My Ash Wednesday 2021 Version

I am a Catholic and last year I had one of the weirdest and rarest observance of Palm Sunday.  The country was already on a strict lockdown due to covid19 and I had to contend myself from hearing the Holy Mass in front of a TV.  And since no one was allowed to go out then, the “palm” that I used was actually an outgrowth of a vine that I plucked from the few pots of plants in my balcony.

attended palm sunday in the comforts of my home as celebrated by the pope last april 2020

palaspas! (that is how we call palm sunday in filipino)

Today is Ash Wednesday.  In the Catholic tradition Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the Lenten period.  It is the season of repentance and reflection.  It is also marked by a Holy Mass in which priests or church leaders will make the sign of the cross out of paste made of ash and sacramental oil on the foreheads of the congregants.  Part of this tradition is that ashes are made from the palm fronds that have been burned from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.

Since I was lucky enough to have kept the fronds (dried leaves and vine) that I used in last year’s Palm Sunday and because I refuse to go to church due to the crazy scary pandemic, I decided to do my own observance of Ash Wednesday.

Part of my creating my own ash for the celebration of this special day is the symbolic burning of my sins.  I decided to write down on a piece of paper my confessions and burn it at the same time with that of my last year’s Palm Sunday fronds. 

With the thought in mind that “for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return”, instead of placing the formed ash on my forehead, I decided to return the ashes to earth.  I alternatively add the formed ashes into the soil of my plants as a symbol new life with the hopes of a rosy spring for the rest of the year.

glad to have kept that fronds for today’s observance…

I know that my ceremonial version of this day is a total deviation on how a Catholic Ash Wednesday should be observed.  But honestly, while doing what I was doing, I felt free, I felt light and I felt at peace.  And I guess that is what matters on this holy day of Ash Wednesday.

A Palm Sunday in San Francisco and My Anti-Ageing Cream is Working

My Holy Week last year would most probably be the holiest Holy Week I will ever have, it is because I got to spend it right where the holy Holy Week happened, in Jerusalem, Israel.  This year I am in San Francisco USA.  And though it is definitely less divine compared to last year, I nevertheless got to observe Holy Week here.

I got to attend and celebrate Holy Mass at Grace Cathedral last Palm Sunday.  I actually arrived 30 minutes before the mass started that is why I got the opportunity to take photos and go around the holy church.

my 2017 palm sunday church

lovely

solemn…

One funny thing happened though.  As I was about to leave the church after dipping my fingers into the Holy Water to make the sign of the cross, a lady approached me with the biggest smile.  She expressed that she was so glad to see such a young man like me attending a Holy Mass on a Palm Sunday.  She further expressed in a very gentle voice that new generation whom according to her I belong no longer attends a Holy Mass.  She then uttered “God Bless you young man!”

turista…

my instagram post last palm sunday

selfie muna

eto na yun… palaspas nila… pinitas lang.

I did not say anything.  I just stood there.  Listened to her and smiled.  If she only knew how old I am and that I may actually older than her.  I decided not to correct nor rectify her statements.  Besides, I don’t want to ruin her beautiful morning.  I just left the church smiling and thinking how much love I have for my anti-ageing cream….

Lumelebel… o baka naman malabo lang ang mata ni Inday.