Thursday, September 27, 2007

tu es Petrus et super hanc petram

I made it a habit to stop by, and if possible, to attend Mass at the local Catholic church of the place I'm traveling in.

In NM last December, it was easy. Churches were aplenty. We visited Santa Fe's San Miguel, the oldest church in North America, and Loretto chapel, home of the miraculous hanging stairs. The sad thing was that the touristy atmosphere almost jettison the warm, sacred feeling. I wonder if people couldn't help but making the same empty devotion on their visit to the Notre Dame, Basilica di San Paolo, and all of the famous churches out there.

I visited St. Patrick's in downtown SF last April in the morning before I hoped on BART to the airport for my flight back to H-town. I sat still for a couple minutes with the soothing sound of waterfall in the background. I took enough pictures while admiring the architecture. It was unfortunate that I missed their Wednesday noontime concert.

In May back home, I noticed that St. Lusia Rumbai had significant architectural changes. They opened up the sidewalls and installed hanging wooden doors to accommodate the growing number of attendants and to provide better circulation. St. Maria at the capital city of the province was under renovation. I'm wondering about the mural they were working on at the half-dome. In both churches, it was such a nice experience to listen to Mass in the native language again.

The latest place of worship I visited was St. Matthew's not far from downtown Hillsboro, OR, just this last Thursday. I needed a place to cool down after the mentally draining interview with the biggest company in town. The doors were locked but as I was about to give up and drive away, I saw people went into a small building next door. It was the church office and chapel. And just what I needed the most, a Mass was going to be offered in a couple minutes. So there I was, sitting at the bilingual (English-Spanish) Mass, with my fellow brothers and sisters with the same thirst for worship. I look at those tired faces and admired their faith.

Onto the next churches, onto the next cities.

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