Prison Diary: La Paz de Cristo sea con vosotros

The Men in White in our bible study don't have a lot of liturgical knowledge or experience. For the most part they are, as they say, "unchurched."

So one of the things that I've enjoyed over the years is introducing the men to liturgy and the liturgical calendar. I've explained to them the difference between Advent and Christmas. One year during Lent I heavily smudged ashes onto a piece of paper to get ashes in the prison so that they could experience the imposition of ashes. My smudge was heavy and thick enough that I could rub my thumb over it to leave a faint black cross on the foreheads of the men.

This week I was talking about the passing of the peace in liturgical churches. Outside of the Eucharist the passing of the peace is my favorite part of liturgical services. I wish my church passed the peace. It's a powerful symbol of reconciled humanity as New Creation.

Most of the men in the study had never passed the peace. So I explained the point of the liturgy and the words we say to each other. "Peace be with you." or "Peace of Christ." or simply "Peace."

After this little lesson, 50 plus men got up and passed the peace.

The Hispanic men passed the peace to me with "La Paz de Christo" ("the Peace of Christ") and "La Paz de Cristo sea con vosotros."

May the Peace of Christ be with you.

And also with you, my brothers. And also with you.

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