Monday, June 29, 2009

After Fiesta Thoughts

We had a grand celebration of our parish fiesta this year. I described it grand not just because of the activities that were done but also, though a bit subjective, because of some remarkable things that I noticed.

Our parish priest, Fr. Joseph Buslon, really worked hard to convince people and some local officials to support the renovation of our church which included partial replacement and repainting of the ceiling, painting of the inner walls, and improvements on the lighting. Granite tiles were also laid on the walls behind the altarpiece. Four beautiful chandeliers were installed. All of these were completed before the Fiesta. But the most important and special addition/renovation done was the "replacement" of the damaged stained glass icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help which was installed earlier than we expected. It came with two other stained glasses for the windows beside the Perpetual Help.

Although I still prefer the original icon that was more Byzantine than the new one, I am still happy that at last, after years of prayers, the icon was replaced!

Our parish secretary, Ate Angie, told us that the icon was a donation from our congressman Oscar Malapitan who was the Hermano Mayor for this year's fiesta. Well, thank you Mr. Congressman!

With this year's theme, parishioners are called to journey together towards unity - something that was lost for years, with Mary as our companion and guide.

As I have said in one of my previous posts, The icon has been a witness and a sign of what is happening within our community. The damage served as a reminder of the problems that really existed. The icon being replaced entirely is a sign that something within us has to be "replaced" too.

The road to unity is never easy and is never near yet, especially when the wounds caused by the division left a permanent scar. People still manifest their hatred against each other. Some in hidden and some in obvious ways. Unless we learn to accept that there are things we should "replace" within ourselves, take away our old self, and "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" there can never be unity among us.

I believe that this journey to unity will be a journey of a lifetime. But with God, and Mary on our side, the journey must begin now.

And beyond all these things, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3.14

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