The Matter with Mass

Alright everyone, it’s me (David), back at it with another blog. I promised I’d talk about how mass went, and although its been several days since I attended church (it’s Thursday now), I will do just that.

Although Saturday night was stormy, the rain let up just as I started biking to St. John Bosco Parish & Center for Young Workers, a Catholic Church about half a mile away from the apartment. As I’ve attended a few masses in America, I had a basic understanding of what I was getting myself into, and to the Catholic Church’s credit, mass here is just about the same as it is in America – albeit with slightly worse English, and a sprinkle here and there of Tagalog. We sat, we knelt, we stood, we prayed, we sang, we took communion, etc., etc. The priest mentioned having sleep apnea, and reminded us of how everyday is a blessing and nothing is guaranteed. While all this was not too surprising, there were a few things about mass that really stood out to me.

First and foremost was the image of Christ here; like everything else, it was just about the same. That is, he is depicted as white.

[White] Jesus, in all His glory

In a country where skin whitening products are commonly used, where most (if not all) movie stars are mestizo, and colorism is incredibly present (particularly in advertisements), Jesus’ depiction as being a white man felt somehow worse here than in America. Perhaps I’m overthinking it (or, more likely, am simply ignorant), but the general imagery of a white man showing the native brown population to righteousness felt incredibly colonial. With the Catholic Church having such a large hand in maintaining Spain’s colonial authority, I don’t think my interpretation is without base. However, I am neither Filipino, Catholic, nor Filipino Catholic, so I really am in no way an authority on this subject. But hey, this is my blog!

[White] Jesus, guiding His brown Filipino children

A second thing I noticed was one church-goer in a Love is Love t-shirt. This struck me as interesting, as I typically associate the Catholic Church with conservatism, and, I dare say, homophobia. While every congregation is different, I was encouraged to see this blatant pro-LGBTQ+ statement in such a setting.

The last thing I found interesting was simply how many people were in attendance, particularly young people. In America, according to a few of my Catholic friends, the bulk of Catholic congregations are older people. Here, though, age diversity was very evident.

Alright, that’s it for my impressions of mass! On to the rest of the week.

Check out these cows I saw Sunday just hanging out on the side of a road!

At work, I have spent the majority of this week looking up different colleges in the Philippines to send our refilling petition to, specifically their offices of student affairs. Unfortunately for me, the majority of colleges do not list these offices, nor the emails or contact information. Nearly all of them have a Facebook, however, so I plan to begin reaching out to them there. Not much else to really report here – been a pretty work-centered week so far.

Today, we headed back to the warehouse around 2pm to participate in the all men’s talent show put on by various divisions at Human Nature. Me and L were forced to be apart of this, as backup dancers for a performance of If I Let You Go. Unfortunately, I am unable to upload the video, but here we are – The Paseo Boys.

We won, by the way

This weekend, L and I are going up to Manila, to spend some time in Makati with some other interns and then explore Quezon City. I and a few other interns will also be attending the Pride March, an event I am quite looking forward to supporting. That’s it for me! – more to come.

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