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lionel
03.02.07, 10:19 PM
just wanted to share something that may help anyone out there going through the same experience.

thus i entitle this essay: "Searching for a Church"


*

i am back, living in my parents house after more than a year in an apartment wit my wife. there are 2 parish churches near my parent's house where i now reside (again). i cannot stand to hear mass in either.

one church is right next to a major uphill road. you can hear every tricycle staggering upwards, every car horn, every loud, rattling engine outside the church. it's VERY difficult to pray. add to this the fact that the priest presiders in this church have nothing much to share. their homilies are recycled crap that goes around in circles. their tone is often condescending. i have seriously wanted to walk out on several occasions but had to stop myself by thinking, what would Christ have done?

years ago, i joined a choir here and didn't stay too long. the members were too fond of singing (and they were GREAT singers too!) but they couldn't sit still and respect the MASS. they were too bust talking. sigh. sayang sila. though that choir is now probably non-existent (I havent seen them), the extant choirs here are okay. not as undisciplined as the one i joined. however, despite the fact that i was looking for a choir to serve with, nothing moved me to sign up.


*

the other church is the Santo Domingo of our area. i think they have 10 masses every sunday. and each mass is full. the church is huge. often people are attending mass, standing outside. though more often than not, they are just sitting around chatting with friends. which irritates the hell out of me.

the priests here have whole lot more to share. and they have nice homilies. well prepared. not too dramatic.

problem is : i was a choir director in this church for well unto 6 or 7 years. I know almost every choir, every guitarist, every director. and i used to bust my ass to teach new songs, provide chords to all other musical directors, even offer to make transparencies for them. guess what?
most of the choirs here are back to singing the same songs they used to sing even before i joined. parang naging useless ako. some dont even bother to make transparencies for the overhead projector, even though the projector screen is as wide as the entire center aisle.... there is no effort to ecourage the congregation to sing with the choir. most all of them treat the mass as a concert. and it pisses me off. you can imagine how unready I am then to hear mass. How can you pray when you're pissed off? when you remember all the humiliations you had to stomach just so new songs could be introduced, only to find that no one sings them anymore anyway? when you feel 6 or 7 years of your life produced no discernible result? in fact, i heard the choir i used to personally play piano for kicked out their choir head, and now sing new songs without trying to teach them to the congregation. sigh.


*

so i went in search of other churches, other faiths even. i NEEDED to find a sunday service i could pray with, somewhere I could feed my spiritual hunger.
never mind if it's not Catholic.

i returned to a Baptist church my wife and i would attend on some sundays when we wanted a change of pace. fantastic sermons. fantastic choir. but i didn't feel too comfy.


i attended a friend's born again church. ultrafantastic pop music because they had a full band setup: drums, bass, guitar, keyboards. loved the music. cried at the sermon. i realized why: the pastor was talking about a painful personal experience he had with his wife. catholic priests don't have wives. guess who has more life experience to draw from which will connect him with the congregation? (of course this point is debated ad nauseaum, and i dont intend to debate it, just present my point of view). what he shared made sense and hit me in the gut. and i loved that there was enough time in the service to go over the readings while he was explaining them. sure, his "reading" of the verses were probably very biased and very personal. but it helped me pray. and open the Bible again. made me realize how "RUSHED" our masses are because every parish has to make them fit in an hour or an hour and a half. there's no TIME to digest the Word of God.

and yet i missed the wonderful traditions which endear me to the catholic church. the idea that the sacred rituals you repeat every week have been in place since time immemorial. that you are a part of a centuries-old CHURCH.


