Saturday, October 12, 2013

Festival weekend, Part 1

This weekend marks the final 3 days of the festival of Nuestra Senora del Pilar, our parish patroness. There's so much stuff to "show and tell" that I'm going to break it into 3 parts, one for each day. Here's what happened Friday.

We arrived at church just before 8:30pm in case the Pirate had to set up the equipment for the music team to play at mass. Since none of the other musicians were there, he decided not to set up, and sat down with me (a rare occurrence!) just as Padre was beginning to lead the congregation in praying the rosary. Usually members of the various groups in the church take turns doing this before the main mass every day, so having Padre lead us was a treat. Behind him is Martin, the seminarian who is serving at our parish for the next year.

Since the evening was dedicated to honoring Nuestra Senora del Pilar, the statue that is usually in a niche behind the altar had been taken down and put where people could go up and pray (family: the people don't pray to the statue, they pray to Jesus while they're standing in front of the statue reflecting on the meaning of that image, which in this case signifies the church standing on the pillar of faith, which pillar is Christ).

After the rosary, which as all you Catholics out there know was focused on the passion of Christ (it being Friday), we had a half hour of singing a beautiful song about Nuestra Senora del Pilar: one song, half an hour! While we were singing, people were still coming up and reflecting on the importance to have faith like a pillar that stands firm.

While all this was going on the fair was going full force right outside the church: the noise of the rides, the midway, the crowds chattering, and multiple bands playing. There were four bands that I counted later: one mariachi, one reggae, one Mexican rock, and one undetermined style - each within a hundred feet of the others.

Inside the church our attention was focused on worship, and the background noise seemed to me an apt reminder of how our enemy is always at work to distract us from keeping our hearts firmly fixed on God. Our congregation did a great job of ignoring the distraction!

Mass started at 10pm, and instead of the regular music team we had a mariachi band which one of the church members heads up. It's always a treat when they play at a mass - same songs that we usually sing, but with the trumpets and accordion in addition to guitar.

When mass was over Padre asked for a show of hands of how many people were planning to stay and sing the songs that are traditionally sung as part of this fiesta, ending with Las Mananitas (sung to Mary) at midnight. Most of the group raised their hands, so the regular music team (including the Pirate, of course) plugged in and joined in.

I was too tired to stay, so I headed outside, and as I was leaving people were streaming into the church (after 11pm!). I took a few pictures of the fair:

That's supposed to be the Statue of Liberty, which is the centerpiece for a kiddie car ride.

Then I went to the car to try to sleep until the Pirate came. At 12:45am he arrived (apparently nobody wanted to leave right at midnight), with a couple of bags of churros - the perfect fair food - and we headed home to collapse into bed.

I apologize for the blurry photos inside the church. I need to be wearing my glasses when I take pictures because I can't tell if they're blurry otherwise, but I also need a camera has better zoom capabilities than this one: most of those photos were taken of something far away that I was trying to get a closeup of. I'm hoping that at least one of the 3 Wise Men reads this blog and will bring me the gift of a better camera on Epiphany (which is when people receive gifts here in Mexico, rather than on Christmas day).

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