that part, since he himself is the local bishop in L.A. At our church it's always "We offer them for Benedict our pope, for Roger our bishop..." So she listened and he prayed something like, "for Benedict our pope, for me, your unworthy servant, and for all who hold and teach the catholic faith..."

Which is very nice and appropriate. But my friend, trying to report to us what he'd said, accidentally put it this way: "for Benedict our pope, for me, your unfaithful servant, and for all who hold and teach the catholic faith...." Ooops!

Someone brought Lord of the Rings Trivial Pursuit, and I'm not ashamed to say I wanted to play it. But many people in the room didn't know it well, so it wouldn't have been fun for all. Not that I know it as well as some do-- I know the characters and the story, but I haven't memorized the hobbit family trees in the appendices, nor brushed up on the The Silmarillion, nor watched all the extras on the special edition DVDs (there are questions about those extras, I'm told).

There was a Korean couple at the game night that I hadn't met before. They're young, graduates of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, and expecting their first child very soon. I liked them and was glad to get to know them a little. Someone asked them if it was hard being minorities at the very white Franciscan U. They said yes, that they were a real oddity in Ohio, especially to children. The wife said when she was a student teacher, the kids thought she must be Mulan. As for the husband, he was taken for Jackie Chan by one little boy who wanted an autograph. He obligingly signed himself "Jackie Chan" and even did a few martial arts moves! But less funny was what they said about being denied service: they'd go into a cafeteria-style restaurant and never get approached by a waiter, even though they noticed everyone else getting served. I was really shocked to hear that. I knew there were racists, but I didn't realize anyone would still be that blatant about it. What ignorance (at best)! If they'd grown up in Southern California they might have been different; it's so diverse here that you can hardly avoid getting to know other races. Normally I'm inclined to be very critical of modern Western culture-- it seems to me that a hundred years ago we were more virtuous in nearly every way, not that there weren't plenty of problems back then, too-- but there's one obvious example of serious improvement one can be grateful for. Anyway, I was glad to hear the couple say that they didn't have experiences like that on the campus itself; just out in the town.


Rachel Ann said...

I had some profound thoughts to leave you with on racisim in the USA, but then I realized that all I really wanted to say was: I miss you.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Sounds like fun, I'm down for Catholic Monopoly, and the Cathedral as jail, would be perfect

Pam H. said...

Here in the 3rd largest city in the U.S. we haven't got the type of problems you mention, but there are areas one would probably want to avoid - they differ depending on one's own race. My workplace, thank goodness, is highly multicultural. It makes it easier for everyone (even white oddballs!) to fit in.

JimAroo said...

Regarding the Town of Steubenville, they made a movie about it once:
"The Land That Time Forgot".

It was a a great place for my daughter to go to school....there are NO distractions - the nearest decent restaurant is in Pittsburgh....37 miles away. Even the locals find it boring.... on Saturday nights they go down to the abandoned steel mill and watch it rust.

But if your Catholic faith is important to you, there is no better place to be.

Anonymous said...

"Go directly to purgatory. Do not pass the plate. Do not collect 200 indulgences."

Rachel Gray said...

Rachel, I'm glad I get to read a sampling of your profound thoughts on your blog...

Pam, I'm in LA and it's the same thing. There's such a mix of races that everyone's a minority.

JimAroo, I've never met a Steubenville grad that wasn't a great person. :)

Anon-- ha ha!