Pater Noster: Prayer For Life

Just like missing prayers before a meal or going to sleep I missed writing about the Church of Pater Noster. Also known as the Sanctuary of the Eleona, Pater Noster church is located on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

pater noster church

pater noster church

lords prayer in its first two language...

lords prayer in its first two languages…

Being a Catholic, my not writing about this place felt like heresy of some sort.  It is because this special spot, where I and my sister visited when we were in Israel, is where Lord Jesus believed to have taught the Lord’s Prayer.

Not all Catholics were blessed enough of being able to see and experience what it was to be like in such a special place.  Honestly, I consider Pater Noster to be one of the highlights of me and my sister’s tour of the Mount of Olives.

This 4th century Byzantine church is serene and beautiful.  And underneath this massive structure is a cave which I think is considered the holiest spot of the area for it is believed to be where Lord Jesus taught his disciples  the ‘Ama Namin’ (translation: Our Father) prayer.

highlight!

highlight!

selfie inside where it's taught

selfie inside where it’s taught

searching for the tagalog version...

searching for the tagalog version…

got the ilonggo version

got the ilonggo version

feeling so blessed...

feeling so blessed…

The walls of the structure are placed with multilingual plaques bearing the Lord’s Prayer in different languages.  Feeling proud Pinoys, I and my sister failed to locate the plaque in Filipino-Tagalog language.  We nevertheless was successful in locating the English and the Filipino-Ilonggo prayer versions.

Saying the Our Father has always been part of my prayer, in whatever form or state of mind I am.  And I may miss saying prayers before meals and before sleep but I will forever be so thankful that the stars has aligned for me to see and experience this holy place where the prayer for life started.

Oh ‘di ba, ang banal banal ko na??  

Wish Follow-up

One common yet unofficial belief of religious and unreligious Catholics is that they can make a wish every time they enter a Catholic Church for the first time.  Others, may they have a religion or none, would take the opportunity to make a wish every time they came across a wishing well.

I love churches and wishing wells, these spots gives me the feelings of positivity, optimism and upbeat emotional strength.  Both feels like they have strange and mysterious healing powers!

one massive door of st. martin de tours basilica, the largest church in asia

one massive door of st. martin de tours basilica, the largest church in asia

Almost all people, I guess, after making a wish in these places would either forget about it or let fate and providence be the arbiter if such longing will be granted or not.  No one I guess ever thought or dared of going back to the church or wishing well to follow up his or her wish.  Relaying a reminder for the granting of a yearning is not part of the tradition or the custom of making wishes.  This is definitely something rare and uncommon.

And since I am rare and uncommon, I did the rare and the uncommon.  I followed-up.

Last Thursday, after touring a very interesting meat processing plant in Malvar, Batangas, me and my colleagues decided to go for a side trip.  We went to the old heritage town of Taal, Batangas.  For a very brief exploration, we went to 2 old churches and one mystical wishing well in Taal.

We went to the St. Martin De Tours Basilica, the largest Catholic Church in Asia and at the Shrine of Our Lady of Caysasay, one of the few churches in the world that was given the special privilege by the Vatican for plenary indulgence.  To cap our short Taal trip, we went to the old spring-fed wells of Sta. Lucia, a miraculous wishing well.

Since I have been to all these three spots just a couple of weeks ago, this means, I would not have the opportunity to make a wish.  Thus, to make this trip a more fruitful one, I simply expressed a reminder for the granting of my wish.  The same request I made the first time I went there.

a day to wish! (at sta. lucia wishing wells)

a day to wish! (at sta. lucia wishing wells)

At the miraculous Sta. Lucia wishing well, people are obliged to return to this site when their wishes has already been granted.  Grantees return so as to offer white or violet-colored flowers and to pray their deepest thanks.  Since my wish has yet to be granted, I did not bring with me any flower but nevertheless say a short prayer of thanks for being well and alive.

Still at the miraculous Sta. Lucia wishing well, while dampening my face, my neck, my arms and my hair with the banal na tubig (sacred water) fetched from the well  I was literally uttering in a sweet gentle tone, “Follow-up lang po… follow-up lang po…”.

a day to follow-up...

a day to follow-up…

Everyone was laughing when they heard me say this.  Maybe it’s because it’s unusual to follow-up.  My colleagues knew that I was just there few days ago, that is why they were giggling when I was making a follow-up.

So, to make my wish become more potent, I called for reinforcements! I requested my colleagues’ that part of their wishes is that they wish that my wish be granted!

Siguro naman matutupad na… Palow-ap lang po…

Offertory With My Father

tatay joe

tatay joe

Last week before spending a short weekend escape in Baguio, I and my friends stopped over and heard a Holy Mass in the Shrine Our Lady of the Rosary of Manaoag in Pangasinan.  And during this very Holy Mass only did I realize that every time the Offertory is about to begin the person that enters my mind is my father.

Offertory would always remind me of my childhood, my father and the numerous episodes of my family hearing Mass in Baclaran Church.  When the choir starts singing to indicate the start of the Offertory, my father would automatically dig his hand in his pocket and would hand me and my siblings a couple of coins.  These are the same coins that we would naively put inside the collection bag being reached out and brought around the church to collect cash donations.

This simple episode that constantly reactivates in my memory every offertory, I guess is the modest and humble symbolism that reminds me about my father being the family’s able provider and role model.  This simple act (I guess) is the symbol which in a way developed in me the concept of charity, kindness and sharing.

Aside from enriching my soul and taking the opportunity to thank the Heavenly Father for all the blessings he showers me, attending the Holy Mass is also an avenue to remind myself that I actually had a “good” father.

