A Royal Week
This week, we had a couple of pretty awesome surprises. It started out as a normal week with the Introduction to St. Mark course where we studied the narrative elements and structure found in the Gospel of Mark. Then on Tuesday, during the Hebrew course, we started looking at all these massive Jewish feasts – Roch Hashanan – the big feast of the Jewish New Year. We also looked at Yom Kippour (these are all phonetically transcribed sounds because the Jewish alphabet looks completely different than what we use in English and because I can’t read it… yet… J). That’s the Jewish day of pardon, 10 days after Roch Hashanan. We’re now making our way through Sukkot (the Feast of Tents) where the Jews pitch and live in these tents just outside the city of Jerusalem for a number of days as a reminder of their 40 years of life in the desert. Wednesday was the day of the big surprise…
Wednesday, we have our course of Canon law… Right now, we’re studying the canons governing the life and structure of the Catholic parish… but our professor (a canon who’s also the rector of the Cathedral) adapts it so well to real life situations. We’re discussing, for example, whether the system of distinguishing parishes according to their territorial boundaries still holds given the enormous mobility and sense of freedom Catholics of today have. Well, in light of all of that, our professor arrived about 15 minutes late last time. So there we were, all kinda wondering what was going on—it was unusual for him to be late. Then he suddenly popped in and asked us: Do you not want to see the king and queen? So for the next 20 or so minutes, our entire class walked over to the nearby Parliament buildings of the province of Namur (just across from the cathedral of Namur) and, with the humongous crowd that was already there, tried to get a passing glance of the newly installed king and queen of Belgium. There were these Belgian flags everywhere as well as members of the press all over the street. Then when the convoy of the king and queen arrived, everyone started cheering and waving their flags. The king and queen went around greeting the people first of all… I kinda got a brief glance at both of them. The only thing that stuck in my mind is the fact that the queen had on this gigantic but very fashionable, very chic orang hat… Hahahahahaha But for the most part, I was too short to see so, like Zacchaeus, I had to jump up and down to get a glimpse of them. I didn’t really want to climb up something, though there were people who were climbing up various windowsills to see better. It was pretty awesome and it’s even more great to know that we have a professor who’s that free in his courses.
The rest of the week went by normally. We had a lively discussion on the strengths and limitations of the historo-critical method of study of Scripture in our Christology class and looked in quite a bit of detail how this method was used and abused in the past. And finally, on Friday, we ended our week with a great little history lesson on the martyrs and emperors of the 2nd and 3rd century leading up to Constantine.
On the weekend, I did something pretty cool as well… I made my way, hitching a ride with some of the guys here who were on their way to a community weekend, to Lille, France where I spent Saturday evening and the whole of Sunday with the l’Arche community of Lille. It was so great seeing some of my friends from l’Arche again and it worked out even better for me because that weekend, they too were holding a retreat where my foyer was, which allowed me to see the entire community and not just my own foyer. The theme of the retreat was taking care of oneself and one of the talks was given by one of the persons welcomed in the community. She was helped by an assistant to present the various things that she liked that she would use to take care of herself – whether that be makeup to take care of herself physically or a little catechism book showing the importance of her faith to take care of herself spiritually. She also showed us a few of the different ways she would take care of the other people around her—by sweeping the floor or by preparing the tea they would take at the end of a long day. It was a very simple talk but it was awesome being there.
By the way, this is the Church of Wambréchies (in Lille) where I assisted at Mass this Sunday… It’s pretty cool eh? Anyway, I think that’ll do for now for my blog. Have a great week and God bless!