Chicago's melting pot draws FIC visitors
By Irene Horst, Editor
Travel is the experience of connecting with the world beyond our immediate communities. This can happen by interacting with people across the ocean, in another contiguous country, or with folks within one of our beautiful areas of the United States.
This year the FIC Annual Meeting brought members from many different states together in Chicago. The heart of the Midwest may not be new to our group since FIC was actually born in Chicago. Yet each visit to the city uncovers some new aspect of life within its borders. How exciting it was to learn about the Scandinavian sector of the city where the people from Sweden settled. The Museum was an excellent place to learn about the history of the Swedish community, and speak to some of the members of this group.
Moving on to the Ukranian part of Chicago where the Ukranians settled and many still live, we were all amazed and mortified to hear about experiences of hunger and violence that took place in Ukraine. Because this is still terribly vivid in their minds and hearts today, we were able to feel their hurt through the words they shared with us. This visit certainly left many of our members with a desire to want to read and learn more about their history and the present situation in the Ukraine.
One of the most unusual visits was to the Catholic Church in Chinatown. The church is lovely, well preserved with many oriental touches throughout. Yet, as is our country, a melting pot of cultures, so does this church exemplify it. We learned about St. Theresa’s history from the parish’s enthusiastic Filipino youth minister, Joe Delfin. Further elaborating upon the present hierarchical structure was the parish priest, Fr. Aiello, an Italian, whose accent gave him away. How unexpected and exciting was it for us to hear this. In the midst of Chinatown? Who would ever have guessed! Obviously all are welcome!
Further on the learning track, FICers were treated to a visit to the Elks Memorial Building, a gorgeous structure along the lake, whose interior neither guests nor Chicago members had ever seen. Thus we can say, “Come back to Chicago. It’s old , it’s new, it’s a fascinating city! We connect with the world!”