Sunday, November 27, 2016

First Sunday of Advent 2016

Today officially marks the beginning of the Christmas Season in the Christian Calendar. We celebrated late afternoon Mass (5:00 PM) at Chrysanthemum Village here in the City of San Pedro Tunasán. The church here is locally known as Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, but in the Spanish-speaking world (including Filipinas), it is known as Nuestra Señora del Buen Consejo. Daddy Pepe told us that it was named after after a miraculous painting in Italy.

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora del Buen Consejo. This photo was taken by my eldest son Mómay.

It was our first time to attend Mass at this church, except for Krystal (it was her second today). She and her schoolmates were required to attend one Sunday Mass there a few weeks ago. She also mentioned to me that while she was practicing with her classmates in front of the church for a speech choir, all of the people in the village stopped for the Angelus. Me and my husband got curious. We thought this practice was no longer done. I remember my childhood days in Abra de Ilog, that when church bells rang for the Angelus, all of us stopped doing what we were doing to pray. In this age where we have lots of religious groups, it is very rare to hear a community that still recognize the Angelus. That is why I told my hubby and our kids that we had to attend the first Sunday of Advent at this church.

The candle of Advent, the first of four, was lit today.

Our Mother of Good Counsel Church is very simple but beautifully serene. Yes, there is a saying that simplicity is beauty. Yes, the place from the outside is very inviting that you will not hesitate to go inside the church. When we got inside, I remembered our church in my hometown, San Rafaél Parish Church, because of its smallness. The holy tabernacle at the altar looked almost the same as the one in my hometown's parish church. I again remembered my dear childhood days while looking at the tabernacle, and I felt like I was transported back to my hometown's church. The volume of the speakers inside Our Mother of Good Counsel Church is the best one I've ever heard because it was very clear, not garbled at all unlike in most churches today. I can't wait going there again to listen to the sermon. My husband's only complaint is that the church had too many electric fans. There were posts by the pews that had electric fans, blocking the view of the alter from those who were seated at the middle and at the back. Electric fans, in our opinion, are not necessary. What is the use of the abánico, anyway?

When the Angelus came after the Mass, I was not able to observe the people outside because I was still busy taking pictures of the church. Maybe next time. My kids roamed around the church as if they have been there many times before. So in short, we felt at home in it. We are very excited to come back there next time. I even bought a 2017 calendar by the entrance where other souvenir items are on sale.

I remember what my husband said before we attended Mass today, that we should live a more spiritual life, just like how Filipinos had lived during the Spanish times. Today is the first Sunday of Advent, and yes, spiritually I had nurtured my spirit upon hearing Mass today (
the gospel reading for today is Matthew 24:37-44). Why? I understood and took the sermon to heart, I felt at home, and I felt so relaxed inside the church even if it was our first time there. We are always complete during Mass. Christmas is for the family, and for the first Sunday of Advent, it is exciting to bring back spirituality in the family as close as possible to what Jesus had intended all families to live. The people who believe and celebrate Christmas are the people who are true Christians, true Roman Catholics, and I am humble to say that we celebrate it by attending the first Sunday of Advent Mass, and we will continue to celebrate it because it prepares us for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Mother of Good Counsel Church is under the Vicariate of the Holy Family which in turn is under the Episcopal District I of the Diocese of San PabloAdvanced Merry Christmas, everyone! =)


This tabernacle reminds me of the one which used to be in my hometown's parish church. They look almost exactly the same!

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