Wednesday, December 25, 2013

christmas after yolanda

During last night's midnight mass, Fr. Edgar said, "There is something special, something unique, something memorable about Christmas 2013 in Tacloban." And I couldn't help but nod in agreement.

Indeed, this year Christmas is more special because we need something tangible to uplift our battered spirits after the devastation our city suffered from Yolanda. And we have more to celebrate and be thankful for - not only the birth of our Savior, but also because we are among the fortunate ones who lived to tell the tale. 

Every year, I'd complete the 9-day Misa de Gallo, and attend the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. And usually I'd just be at home with my family on the 25th, or hang out with my closest friends. I seldom go to mass on Christmas day, but today, I did. 

As Fr. Edgar said last night, this is probably a once-in-a-blue-moon, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The opportunity to hear mass conducted by the Papal Nuncio. Sacred Heart is and always will be my home parish, for it is the only church where I can attend mass and come out after feeling blessed. I never feel comfortable hearing mass at Sto. NiƱo because it's always congested, and it doesn't give me the familial feeling that I always get at Sacred Heart.

But today I was there, and I was getting irritated by the ill-mannered kids sitting beside me (who were only there because of the relief goods they gave away after the mass, I think). Plus,the state of the church is just depressing. Parts of the roof were blown away, and were covered by tarps, but still, rain is pouring in and the floor is flooded with rainwater. The benches were all wet, but I didn't care. 

I purposely sat near the center aisle, fourth row from the front; just so I'd get a better view. It happened by chance, since I was staring, but as the walked down the aisle, the Papal Nuncio smiled at me. And I swear, a sense of calm came over me. And I had this feeling that things are gonna be just fine.

It was such an honor to be able to hear mass presided by the Pope's ambassador to the Philippines. Feels like the blessing came straight from the Vatican. I wanna say thank you to Archbishop Giuseppe Pinto for spending Christmas with us.

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