Browsing Amen Corner

Amen Corner - February 27, 2022

Written by Kathy Kuczka

As a former intern coordinator in Washington D.C., I had the opportunity to visit Gallaudet University. Gallaudet is the only University where all programs are specifically designed for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. I witnessed students interacting, collaborating, socializing, storytelling, even laughing—all in complete silence. I have never experienced the power of silence as I did that day.


Perhaps my experience at Gallaudet was magnified because the society in which we live thrives on noise. The first thing many of us do after starting our car is to turn on the radio. Not long after we walk into our houses, we turn on the radio or the television. When we go for a walk or a run, we are usually listening to music instead of the sounds of nature. It is a challenge to strike up a conversation in a public place as most people are clad with headphones or ear-buds. 


Oddly enough, our hunger for silence grows. Coffee shops are filled with patrons seeking a hushed atmosphere. Silent retreats are booked with visitors trying to get away from the noise and chaos of everyday life.  Practices that foster inner peace, such as yoga and tai chi are as popular as ever.


The season of Lent which begins on Wednesday invites us to spend some time in silence. One of the ways we can do that as a community is by experiencing silence in the liturgy. Though our liturgy is filled with the “holy” noise of words, prayers, and music, the liturgy also calls for silence—especially after the proclamation of the Word of God, the Homily and Holy Communion. As in life, we need a balance of sound and silence in our liturgies. Our Mass is so rich and overflowing with meaning, we need silence to digest it all. The liturgy invites us to be quiet, not only as individuals, but as a corporate body who, like the student body at Gallaudet, knows how to be with and for each other—even in silence.


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