St. Paul’s vibrant Comunidad LatinoAmericana bears witness to what I think Paul had in mind when he talked about the Body of Christ. Most are from Ecuador, with a smattering from Peru, Columbia and other parts of the Americas. They originally came to Rome to serve as domestic help for wealthy locals. There are now two and three generations here, often travelling between their extended families on two continents. While completely fluent in Italian, they enjoy worshipping in Spanish Sundays at 12:30, followed by a delicious Ecuadoran lunch, often with a Bible study or mini-reflection offered by one of the community. They worship, break bread, sing, dance, socialize, commiserate and occasionally argue as a community, always in love.
Last week was Stela’s birthday party. Maybe 20 of us celebrated Eucharist
upstairs, joined by at least another 20 downstairs in the crypt for the party. I cannot express the gratitude I feel being welcomed by this community. I will sit at the table with them, exhausted from trying to process the conversations going on around me in rapidly interchanging Italian and Spanish, and they accept and love me in my befuddlement.