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A long journey in a house called Church

Carlos Ferreira

December 7, 2011
The following post was submitted by Carlos Ferreira, a new addition to the S+L team.
Coming from Europe to join to the Salt + Light team, more specifically from Portugal, is an experience of faith. After a big event like WYD Madrid – where I worked for the organizing committee’s communications department – I came here to help spread God's Word to the whole world. Change always offers something to learn and, for me, I could learn a new form of celebrating the mass and understanding the universality of the Church.
In my homeland we have a completely different reality of Church and people are used to living their faith with a very different sense of community. There, when someone misses mass, everyone will try to find out why. I could see that here, living the faith is a more individual experience, but the faith is still strong and centered on Christ.
Two Sundays ago when I went to St. Basil’s Parish in Toronto, I was prepared to see a new form of living the mass and, in fact, I found it. At the same time I felt like everyone in that church was in the same boat as me. For me, it was my first mass in an English speaking parish, and for everyone else it was their first mass with the new translation of the missal. I thought it was God’s way of making me feel welcome on this new continent where I’ve come to work for Him.
My new experience of the universality of the Church didn’t end here. That evening, myself and some other members of Salt + Light staff attended the annual gala dinner put on by Fountain of Love and Life (the Chinese programming department of S+L). There I could really witness how big God’s work is.
At that dinner, with so many members of the Chinese community present and united in the same God, they were celebrating that they can live their faith, even if some were far from home. It occurred to me that if they were in China, they probably wouldn’t have the chance to live their faith in this vibrant way.
The program for the evening was in Chinese and English translation was offered. The gala testified to how important it is for the community to express their faith in their own language.
These two occurrences helped me understand that I’m just a little grain of sand in God’s hands. Wherever we go or whatever we do, the work of God and his Church is always possible. I experienced all of this on the first Sunday of Advent. The words of the angels to the shepherds, “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people,” were brought to life, reminding me again that Christ came for all and is present in every corner of the world.