Monday, 28 October 2013

Who do you talk to?- and various linguistic anomalies

I see a number of people during any given week, about any range of things.
I am quite clear that having coffee with a parishioner, or another priest or some other friend, even a member of the family is as much "pastoral care" as any of the more formal things I do that might go under that label.
Some of those more formal things: going to hospital, preparing for baptisms, rushing out to a deathbed at night, helping families putting funerals together...are the privilege and joy of the priest. And the presence of the Holy Spirit of Jesus is often tangible.
Over the last few days I have done a number of those things; including speaking French to a new arrival in our blessed country. Might make them feel a little more at home having recently arrived from the Seychelles!
He did inform me that he also spoke "Italienne, et Allemand" I chose not to go there. And certainly didn't attempt the Creole of the Seychelles
I had an occasion a few years ago when visiting an aged care facility to speak to a lady in faulting German..."Ich bin der Pfarrer!"  she immediately corrected my use of the anachronistic word 'Pfarrer' and said "Oh Pastor!"
Her eyes seemed to light up! I was heartened that a woman who had for the last ten visits seemed lost in the perfectly adequate aged care facility...suddenly smiled.
I felt ashamed that I hadn't tried to speak to her in German before, paticularly since she didn't seem to mind that my "Deutsch war nicht so gut!"...but did delight to hear it any way
We should,I think, just enjoy each other. Language gives us such an inroad!

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