Report From Fr. Joe:
7/27: I flew from Chicago to Mexico City and arrived to beautiful sunshine. The reason for my trip was to work with a team of people to train Mexican sign language interpreters on religious sign language.
Our team is fifteen people. Five deaf; ten hearing. Six from the USA; nine from Mexico.
7/28: all the team members arrived, and we began to work. The people presenting workshops (like me) had to sit down with interpreters to figure out how to communicate. We decided there were three "official" languages: spoken Spanish, ASL, and LSM (Mexican sign language). So, if I were giving my talk, I shut off my voice and signed ASL. One interpreter voiced my signing in Spanish, another signed it in LSM.
If Mexican deaf person stood up and signed, the talk was voiced in Spanish and signed back to the US people in ASL.
That night we had a wonderful Mexican dinner. When I went to bed, there was a very loud and strong rain storm.
7/29. Twenty -five sign language interpreters from all over Mexico arrived. They were from as far north as Sonora and as far south from Oaxaca.
Our team began to work with them to evaluate their signing skills.
Later I celebrated Mass. Again, it was in ASL, spoken Spanish, and LSM. We also explained that at meals, the only languages allowed were sign languages.
The place we are staying is an old seminary. My room on the 2nd floor has no air conditioning, no elevator, and the hot water works....sometimes. I feel like I am back in the seminary 50 years ago. The food here is all home cooked Mexican food-wonderful.
7/30: each day begins the same . Breakfast at 8, then morning prayer. Workshops begin at 9:15. Coffee break at Noon. More training. Lunch, 3pm. Dinner, 8pm..
Today we had Mass with the deaf community. They have an interpreted Mass twice a month. Many had never seen a priest sign a Mass. There was a good crowd. They are just like all deaf communities. After Mass they stayed to sign with each other for more than an hour.This afternoon, Ian Robertson from Florida and I gave an hour and a half workshop in interpreting the Bible. Next workshop is by 2 deaf women on deaf community, communication, and deaf culture. Dinner is at 8 30pm. Staff meeting at 9 30pm.
I remember all of you in my Masses and prayers. Please pray for all of us this week.