In The Comedy of Errors, Antipholus and Dromio of Syracuse seek shelter in a church. Milagros Martinez Alonso shares her story of how she tried to find her church home in Delaware soon after arriving from Puerto Rico.
“One Day, Two Churches” by Milagros Martinez Alonso
On February 14, 2016, I arrived from Puerto Rico to New Castle, Delaware. It was my first time here not on vacation, but to live. I came with great desire to attend a church near the neighborhood where I would live. At the entrances of the community where I live there are two churches. I read in the doors in one of the churches that there was English mass at 9:45; at the other church there was English mass at 9:45 and a Spanish mass at 11:30.
When I decided to go on the Sunday after my arrival, I did not remember the schedules of each church. Well, obviously I decided to go to the church that had a mass is Spanish. But I when I got there I noted the Spanish mass began at 11:30 and I was there at 9:45, that is in the English mass. I chose to go to the other church that had a 9:45 mass. I entered and spoke no Spanish. Nobody else spoke Spanish either. All the people were telling me many things I did not understand. I was just telling them, “Good Morning,” “My name is Milagros,” and “Thank you.” I could not say anything else. Oh my Lord!!! My hours there were eternal and incredible. There were two people who claimed to know English but the reality was that they knew exactly what I knew of English. I sang all songs because they were projected on the wall in a Powerpoint. When the mass finished, there was another problem, because I knew they were inviting me and announcing things, activities and I could just say, “Thank you, thank you, very much.”
When I got in my car, UFFF!!! I felt that I could return to breathing. I could not believe I had dared to go alone to a church that spoke only English. It was an experience I will never forget.
Then I went to mass at the other church that had a Spanish mass at 11:30. I was frightened by the experience that had just happened. Brave and curious, I entered. And I heard the voice of monsignor. He said in Spanish, “Bienvinida (Welcome)!! ¿Cuál es tu nombre (What is your name?)? ¿De dónde vienes (Where do you come from?)…?” I felt at home. After returning I thought about how important it is to have a welcoming church and how lucky I was to find one. I contacted a friend to enquire about donations to the church, so I could contribute to keeping such a welcoming place alive. She introduced me to digital donating and the options open to me, after I chose one and opened their site I started my regular donations – I never miss one.
I want to emphasize that both churches are excellent with the community. I was attending church with two masses. Currently I belong to the chorus of the English mass, singing soprano. It has been in incredible experience, helping me to learn and improve my English in four months.