Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday at the Holy Family Church in BF Homes, Las Pinas

The Holy Week in the Philippines starts with Palm Sunday that is celebrated in all churches of the country. Catholics observe this solemn holiday, by fasting and self-reflection, on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ. Our little community in Las Pinas, is no exception. Masses were held from early morning to late at night. Devotees buy coconut palms, creatively intertwined together for P20 each outside of our Parish Church. I was there to hear the mass in the late afternoon and saw entire families --- from the toddlers to grandma and grandpa attending Mass together. The toddlers, were running around, singing and yelling, to the consternation of their parents. The elders, who can barely walk, have caregivers attend to their needs. It was like a town fiesta, minus the food, and the church was the center of the celebration. 

The entry of the priest and the lay ministers signaled the start of the mass. It was an awesome sight, with parishioners waving their palms as the parish priest walked by. It is ingrained among the faithful, that during the holy mass, the priest becomes a personification of Christ. That within the august halls of the church, angels and all the saints, are within our midst. For the faithful, the mass can be a solemn celebration, where they can partake of the body of Christ during communion. Looking around, I felt the solemnity of the occasion, but was also aware of the commerce outside of the confines of the church. A few meters away, was a plastic sheet (trapal) covered structure that sold beauty products --- makeup, perfumes, lotions, hair brushes, make-ups, and many others. I never understood this, and would have understood it better if the items sold were religious artifacts or donations to charities. 

Fifty meters away, are the stalls of Mang Raul and Krom, that sells barbeques and Isaw. Counting the cars that were parked in the area, I would have guessed that around one fourth of church goers were in those places ---gobbling beer while partaking of the sumptuous fare of barbequed isaw. I was not an exception, though. As I bought a hundred pesos worth of isaw and pancit bihon from the stalls. So much for Pinoy religiosity, I am ready by the start of Holy Week up till Easter Sunday! A pious week ahead, everyone!




Onli in da Pilipins: A Writer's Journal
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