Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bonding (Last Part)

"Let's attend the mass ha?" 

"Gusto ko kasing mag-communion eh..." She added.

I didn't pay attention to her request. Instead, my thoughts were filled with images of the church in Ateneo. And how I would love to show her around as daybreak blankets the sky.

"Huy, nakikinig ka ba?"

"Opo mama." I answered just before the FX stops in front of the church near Araneta Avenue. But since we started our Visita Iglesia late, I knew we won't reach the Church of Jesu in time for the holy mass.

"Doon na lang tayo sa Mount Carmel o kaya sa Pink Sisters."

"Baka mas kaunti ang tao dun."

But it wasn't how the events of that day took shape. A snarling traffic forced us to park our car a few blocks away from the Carmelite Shrine. When we arrived there, it was packed beyond capacity. The priest was delivering his homily, but we cannot understand a single word. So instead of listening, we chose to do our station of the cross.

Maybe, another church might be opening its Eucharistic service by evening.

We left Mount Carmel for Pink Sisters, only to witness the procession ending the mass. There, the lay ministers were dressed as apostles, and behind them, an altar boy marched with a wood instrument in place of a bell. The instrument produced muted, clapping sound that blended well with the sombre atmosphere. The church was packed too, only this time, with parishioners who were obviously residents of the upscale neighborhood.

And they won't be having any service after that. 

I don't know if my mom was just good at hiding her disappointment, or she was more worried of her black eye after she went off balance and hit the window while disembarking from the car. But from that point on, we both knew she won't be having her mass and her communion.

It's just the Via Crucis for us.

The journey goes on. From Pink Sisters we went to Christ the King. Then Santa Clara, the Ateneo Church and finally capping our pilgrimage at the Parish of the Holy Sacrifice in Diliman. We covered seven churches, all serving, if not wealthy neighborhoods, are cut off from the main roads.

The Visita Iglesia itself didn't turn out to be a cakewalk. I had to push the wheelchair on steep, bumpy roads; break its descent on ramps - with sweaty palms; and sometimes, even lift the contraption including the occupant on sidewalks to keep my mom away from vehicle exhaust and passing cars.

"Buti na lang nag-gygym ka..." I smiled as beads of sweat rolled down my face. If only she knew I was close to fainting. I didn't eat well before setting off on a pilgrimage believing my own strength would keep me going until we reach the final church.

However the struggle, the trip was peppered with little joys that made the effort worthwhile. From the soothing, angelic voices of the nuns singing at Pink Sisters to the blissful silence filling our hearts as we took a break at the Church of Jesu, the essence seems to be more than the religious experience. Who would have thought it will be fun eating fish balls with your mother, when just two decades ago she forbade you to buy them from passing vendors. And just when we both realized that attending the mass wasn't really the heart of our Visita Iglesia, messengers were actually sent, to reinforce what we knew all along.

At the Christ the King.

"God bless you." A priest approached my mom out of nowhere.

"Thank you father..."

"Where you able to hear the mass?"

"Hindi nga po eh..." My mom said, feeling embarrassed.

"Ay nako okay lang yun no." The priest whispered, smiling. "Ang mahalaga you came and joined us."

"Besides, if you know that you don't intend to avoid it, That you were not aware of the time. God knows you did your best."

His words gave me goosebumps. For at the Altar of Repose a few minutes earlier, a stranger also said the same thing. I didn't know if I was merely connecting the events, but after meeting two close calls before arriving at Christ the King, and resigning to the fact that we did miss the mass;

What I said to my mom, was actually the very answer we wish to hear.

"Ang mali ko, namimili ako ng simbahan to hear the mass." I said while resting in the pews.

"They say the same thing naman." Mom was silent. Perhaps she wasn't done yet with her intentions.

"But you know what, in the end, it's not the Visita Iglesia we're after."

"It's the bonding between a mother and her son."

"Oo nga..." she finally agrees.

We left after saying the Sorrowful mystery, only to be cornered by volunteers selling candles. For some reasons, mom bought one despite its one hundred pesos price tag. She decided to light the candle at the Altar of Repose, just before the two strangers came and assent our epiphany.


itsMePeriod said...

nothing beats bonding mems inside the Lord's house with people we value

jetlander said...

Hi mugen, a heartwarming post, thank you for sharing

the green breaker said...

napa-comment sana ako sa maskels mo kuya pero ganun din pala sabi ng mom mo. hehe

I'd have to agree with period. The best family time there is, is when you are together in His presence. This is a nice post kuya. :)