Thursday, March 5, 2009

wednesday night misa

Every Wednesday night at 7pm, an average of 30 UAC-CP students, faculty, and staff gather to celebrate the liturgy in the  Campus Leahy chapel.

Mural on the back wall of the chapel depicts the Yungas mountains in night and day. The words of St. Francis' Canticle of the Sun are written in five different languages that represent all the languages spoken at the College.

It's a small and simple chapel with re-arrangeable benches and a beautiful mural on the back wall that volunteer Lee Lechtenberg and his son Paul, a former UAC-CP volunteer, painted several years ago.  Because of its size, we all sit close together, a definite feeling of togetherness.

Student musicians often stay after mass to play music. I stay after mass to play the tambourine and dance!

There is a group of about 5-6 student musicians who play traditional Bolivian instruments--guitar, drum, churrango, panflute, etc.--and sing.  When invited, I sometimes try to make myself a part of the group by shaking a tambourine or the patitas (a tambourine, of sorts, made of goat hooves tied together on a string). 

The music is one of the primary reasons I go to the mass. Quite simply, it's spirit-filled. The songs, especially, offer a perfect mid-week reflection for me.  And many of the songs, like Todo Cambia (Everything Changes), seem to speak directly to our situation here in rural Bolivia--the constant struggle and continued hope for peace and justice.

One of my favorite songs, "De Nuestros Llanos Tropicales," speaks directly to who we are, where our students come from, what we are trying to accomplish. Its words seem all the more powerful, more alive, when we join in the chapel and sing it together:

From our tropical lowlands,
from the altiplano and from the valleys,
we came today to present to you,
our hope and our lives.

That in our rural areas and cities,
that in our home and work,
we find peace, justice, and protection
for your children, good Father

That this land that you gave us,
with our strength and with your help,
will soon be for everyone,
a land renewed. 

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