Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cotabato City Cathedral Visit




I finished my lunch at Café Le Sorelle at just about merienda time for most folks! And no wonder people kept coming and going to the cashier’s counter, some going away with boxes, some with just small packs. I learned they were getting those pastries, cakes and cookies as take-away afternoon snacks! Anyway, I had a thing to do and that was roam around. So, even if feeling still a bit heavy, I had to drag my royal self out of this café. The church was nearby, so I naturally headed for it.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, that’s what it is called. And relatively new if we compare this to many cathedrals around the country. I read the marker and it says “built in 1948… renovated in 1984… completed and blessed in 1985”. Well, that explains the relatively new architecture. Modern, in fact. I mean it is airy inside with a lot of ventilation, no big pillars to block your view and a simple altar without so many santos to confuse you where you’d turn your attention to in prayer hehe! Just the crucified Jesus big and center, nothing else. I like it! Couldn’t go near as there was some kind of a meeting of a religious group over at the front pews.

I like their depiction of the ”stations of the cross”. All are painted big and beautiful on the walls atop each of the side posts. Oh, wait, are those really the stations of the cross or are those the mysteries in the holy rosary? How could I tell when I don’t really know those things (yet) well enough hehe! But am getting there. Anyway, the question popped in my head since there are those cute figurines hanging by the posts just below the electric fans. Those are, I am sure, the stations of the cross since each cross is numbered in roman numerals as is common everywhere. The cute figurines have realistic human faces and features. But too small or too high up (or both) for the not so religious to discern or even notice. Whoever crafted them though, must be very good.

Just outside the main entrance to this cathedral, I chanced upon a big board that lists tithe amounts per area of the city, which I find rather instigative hehe. Well, I’ve seen this kind of board in some other churches, yet, I still find it unnecessary and too forward of the priests doing so. And kids, remember we catholics are criticizing that the INK or Iglesia Ni Kristo has attendance records at entrance? I think this is even uglier. Okay, for what it is there for, I looked at the numbers and find that in April, the Our Lady of Fatima Chapel at Zone 7 was the biggest tither though if you reflect the amount per family, it is the San Miguel Chapel of Zone 3B that is best. Now what? The residents there are to be exulted? Okay, fine! Then without including those with zero or blank values, I looked at the least of givers. What does the priest do with those who lag like the 98 families in Purok Katahimikan or the 189 families in San Isidro Labrador Chapel at Zone 8A? I asked a kid what the board was for. His reply was “wala, pang display lang kung sino di nagbibigay ng pera”! As we both laughed, I knew in my mind that the priests have no use for this board than to ridicule people. Is that a Christian value? Ah, what a desperate act!

Anyway, I noticed that interestingly, this cathedral has more English and Tagalog services than Cebuano that is held just once in the morning and once in the afternoon of every Sunday. I even wondered why there is no Hiligaynon or Ilonggo since most people I hear talk in a mixture of that dialect with Cebuano and Tagalog. Oh well, ba’t ko ba pinapakialaman yan hehe! Ay, one side of this cathedral is a nice grassy garden with images of many saints standing by the walls surrounding the area. The opposite side is generally concrete, probably a parking area but during my visit was full with many bazaar stalls selling just about anything you can think of that can be had from a tiangge!

Nice visit. Learned a few things here and there. Even had my statistical skills tested by that board. But I love those figurines that compose the stations of the cross.

Lets go elsewhere in the city?!

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