The church hunting process in Manila has begun. May I first begin by saying that I HATE church shopping. I find it all quite arduous. So much time is often spent at the “wrong fits” before you find “THE ONE”. Enough complaining…..This weekend I tried Santuario di San Antonio. It is located in nearby Forbes Park, about a 15 minute cab ride away. Both the interior and exterior are quite lovely, a benefit I always appreciate (even if it’s not the main reason I’m there). Nick and I have committed to finding a place we both like but I’m doing some of the initial scoping out before dragging him along since my number one priority is finding a good choir I can join.
This church seemed like a pretty good fit for us. There was only a soloist singing, so I went up and talked to her afterward and learned that the contemporary, younger choir sings at 4:30 on Saturdays. So that’s what’s on the agenda for next week. The music was mostly in English and made up of recognizable tunes. The acclaimations were all in Tagalog, so I just did my best and tried to get the pronounciations! After mass the guy next to me suggested that I should join the choir, so it must not have been that off…
Some things that were unique about mass here:
- When receiving communion, there was a second person holding what I’m calling the “Eucharist Catcher”. It was a very bizarre thing I’d never seen before that I imagine is to prevent the Eucharist from ever touching the ground. Let me know if you’ve ever seen one in use before!
- All of the collection ushers who gathered donations wore a special uniform jacket. My only guess was that they don’t want someone stepping in pretending to be an usher and then running off with the collection. Or maybe it’s just for decoration. Who knows??
- My favorite part was at the end of mass. The procession went down the aisle but Father stayed at the front of the church and all the kids ran forward to be blessed. Some parents even brought their babies up. It was a really beautiful practice – the kids looked so intent on getting their blessing.
Few more places to try, but hopefully we’ll get one picked by the end of September! I’ll keep you posted on the progress.