Once, while I was serving in one of Glenmary's missions in Arkansas, a member of the church was horrified that other parishioners had used balloons inside the Church as decorations for the upcoming First Communion celebration. This incident was just one of many cultural clashes we experienced among the different cultures which belonged to that little mission and in a way symbolize what we all face as the many cultures make up the American Church. I personally thought the decorations looked stunning even though she stated "Balloons just have no place inside the Church!" And after realizing she was not getting anywhere with me, she complained to the pastor, but the balloons stayed, thanks be to God.
I wonder what she would have thought had she been in Carthage, MO last week where the Marian procession ended with the release of thousands of balloons and the setting off of tens-of-thousands firecrackers. WOW! I thought it was a fantastic way to transform the solemn procession into a jubilant celebration as Mary arrived in the midst of the crowd.