My husband and I recently relocated (temporarily) to Mendoza, Argentina. We’re here to learn Spanish, have a bit of adventure, and to soak up this lovely South American culture. I’m excited to be in a new country and stumbling around with new versions of Catholicism. There is this great old church on the corner not too far from our apartment that is celebrating 400 years of the Jesuits in Mendoza. 400 years!!
I have yet to investigate this parish personally, but when I walked by the other day, a gentleman was standing in front of a painting of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, praying. And yesterday, a woman was holding some sort of vigil (pro-life, maybe?) in front.
This is new to me. I haven’t seen people paused outside religious images in the U.S. (though, perhaps I never took the time to notice). Does it mean that there is a richer pious life here in Mendoza than in Juneau, Alaska? Or does it simply mean I’m paying closer attention?
When I was in graduate school, I worked for The Pluralism Project—we did research on the religious diversity of America and often talked about how to be observers of various religious traditions. I feel myself needing those same skills here—how do I watch Catholicism here, honestly, without romanticizing it? How do I be respectful of Catholicism here? What does being U.S. Catholic mean here in Argentina? I guess, as they say here, voy a ver!