Monday, June 25, 2007

Children At Your Feet

I made it through the Novena. Nine Masses, Eight glorious Masses. I can't believe I was up at 4:30 for eight days. Yesterday, I met my friend for Mass at 6:00 and later in the day I met my other friend to watch the procession back to the Cathedral. I took pictures but they didn't come out so great. I don't like my dad's camera. I really should have taken my canon rebel, but I suspect I don't have film or batteries. (If only I had the money to buy it in a digital version. :::sigh::: )

I couldn't believe how many people were making the trek back from the chapel to the church. Carrying banners, they all walked back with their parishes or religious group. It was a hot day and it was about an half-hour trek in 4:00 heat. They were singing, smiling and walking happily back to the Cathedral Basilica. We watched them file in and of course saw many people I knew as well. Small town still. It's usually for religious functions that the local people come out.

Of course, tourists gawked and watched curiously as the procession made its way back. They asked what was going on and neither L. nor I had enough time to give them the whole history, but we did the best we could and they were pleasant and polite. (I have a huge opinions about tourists and the newcomers to my city, in general, most are respectful, courteous and pleasant, but... there are so many that I really do wish would go away. That's another post...for another day... maybe.)

There was a group of tourists, I think they were also going to go to Mass, but the daughter looked just how I imagine my mother looked at her age. She had thick, red hair, in braids, she had the same sort of skin color, (my mom tans a lovely brown) and was wearing a pretty white summer dress. I really did think of my mom.There is a picture of my mother that I thought about when I saw the girl. It makes me really wish to have a red-headed child one day.

So, after the procession, my friend left and I proceeded into the church for Mass. Everyone was there. ;-) Same with today. Today, though it was really interesting to see how the people stood in line after Mass to take a flower that had been given to "Our Lady" during the many Masses.

It's amazing the love and devotion given to this old, hand-carved statue of the Virgin Mary, which for 400 years has been part of this city. When I was 5, she was stolen. I recall hearing about it many years after the fact, but I never knew the whole story of her abduction. (Links to the story. Part One. Part Two.) After this morning's Mass, I totally understand the outrage and grief when she was taken. In 1973 this was a very small town. I think if something happened, there would still be the outpouring of grief and anger.

What I think I've discovered by doing this is the amount of faith that exists here and that there is a vast amount of faith inside of myself. I think it's always been there and today I read a post that clicked with me and I realized that no matter what, I will always be Catholic.

ETA: Pictures from a Procession in a previous year can be seen here. There is also a Fiesta Video( more like a slide show set to music) from the 2007, Fiestas. The last few shots in the video are from the Candlelight Procession to the Cross of the martyrs which I believe I posted about here.

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