Sunday was Prison Ministry; we celebrated the feast of Corpus Christi with the inmates. We distributed bread at the Maximum Security prison. It was beautiful to see that the inmates remember our names. We had made an intact, not only because “we stand out” but because as one of the missionaries said: “We bring them hope”. At the minimum security facility we celebrated Mass and then we served them rice, fish and tofu. Lines of more than 200 “Lolos” (Grandpas in Tagalog) with containers to “collect their food” formed. The ones that didn’t have a container, used plastics bags; no one was going to pass that opportunity!
Monday we had our cultural day. We visited Intramuros, the old Manila, imprinted with the Spanish Culture. We had dinner at “Barbaras,” a traditional restaurant that has a folklore dance that represents the tradition and history of the Philippines. Our missionaries got selected to dance one of the most popular and traditional dances: “Tinikling” is a step dance in between two bamboos pounding in rhythm.
Today, it was a great day, but at the same time a very sad one, for two reasons: We had our Mass of Thanksgiving at El Shaddai Chapel and we said goodbye to our dear missionary Teresa; she will be leaving tomorrow back to Singapore.
The Mass was beautiful. It was celebrated by Fr. Sim (short for Simplicio = Simple) The missionaries did a great job with the decorations that brightened up the little, still unpainted chapel, but with a beautiful, shiny new roof, free of leaks! The chapel was full, especially with the women that helped us through the weeks to get the job done. To our surprise they had an amazing choir that made the celebration even more exciting! During the homily Father thanked us and gave us a lot of food for thought, launching us with some questions: “What is our mission in life?”, “What did God create us for?”
After the Mass we had a little social with the El Shaddai community over Pan de Sal and RC cola, the most common food and drink around here.
By the way, I have to mention that our missionaries have been perfecting our teaching skills! They have been mastering their 3rd to 5th graders with no problem! It’s so moving, while walking through the community, to hear the kids shouting “Ate NN” (Teacher X) calling their favorite missionary…the missionaries have really impacted, affected their lives, only two more days of classes, I can’t imagine the tears!