Each weekend since arriving here I've concelebrated Mass with the Soldiers from Poland who are part of the multinational forces here. I don't speak any Polish, and by watching the liturgical texts on the altar during Mass, I've at least begun to have some sense of how to pronounce some words.
It's amazing to me just how many consonants can be strung together and then vocalized.
The Polish Soldiers showed up to bring in a too-large (real) Christmas tree just as we were about to begin our Christmas Eve Mass. They also carried in a bale of hay, and the makings of what looked to be a rather large Christmas creche.
While my friends and I were at Midnight Mass off-Post, the Polish Soldiers had their Midnight Mass in our Post Chapel. Christmas morning, the Chapel was filled with U.S. and Polish Soldiers as we celebrated Mass together. They had set up their creche, and the large tree in the back smelled like Christmas when I was a child. The Poles always have their national Colors in the sanctuary, though in a more prominent place than we usually have ours.
That was the second time in nine hours that I concelebrated Mass in a language (Polish, Albanian) I do not speak, read, write, or understand.
Good thing the message of Christmas joy isn't limited by linguistic ineptitude on my part!
Blessings and peace to one and all,
Fr. Tim, SJ