mary immaculate parish

On the first Sunday of our vacation in the Philippines, Hubby and I decided to attended the evening mass with our daughter at the new church near my family’s home. Since it would be my first time to enter the church (it opened its doors early this year I think), I was very excited. Unfortunately, none of the people at our house knew what the mass timings were and there was no billboard in sight at the church grounds which mentioned this information. So, we figured that since most churches have a 6pm mass, then we would go there by 5:50pm. And of course, we guessed wrong; apparently, the first evening mass was at 7:30pm. We didn’t want to go back home and then return, so we opted to enjoy the peace of the church until the mass started. To pass away the time and since there were just a few people there, I decided to walk around and take photos of the interiors (but of course, medyo nahiya ako so I didn’t take that many and I didn’t use the flash...which explains why the pictures aren’t as clear as I wanted).
one of the stoups (holy water bowl)
unlike most churces that had icons of apostles, this one had statues of saints
a view of the opposite wing from where we were sitting
Hubby and Caila standing in front of the icons of Jesus and Mary
the Baptistery
me and Caila and the image of John baptizing Jesus at the Baptism area
the choir
the wall being used as a projector screen
the Sanctuary
For a church that isn’t yet finished, it looks nice huh? It’s not air-conditioned, but the electric fans and the big doors at the sides that brought in the cool air were sufficient. Actually, my first thought when we entered was that it would be nice for a wedding. There was a choir loft above the main doors which would be a perfect place for the videographer/photographer to take a Princess Diana shot of the bride as she walks down the aisle. And unlike the churches here in Dubai that have a Babies Room, this one didn’t (is there any church in the Philippines that does?) so we were able to enjoy the mass in a pew inside a church with our daughter...something that we haven’t done in over a year. Anyway, the mass was officiated by an Italian priest (Fr. Pablo or Fr. Paolo…I can’t remember) who I guessed has lived in the Philippines for a long time already because he could speak the local language pretty fluently, allowing him to shift easily between English and Filipino. Unfortunately, the sound system either wasn’t working properly or just wasn’t good because several times the speakers sounded sabog.

While we were singing the hymns (especially the ones in Filipino), there were times when I could feel tears pricking my eyes. It’s a bit embarrassing, but this often happens to me when I attend mass in the Philippines. I become all sentimental because of the experience. I don’t know why. I think it’s probably because the churches here in Dubai are almost always overcrowded and the mass readings and responses seem rushed, making it difficult to believe and enjoy the fact that we’re in God’s house when we attend mass; so when I do attend a peaceful and solemn mass, I really take it to heart and appreciate it. I’m emotional that way, I guess.

Add this to the fact that the priest’s homily was enlightening as well. Weird as it may be, I wished that I had a pen and piece of paper then so that I could jot down what he was saying. The theme that day was correcting others’ faults, and he mentioned that despite Italy and Philippines having the most Catholics in Europe and Asia, these countries are the most corrupt in their continents...mainly because the people are afraid to correct each other. Faced with the fear of being persecuted or disowned or killed or rejected for standing up to what is right, we usually just act like The Three Monkeys. Because we want peace and order and we hate getting involved in any arguments, we Christians prefer to keep our eyes closed and act blind, cover our ears and pretend we didn’t hear anything, and/or keep our mouths shut and don’t tell the truth. But then, this is not the way we should do things. For serious matters, you should correct a person face to face, with 2 witnesses, and in the presence of a member of the Church or Law/Government. Easy to say, difficult to do. Oh well. At least I left the church learning something.

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