One of my favorite songs out today is called "Soul Sister" by Train, and not just because its a catchy tune. The first time I heard the part of the lyrics that references the band "Mister Mister" I knew it would be a favorite. If you’ve never heard of Mister Mister, they were a band from the mid-’80s (yes, I know, showing my age here). I used to love them. They had a song called "Kyrie Eleison" that I thought was just fabulous.
But what I remember most about Mister Mister and "Kyrie Eleison" was when I wondered out loud one day what "Kyrie Eleison" meant. My father was shocked that I didn’t know. Mind you, we were a family that never missed Mass on Sunday or holy days, planned where we would attend when on vacation, participated in First Fridays, said novenas, etc. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been immersed in Catholic life. Yet outside of a Mister Mister song I had never heard the phrase "Kyrie Eleison." I was born after the liturgical changes of Vatican II, and had always heard the parts of the Mass said or sung in English.
As I look back on that moment now, what strikes me most is my father’s surprise that I didn’t know the term. He somehow just assumed that I would know it (how, exactly, is a bit of a mystery). I encounter this often in working with parishes that want to reach out to young adults. There can be an assumption that young-adult Catholics know terms or expressions just because they were a part of a previous generations’ formative experience. This can lead to young adults feeling like they don’t know anything about their faith or afraid of looking ignorant for asking questions. As a community we need to create an atmosphere where everyone can feel free to ask questions, with the understanding that with more than 2,000 years of history there will always be things to learn and understand regardless of our age. This, and Mister Mister, could open us up to a lifelong learning in faith!