Break Down the Language Barrier

My grandfather didn't learn Italian. He quipped about how his parents would only speak it when they didn't want him to understand what they were saying. I remember him telling me how he wished they would have taught him their native tongue. He felt disconnected from his heritage because he never learned the language. That disconnect over language can occur within communities, too.

When Bishop Tamayo was installed as the first bishop of Laredo, he wanted to communicate with both his English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners. He wondered how best to reach both communities. Should the diocese have two publications, one in each language? Or, should they have one publication with both languages? He took the question to his priests. On the one hand, two publications can better cover the topics unique to each community and make the faith more relevant. After all, the Second Vatican Council emphasized how important it was for the faithful to worship in their native language. On the other hand, we are one Church.

A wonderful way to demonstrate that fact would be a single publication presenting the same message in both languages. The priests overwhelmingly chose the latter. For a new diocese establishing itself, the idea of unity was very important. A single publication would represent a new unified community of believers. Whether we are editors, writers, communication directors, directors of evangelization or clergy, all of us are content evangelists. We have an obligation to reach beyond what we know to reach others.

If we speak English, we have to find ways to effectively communicate the faith in Spanish. If we are comfortable with the print process, we have to learn the ever-changing digital world. The secular culture can seem more foreign with each passing day. Yet, we must engage the world. The example for us to follow comes from God himself. God wanted us to better understand him, so he sent us his Word made flesh. He sent us Christ. That Word has captured the hearts and minds of people from every nation and tongue under a common faith. Our task is to keep spreading the Gospel message using every means at our disposal, every language we can, every medium and tactic. Because nothing is more important than this message, which transcends worldly barriers, brings joy to our days and hope for everlasting life.