What are Mass customs and traditions around the world? In this special blog post, CFCA explores how sponsored children, youth and aging friends in the Philippines celebrate Mass. Thanks to Gari Olavario, CFCA project coordinator in Legazpi, for contributing to this article.
Our mission at CFCA is to serve those living in poverty and recognize the God-given dignity of each person.
Most of our sponsored friends and their families in the Legazpi project are Catholic, and attending Mass every Sunday is their practice to praise and thank God.
Here are some of their thoughts about Mass:
Julie Mae, 15-year-old sponsored through CFCA: “For me, attending Mass is the best way to thank God for what my family and I achieved and for the blessings that he showered upon us. I also ask for help by praying if there are problems we encounter.”
Elena, mother of two children sponsored through CFCA: “Sponsored children think that Mass is an important thing, a very precious gift from God. In attending the Holy Mass they encounter Jesus through readings and the Gospel and by receiving Him through Holy Communion.”
Eric, 17-year-old sponsored through CFCA: “Attending Mass is very important in our lives. Not only are we Christians, but it’s our obligation to remember how good the Father and Jesus are to us, praise God for his goodness and thank him for his gifts and for Jesus too.”
During Mass, many of the sponsored children stay with their parents if they are old enough. If not, they will go outside and play with their friends.
“I am usually seated in front and beside my mother when we attend Sunday Mass to intently hear the homily of the parish priest,” said Dianne, a child sponsored through CFCA. “During the Mass some people are standing because of fully occupied chairs or pews.”
Rona, another sponsored youth, said keeping families together during Mass can strengthen their bond.
“Sponsored children prefer to stay beside their parents during Mass to feel the love and unity within a family through Christ,” she said. “One thing more is they can attend the Mass seriously because they are being guided by their parents.”
Mass services usually last for one hour, accompanied by music and singing. Usually the choir will sing, accompanied by instruments such as the guitar and piano.
Rona’s favorite songs to sing are “Heal Our Land” and “Lead Me, Lord.”
“It makes me feel as if there are no challenges in life that I cannot face,” she said. “It is very inspirational and touching to the heart.”
During the sign of peace, people will bow their heads, shake hands with their neighbors, and say “Peace” to one another. Children also hug and kiss their parents.
If you celebrate Mass, in what ways does this sound familiar or different? Feel free to let us know in the comments!