Happy Father’s Day Tatay…

Speechless at the World Trade Center Memorial

Feeling the vibrant charge of New York, I navigated my way to the World Trade Center located in Greenwich Street.  The first thing I had in mind was to immediately have a selfie to prove, seal and record that I have actually been to the 9/11 Memorial thirteen years after the extremely tragic and deadly attack.

powerful!

powerful!

solemn,,,

solemn,,,

intense...

intense…

But as soon as I stepped into the memorial plaza, my effervescent bubbly feeling vanished.  I was suddenly charged with gloom-ness and melancholy.  The place was beautiful but it seems that grief and misery still fills the air.  It was just too powerful not to feel it.  Maybe it is because of the amount of tears that has been shed and intensity of sadness that has been vented out in the area that made me shut up, pause and contemplate.

I realized that smiling at a camera and shooting a selfie in the area seem disrespectful to the victims as well as the families affected by the tragedy.  What I simply did was took a couple of photos and say a little prayer.

Like any other normal human being, I prayed that there would not be another World Trade Center Memorial…

emowshonal… 

Rebooted by Pope Francis

A miracle happened in Luneta hours before the Holy Mass was about to be officiated by Pope Francis.  It was a miracle that involved me and my elder sister.  Both of us did not whine nor whimper about going to and from the people-infested Luneta right in the middle of the storm.  In fact, we both actually enjoyed it!

My relatives know that in case I am subjected to any discomfort, I whine and grumble to the highest level.  While my elder sister is the most cautious and the least adventurous in the family.  So if we are together, nothing really happens and everything seem so dull.

thank you santo padre...

thank you santo padre…

But not today.  I would like to claim that I and my sister were rebooted and were recharged by the visit of Pope Francis in Manila.  At exactly 12 noon, I, my sister and her son Luis converged at Vito Cruz.  In our respective jackets and rain coats, we walked our way heading to Luneta to attend a once in a lifetime Holy Mass in Manila by Pope Francis.  Both of us surprisingly did not complain nor felt tired nor whine about the long walk, the drenched feeling, the muddy puddles, the dizzying swarms of people as well as the cold and heavy downpour of typhoon thrashing above us.

And when we were heading back, we were actually caught in a throng of people crammed and tightly squeezed together.  People were so compact, it was like a wave of people.  You cannot just standstill because the wave of people would thrust you in varying directions.

I actually got nervous for my sister and my nephew for it really takes a lot of energy to survive the shoving force of such surfs of moving people.  The three of us got separated along the way after about 25 meters.  But when the crowd got a bit loose and no longer too crammed together, I found a concrete planter box and stood up to look for them.

Luckily, in about five minutes my sister saw me high on the planter box and headed towards me and then suddenly my nephew appeared smiling walking towards us.  My sister told me that she was pressed towards a group of old ladies while my nephew was prodded towards a group of young foreigners also attending the Pope’s pastoral visit in Manila.

my elder sister enjoying the rain and the pope francis vibe

my elder sister enjoying the rain and the pope francis vibe

At an ordinary occasion, I would have wailed, whined and complained.  While my sister could have simply passed out.  But we kept our composure and actually smiled and congratulated ourselves for surviving such a deadly throng of people.  We headed back home happy and feeling accomplished.

Now that I am writing this, only now that I realized that I would definitely will walk that far or get drenched that drenched or brave a smashing typhoon or subject myself to be crushed by hordes of people if it is in the honor of the Holy Vicar of Christ.

This experience is definitely nothing but a miracle.

Maganda din pala kapag iniiwan ang kaartehan sa bahay.

Lighting Candles

Not regularly going to church to attend the Holy Mass is something that I am not definitely proud of.  But aside from dipping my index and middle finger in a bowl of Holy Water upon entry and exit, the other thing I love doing when inside a Catholic Church is lighting up candles.

candles i lit in baclaran church in the middle of the night

candles i lit in baclaran church in the middle of the night

That is why every time I have the sweet opportunity to light candles inside a church, I always light five of it.  One for me, one for Nengkoy and Joe, one for my beautiful family, another for my friends and colleagues while the last one is for the one whom I have patiently been waiting for.

For me, lighting up candles is like toting up an interactive medium towards one’s prayer.  One does not simply say a prayer instead such request, petition, gratitude, supplication or wish are conveyed to the heavens with a cool and funky symbolism.

Syanawa…

Calling Out the Names of The Santos & The Santas

I just arrived early this morning from Siem Reap, Cambodia.  The flight going back to sunshine Manila was generally smooth with a couple of freaking turbulence.

This is totally different from the nerve rattling turbulent plane ride going to Siem Reap.  It was so shaky!!!  It was the mightiest gust of winds and deepest air pockets combined that I have ever experienced in all the flights that I had.  Our flight then was still at the end of the monsoon rains that flooded and shattered the whole Metro Manila for five long days.

It was so shaky me and my sister were already holding hands while the airplane hits the combination of massive cumulonimbus clouds.  What is so bad about it is that the madness did not last only for a couple of minutes, the turbulence and shaking happened for more than an hour.  Children inside the plain were all crying while adults are trying their best not to scream.

actress vilma santos as darna

actress vilma santos as darna

Instead of uttering expletives, I prayed hard and called out all the saints that I know to ask for their holy intercessions.   All the “Santos” and the “Santas” that I could recall, I called.  I even called for Santa Quiteria whom I don’t know.  What is so funny is  when I could no longer recall other names of Santos and Santas I called out the name of Santa Claus and Vilma Santos to help us with our journey!  The thought actually made me laughed and relaxed a little.

Nerbyoso! Muntik na ko mapa-ihi sa nerbyos at katatawa!