by Debbie Bolin, Central Missouri Companion & Campus Minister at Sacred Heart School in Sedalia
This is part of a reflection from a mission trip that Debbie led to PBMR in Chicago earlier this summer.
Did you know there is Chicago style pizza, Chicago style hotdogs and definitely Chicago style of driving? I promised Fr. Denny that I wouldn’t mention his driving since we did get back safe and sound! And then there is the ice cream. As we got all settled in at the Darst Center for Peace and Justice, a repurposed convent at St. Anthony’s parish in Bridgeport, we met Hannah. Hannah is a senior in college and is working at the Center for Justice as an intern for the summer. This was another educational experience for my students as they are now seeing their future with endless possibilities! We were a little restless as we had been sitting and traveling all day so Hannah suggested we walk to the “Sugar Shack.” Walk in the neighborhoods of Chicago? I was thinking, “Are you sure? Is it safe?” So off we went. The Sugar Shack only takes cash, by the way. I believe their claim to fame is the Funnel Cake Sundae, with the works! The girls each had one, and they were amazing!
We walked just a couple of blocks to stand in a long line of an amazing group of people, Chinese, Japanese, Black, Latino and of course our group from Missouri, all speaking to each other or on their phones in their native languages. Some of the topics of conversations ranged from World Cup Soccer to checking on family members who were not feeling well, to just talking about stopping for ice cream. The point is ice cream brought us all together…we were many, yet one!
This goes back to the beginning of the United States of America! The U. S. is made up of all immigrant people looking for a better life. Visiting Chicago is such a humbling experience. Chicago is a huge city with a vast array of people—English speaking and numerous other languages, all co-existing peacefully and not so peacefully. Why would anyone think that one is better than the other six or seven different Nationalities living in one city or country for that matter?
It seems that the “Sugar Shack” is accomplishing what we can’t seem to: bringing people peacefully together for a common goal. Think about our Church’s Ice cream socials—bringing people together for fellowship and ice cream! No one can be grumpy while eating ice cream!