*

so one saturday after shopping in greenhills, i end up, quite by accident, at the EDSA shrine. i decide to enter for a while before going home. turns out there is a 7pm mass in 10 mins, and so i decide to stay.

what immediately struck me was the air of holy silence pervading the place. aside from the fact that people weren't chatting, the enclosed area insulated the place from the sound of the traffic along EDSA.

this thought struck me: this isn't your local neighborhood parish church which people will go to because it's near their house. people come here because they want to, not because it's convenient.

then the priest was succinct, concise and intelligent. thank GOD for small favors.

the choir was okay. the tough part was that they were singing to sequenced MIDI tracks on the church's keyboard . wala silang instrumentalist. so when they had to stop a song from being too long, someone would have to fade out the sequenced tracks. sayang. they had heart though.

and that to me counts for a lot.

i don't care if a choir technically sounds like the UP Madrigals.... if the choir can't sing and mean it, then that choir is crap. this choir was miles away from any awards in technical excellence but you could see and hear they were trying their best.... and i LOVED that.


and something moved me to approach them and ask if they wanted a pianist. guess what the answer was?

i now play piano for the 7 pm Saturday (anticipated) mass at the Edsa Shrine.

*




the moral of the story:

if you're not happy with your parish church/choir/faith life/etc....

then stop complaining, get off your fat, lazy ass and do something about it.
go find your happiness. forget convenience. exert effort so that you can attend a meaningful Sunday service no matter what faith you may believe in.

wallowing in your own bile, anger and hostility is for losers.

sticking to your parish church even when you can't concentrate, or are pissed off by the homilies ... well, it;s definitely not going to help you create a healthy relationship with GOD.

*


there you go.


*

aRJedi
03.02.08, 02:16 AM
I kinda had the same experience. Di ko lang talaga ma-feel yung faith dun sa dati kong sinisimbahan. Then na-discover ko na meron palang Tagalog mass every Saturdays dun sa isa ko pang simbahang pinupuntahan. One time, maaga akong dumating, napansin ko namumrublema yung gitarista sa pag-practice nung mga kanta. Yun pala, hindi sya familiar sa mga Tagalog songs. Hindi na ako nakatiis, lumapit na lang ako at nag-volunteer on the spot. So ngayon, regular member na ako. Every saturday ng 7pm for the Tagalog mass then 730 and 9am for the Sunday morning services. :D

Alexander
03.02.09, 06:43 AM
I was very touched by your story Lionel, ganyan din ako minsan e, kapag medyo monotonous na talaga ang naririnig mo, paminsan-minsan, I go around nearby Parish and attend the mass there with my family, pero doon pa rin ako sa Parish namin tumutugtog. Kasi I feel guilty when I orphaned them lalo na last time ng iwan ko sila before the Easter even, talagang they don't know what to do. I was complaining kasi of their complacency sa practice and their attending to other priorities bukod sa practice, pero nakonsyensya ako so I returned. But they've learned their lessons on priorities.

Welcome back Lionel, kala ko nawala ka na. Minsan magsisimba kami sa EDSA Shrine to meet you personally.

Cheers..... :)

jeromz
03.02.12, 05:02 PM
ganyan din po ako. mula ng mag-start naman ako sa choir, akala ko ay okay na then after 4 years of singing, parang may kulang. sobrang naghahanap ako katulad ni kuya lionel, ng magpupuno sa spiritual needs ko. hindi ako nagagandahan sa mga homily ng pari sa amin often. minsan may magagaling naman mag-homily but not most of the time. sa choir namin, sobrang gagaling din ng mga members. some of them members ng mga university chorale. sobra sila sa pagkanta and they like pop music kahit mga pang choir. lagi nga ako tinutukso dahil ako lang ang mahilig sa church songs. dati galit na galit ako sa kanila kapag maingay sila sa misa pero imbis na mabago ko sila, dumadaldal na rin ako sa mass. for almost 3 years, sawang sawa ako sa misa namin. i'm also a lector sa parish namin kaya sometimes, 4 times a sunday ako nagsisimba. wala akong makitang bago. nakakasawa. unti-unti tuloy akong napapalayo sa diyos. nagsisimba nga ako pero walang nangyayari. nalaman ko na hindi pala sa dami ng misa nasusukat yon.
there was a time na na-invite kami kumanta sa parish malapit sa amin. magaling yung priest nila mag-homily. sabi ko, maganda pala magsimba dito. that time, nawili din ang choir namin sa pagkanta doon. maliit lang yung church kaya maganda yung mass. dinig ang lahat ng boses namin unlike sa parish namin, sobrang laki. kalat ang tunog. then, we were scheduled for a simbang gabi evening mass, medyo nagkalat yung choir namin kasi kulang kami sa members kasi yung iba may concert at yung iba may exam kinabukasan. ako muna yung sa keyboards kahit hindi ako masyado marunong. bago matapos yung mass, na comment yung pari. wala daw kami kalutay-lutay. nilait niya kami sa harap ng congregation. sobrang nagalit ako sa pari na iyon dahil pwede naman niya sabihin sa amin after the mass pero gusto nya yata talaga kaming ipahiya sa mga tao. mula noon, bumaba ang tingin ko sa kanya. kahit pa maganda siya mag-homily pero kung hindi rin nya ginagawa yung mismong sinasabi niya, wala palang kuwenta.
now, unti-unti ko ng nakita yung gusto kong mass. sa university namin nagsisimba ako, then nag-volunteer ako sa pastoral office. dito, napupunan yung mga needs ng spirit ko. okay yung pari mag-homily, inspiring.
ayun. pero naghahanap pa rin ako ng church na magandang simbahan every sunday. kuya lionel, pwede ka ba mapuntahan sa EDSA Shrine one time para ma-meet kita personally?

