During the weekend, I missed the English mass at 9am. Yet I was too early for the one in Tagalog which is before 12 noon that I joined the children’s mass. (If you are new in Abu Dhabi, mass in different languages are celebrated in St. Joseph Church in Kaniza area.) I felt a little out of place in the beginning, i.e. like attending a class for pupils wherein I should be with college batchmates. I never thought it would be that awakening.
That 10am mass was specifically for children of different nationalities who are attending the Catechism class every weekend. Unlike in some countries that Religion is a regular subject in Catholic/Christian schools, it cannot work that way in the Gulf. In UAE though, Arabic subject is required for Filipino and other schools. The nicest thing is that the government allows the residents and visitors to exercise their faith, besides Islam.
I was among the (at least) 10 adults who joined the children’s mass, excluding the Catechism teachers. I felt childlike again to be singing and praying with them. It’s very different when it’s them who sing the praises/songs. Though they were at times out of tune, they sounded pure, innocent and genuine with their intentions. The consolidated clash in accents, since they are from different countries, is too adorable. And when the (I’m not sure about his nationality, but I think he’s American) priest was delivering the homily, he walked to the aisle and talked as if he’s an elder brother to the children. Everytime he asked questions, almost all of them would raise hands and would always respond correctly. It felt like a graded recitation to me. Maybe because I was sort of insecure because some of these religious theories/facts, I cannot recall as quickly as the children did. I was actually praying, “please Father, don’t call me”. Heehee.
The homily is very straightforward as he wanted to impart to all that with God, nothing is impossible. (By the way, watch Facing the Giants if you haven’t seen it yet. It will move you. I promise.) I felt relieved in a way, that I never had to hear another homily that day that touches politics. What about separation/conflict between the church and government, that’s too classic for Filipinos and other nations.
I (normally) don’t cry easily. But when the priest asked, “to whom should we be offering our special prayers these days?” All the children responded so loudly, “to the Philippines and to the Filipinos!” A tear fell at that moment.
If you want to be back to your senses, try to join a children’s mass.