Monday, March 29, 2010
Sights Around Naranjito
This is my mother's hometown and it is my emotional hometown as much as any place can be. So on Saturday, my sister, her husband and I went to the Catholic Mass in Naranjito, at the San Miguel Arcangel (St. Michael Archangel) Parrish right there in the Plaza in downtown Naranjito. It was Palm "Saturday." This church is not sleeping and is very alive. One of the tenderest things I have ever seen was happening that day. The preteens choir was seated on the steps outside of the sanctuary, and they were singing to the throngs that were approaching the church. It was with heart strings that they were drawing the Body of Christ into the sanctuary. It was so moving.
Then once we entered we were given palm fronds which immediately took me back to when my father went to mass on Palm Sunday. He would take the palm frond and bend it and tie the tip to form a knot and soft curve. Then he would take that Palm frond and hang it on the rear view mirror inside his car and there it would stay for a year until Palm Sunday the following year. I instinctively took my palm frond and began to to tie it as I walked in. Once I sat down I realized many others were doing the same. How wonderful to be Puertorriqueña, de corazon.
Next we sat down and I began to look around. There was Titi Juanita, and over there tall and thin Titi Georgina, Tio Victor with his red cheeks, and there another with my mother's cute diminutive straight nose. In fact, Mom's nose was every where. No Titi Juanita nor Titi Georgie were there, since Titi Georgina has been gone, God rest her soul, and Titi Juanita lives in the States, but many other distant relatives that looked just like them were. I couldn't help but feel right at home. They looked and smiled, every one. It was so precious.
The mass was led by a young handsome priest who seemed to be walking on the straight and narrow and totally devoted to the Lord. But he was no whimp. He shot straight from the hip as he spoke about the unfair trial Jesus Christ, our Lord went through. He also spoke about how each one of us was represented around Jesus: Judas who betrayed him, Peter who denied him, the scattered frightened disciples, and the women who stayed with him. Then came the crucifixion and the centurion saying, "Surely this was the Son of God." Next his burial and his resurrection, and the women who went to anoint him being the first to see him. What a privilege. You could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. The service was long and it was beautiful and I don't think any one that entered left the same.
God bless the Catholic Church in Naranjito. God bless you.