A microcosm of cultures meeting

While I am on the subject of importing, exporting and legacy, I wanted to mention a local Chicago example. This Sunday, I visited three masses in two churches around Pilsen and Little Village; Our Lady of Tepeyac and Saint Adalbert. These churches, from 1922 and 1912 respectively, were built by the Polish community in Chicago. The signs are still visible in the artwork on the walls and ceiling; and Polish language masses are still held even though the neighborhoods are now largely Mexican.

There is a wonderful fusion of the Polish and Mexican catholic influences, imported from the two countries. The Polish people will always recognize their legacy in the building; they are exporting their art to the United States and to the Mexican communities; and the Mexicans are importing their art to the United States and the Polish community.

It is an interesting dynamic and cultural diplomacy has little to do with it, especially connected with investments and trade as described in my previous post. There is little money and politics involved; it is simply a matter of two cultures meeting each other on new ground. And it is a great example of how multiculturalism should work. The two cultures share some commonalities (in this case religion, which I admit, is a major commonality), but are otherwise very distinct. Yet the two cultures share this common ground, a common neighborhood (and in this case a building), and influence each other without one culture dominating the other, or one culture assimilating into the other: the eastern European Saint Adalbert goes hand in hand with the Mexican Our Lady of Guadalupe.