Given more than one option as to when and where we would attend mass Sunday, we decided on the Sunday, 8:30 mass here in Sibulan. Our other choices were going to 6:00 PM mass at St. Catherine’s Cathedral in Dumaguete or one of masses at St.Anthony of Padua in Sibulan at 6:00 or 8:30 AM or 5:30 PM.
Mama and Papa preferred the Mass in Dumaguete but Cathy and I were reluctant to ride to the city because to the horrendous traffic that I wrote of in an earlier post. Cathy wanted to attend the 5:30 PM mass but I doubted I’d be able to get out and about that late in the afternoon. After learning that the 8:30 Mass would be in English, the deal was sealed, even though, for me, the important thing is reception of the Eucharist – a Mass in Tagalog or Visayan would have been OK, as far as that goes.
St.Anthony’s church is relatively close by, though not close enough to walk; we’d be going by pedicab (AKA "putt putt"). Readers from years back will recall that a motorbike with sidecar is called a tricycle. The "putt putt" is a sidecar powered by bicycle. We actually needed to hire two pedicabs – the total weight of me, my wife and son, plus the weight of my wife’s youngest sister would have been too much for one driver. Each driver was paid 20 pesos (50 cents US) for the approximately 1 mile trip.
At 8:30 AM, it was already hot inside the church. The strategically placed oscillating fans and opened windows helped some, but our parish priest in Rome would not survive here. Father Patrick likes the AC running full blast. Even in the hottest summer days, it's freezing in St.Mary's church.
The mass in Sibulan may have technically been in English, but following along wasn't easy for me. The liturgy and prayers were understandable but the readings weren't so, due to the lector's heavy accent. The priest's English was better but he liked to add Visayan to his homily, making it difficult for me to completely get his point.
The wafer used in the Eucharistic service was much smaller and thinner than the wafer used in the U.S.; it was nearly translucent in fact. Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion were used to help distribute the Blessed Sacrament, but the Precious Blood was not made available to the regular folk. I suppose the reason behind the absence of the blood, as well as the use of the small host was based on economic reasons - perfectly understanding and proper.
Michael Voris would probably be happy to know that the "sign of Peace" here was more restrained that it is in the U.S.. I didn't see anyone else shaking hands - just a simple head nod.
I couldn't help but notice the relatively large number of people who choose not to take Communion. In the U.S. everyone assumes he's "worthy" to take Communion, whether he is or not.
After mass, we hired two more pedicabs for the return trip to the house. It was, all in all a pleasant and enjoyable experience.