Friday, July 04, 2003

Well, the ICDA Mass was great! It was nice to see Father Russo again -- he was among the priests and deacons who were concelebrating Mass with a bishop from NJ, but I got to chat with him before Mass began.

I was with my deaf-blind friend Joe J and his mom, their friend Diana. We found a place where we could unobtrusively interpret for Joe J, since he uses tactile sign language (you sign into his hands) and needs his own interpreter. (I say "unobtrusively" because there's just no way around the fact that our goings-on can avoid being somewhat of a visual distraction, if you're not used to seeing this sort of interpreting done.) We found an empty aisle, a gap between a row of pews and a very large pillar, and positioned his wheelchair to face sideways. We got a folding chair set up face-to-face with his chair, so that whoever was interpreting could look up to the signing that was happening on the altar, if need be. Then when Mass started, Joe J's mom and I took turns interpreting. We both have a lot of experience interpreting Masses. Jean's interpreted them for Joe J for years, and I interpret once a month at the church where I grew up. In fact, I thought that it'd just be the two of us for the whole Mass, but surprise! A deaf lady who's a friend of Jean and Joe J, who attends the Mass for the Deaf in Delaware County, saw us and SHE came over and took a turn interpreting for Joe J, too. That was nice.

BTW, it's normally against the Interpreter's Code of Ethics to reveal who you interpreted for, or who else was the interpreter at a particular event. (To be honest, it's going a little bit against my grain to render the details in print.) However, since I *did* take some pictures during Mass during my "down time", and since I fully intend to POST said pics to my site, well... it's hardly going to be a big secret if I go plastering photos all over the Internet. Besides, this was a public event that anyone could attend, so it's nothing that ANYONE couldn't have seen for themselves if they'd attended the Mass. I sure as heck won't be posting online pics or naming names for any interpreting I do that's of a personal nature, such as during a doctor's appointment or whatever.

After Mass, we met up with more people. Mark works within a few blocks of the Cathedral, so he came over at around 5 PM, arriving near the end of Mass. One of my former interpreting instructors spotted me and came over, too. It was nice to talk to her again. :o) I told her the same thing I said to someone else at the Deaf Expo: that I want to get back into interpreting, and that I would like to work with a mentor interpreter to get the rust off my ASL. She gave me her business card, and it turns out that we're on each other's AOL buddy list already :o), so we'll see what happens after I get back from AADB. (Shoot, I can't think of a better way to de-rust my ASL than spending a week at the deaf-blind convention, but I'd probably still benefit from working with a mentor for a bit.)

After that, we met the sort of person that pretty much renews my faith in the human race. There was a monsignor who approached our group. He's from out-of-state and he has a deaf-blind friend back home, so he wanted to introduce himself to Joe J. The two of them started chatting. I did notice one part of the conversation where Joe J was describing the chronic pain in his back and ankle, but mostly I was chatting with other people and letting Monsignor and Joe J talk on their own.

Next thing I saw was Monsignor reaching into his pocket and saying to Joe J, "I have something for you". He took out a crucifix that's about 3" long. "This was blessed by the Pope. I got it in Rome. I want you to have it. Remember every time you're suffering that the Pope is praying for you because he blessed this cross". I was amazed at how generous Monsignor was being to a person that he'd only met a few minutes before. It just goes to prove that no matter how many nightmarish headlines we read in the news, there are ALSO people in the world who are kind and giving. We met one of them today, so I promise, the good people ARE out there.

Later during this holiday weekend, I'll post the Mass photos. By then, I expect to have photos from several different events to post.

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