J O J I T
03.02.13, 07:34 AM
personally, i think there's nothing wrong with pop kahit sa church kantahin. minsan kasi maganda din medyo ganun ang dating ng mga songs para ma-reach yung mga youth na sad to say, mas may gustong gawin kaysa mag simba. ganun din ako dati sa dati kong choir. medyo traditional ang mga songs na paulit-ulit na hindi na nababago until i decided to form a group na mga youth ang members and we're trying to sing old/traditional church songs pero may konting twist. :) and am happy to say na maganda naidulot sa mga kabataang dating walang hilig sa pagsimba. nagugustuhan din sila ng mga matatanda. :)

yun lang po.

btw, wala kami problem sa church namin kasi maganda ang place, tahimik, nasa loob ng subdivision and maganda pakiramdam pag nandun ka. yun nga lang, pag may mass lang binubuksan. hindi ko alam kung matutuwa ang Diyos sa ganun. masyado kasi mamahalin mga paintings and gamit. pero maganda talaga church sa amin. swerte pala kami.

lionel
03.02.14, 04:40 PM
then nag-volunteer ako sa pastoral office. dito, napupunan yung mga needs ng spirit ko. okay yung pari mag-homily, inspiring.
ayun. pero naghahanap pa rin ako ng church na magandang simbahan every sunday. kuya lionel, pwede ka ba mapuntahan sa EDSA Shrine one time para ma-meet kita personally?




good for you, nahanap mo ang kailangan mo.
sige, punta ka lang sa EDSA shrine... 7 pm mass saturdays, or right after ....andun lang ako.

cheers!

lionel
03.02.14, 04:42 PM
we're trying to sing old/traditional church songs pero may konting twist. :) and am happy to say na maganda naidulot sa mga kabataang dating walang hilig sa pagsimba. nagugustuhan din sila ng mga matatanda. :)



thats the way to do it.
introduce the old songs with a new twist. cross-platform audience tuloy.

para ka palang liturgical Puff Daddy ! ;)

budz
03.02.16, 01:10 PM
sir lionel;

baka pwede ka dito sa amin sa seoul,korea.since the departure of our talented musical director,kung sino-sino na ang nagtuturo sa amin.besides wala na kaming permanenteng organista.baka type nyong "magexile"dito sa amin.just kidding lang naman.
anyway baka pwede kayong mag-conduct ng workshop,parang recollection or retreat.nakakasawa na kasi kung hindi pari e madre naman ang nagbibigay ng recollection sa amin.baka pwede kayo since our group is concentrated in church music.just asking?

lionel
03.02.16, 02:10 PM
naku, salamat sa imbitasyon, budz, pero di ko core competency and pagbigay ng recollection. (although nagawa ko na yun, kaya lang, di ko forte). <---- sineryoso ang joke mo....hehehe

baka yung iba sa grupo?