Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Italian Experience


Father Ignatius spent the early years of his priesthood in Rome, so he was quite fluent in Italian, although he had no opportunity to use his linguistic skills in St Vincent Parish. Until last week that is.

One of his parishioners, a wealthy businessman, invited him to a new Italian restaurant for lunch and to discuss the proposal to refurbish the church hall and Parish house.

It was a nice little restaurant beautifully decorated in Italian style resembling a typical fisherman’s cottage you’d find in Naples. Although the menu was mostly fish, you could still order a nice pizza or your favourite spaghetti or ravioli.

“We’ve refurbished and decorated this place” said the proud businessman as they sat at a table near the window.

“It’s beautiful” said Father Ignatius, “I hope you won’t decorate the church hall in the same style though …”

And so the conversation progressed throughout a lovely meal with the sound of Italian music playing softly in the background through hidden speakers. The priest recognized Domenico Modugno singing Volare and Mario Lanza’s version of Torna Sorriento. It took him back to happy times spent in Rome and Turin.

But that was not the only Italian that reached his ears that day. He noticed that from time to time the efficient waiters spoke to each other in their native language and commented on the customers sitting at table. Sometimes their comments were quite complimentary and pleasant, whereas at times they were quite rude and certainly inappropriate in his presence … if only they knew!

At one point he heard them speak about him.

“That man at table six is a priest,” said a waiter to another, “how can he afford to eat here? I thought priests were meant to be poor …”

“Don’t you recognize who’s with him?” replied the second waiter, “he’s the contractor who decorated this place. I bet he’s paying … you’ll see …”

“Just as well …” said the first waiter, “the priest looks poorer than a church mouse. I bet he hasn’t a penny on him …”

Father Ignatius smiled at himself and said nothing; except continue his conversation with his host.

When the meal was over, and just as they were leaving, Father Ignatius turned to the two waiters and said in Italian, “Grazie molto. Arrivederci.”

Three simple words, uttered in perfect accent, which spoke volumes to those they were addressed to. You should have seen their faces!

10 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It's great to see you visiting me again Sinder Ella. Thank you.

      God bless.

      Delete
  2. Good for Fr. Ignatius! Now that's a good way to teach someone a lesson...lol.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Mary,

    This situation actually happened to me. The waiters did not realise I could speak in their language. Unlike Fr Ignatius, I did not say anything when I left.

    God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This sort of situation has happened to me in a more high-tech fashion. Several times I have accidentally sent a text message talking about a person, to that person. When that person brought the error to my attention, I was mortified. I think it's God's way of keeping my communication charitable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow Sarah, that must have been embarrassing.

      God bless you.

      Delete
  5. This happened to me when I was 16 and visited Paris with my French class! My roommates and I were in the elevator with some bell boys who were talking in French about how stupid Americans are! Whereupon I told them quite empahtically - in French - that we were not stupid at all. They looked pretty red in the face, apologized and were polite to us after that! At least to our faces!
    Great story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's amazing how many people talk in their native language unaware that others may understand them.

      God bless you Colleen.

      Delete
  6. I loved this story. We must always be careful not to assume anything about strangers without evidence or we can embarrass ourselves and our country.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. Thank you once again for your visit and comments Barbara. I really appreciate them.

      God bless.

      Delete

I PRAY FOR ALL WHO COMMENT HERE.

God bless you.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...