Amidst the Sea of Palms One Palm Sunday Morning7:18 PM
No, this wasn't planned at all, spending Palm Sunday morning in the busy and crowded Quiapo Church that is. I easily get nauseous in crowded places and I would happily settle having my palm blessed in a church where there are less people. Actually, I have been doing exactly that for so many years now until I found myself in Quiapo last Palm Sunday. So I did the unthinkable (for me) and dove straight into the sea of palms held by sweaty hands like mine, enduring the heat inside the church to perform one of the Lenten traditions that I have known all my life.
No Stranger to Quiapo
If you are one of my regular readers, you would know I am no stranger to Quiapo. In fact, I spent a lot of time here because of our family restaurant Ambos Mundos Restaurant. But back then, I had my mother to assist me when I felt faint due to the heat and the crowd. Part of my prayer that Palm Sunday morning was for me to survive the one hour mass without making a spectacle of myself by fainting and it was granted.
The Feeling of Oneness
It might be my sentimental side running on full gear again because I felt that unmistakable feeling of oneness with the faithful who were hearing the mass that morning. These are people I do not know and would probably never know. I felt everyone's need to unburden their troubles just like me and saw it on their faces with eyes closed shut, intent on prayer.
Expression of Gratitude
"Ay salamat, salamat" (thank you, thank you)...these are the exact words uttered by an elderly woman beside me after being showered by holy water while the palms were being blessed. It is as if what we just went through freed her from her earthly anxieties and troubles. Her face showed her genuine happiness and I wondered just how good it must feel to be that way.
It is without fail that the Quiapo Church will always beckon to me to come in, regardless of the purpose I may have for coming to the place. Maybe because my family has hurdled a lot of troubles through prayers uttered inside this church...maybe because God knows one of the heaviest burdens I carry is associated with this place...or maybe because I simply need to rest my tired mind and exhausted body.
That said, I know God knows.