Friday, August 30, 2002

Half a grace

Will someone who heard mass starting from the offering part (too late to even give his own offering), just get half the grace that comes with it? Maybe nothing at all? But that's not for any mortal to decide, I think. A massive clean-up of the house (I appointed myself in charge of the kitchen and bathroom) shortly after a sumptous Friday lunch got me so beat. Slept again and woke up 15 minutes to 6.00pm. Little wonder that I arrived more than 20 minutes into Fr Daniel's mass.

The massive parking problem around St Mary's wasn't any help either. I gave the wheels to Nep, my roommate, just to see if the Dubai traffic police examiner was right in giving him a new driving license (after six or seven attempts that cost him more than Dh4,000, Nep claimed). He drove just fine. We found a parking space in a sand patch more than 200 meters away from the entrance.

But I felt good; at least we got in time for the priest's blessing. After the mass, I went up to one of the parish halls where my choirmates were brushing up songs for the mass wedding ceremony. It's a big day for Catholic couples who want cheap blessing.

Though that's still three months away, it's no joke to have four disparate voices blend in a way that won't jeopardize the affair. Last year, 21 couples met what it took to exchange their vows (out of the 40 or so who showed intent). How many will turn up before the December 3 affair this year? Depends on how many people value a priest's blessing before copulating.

The choir, it seems, is gaga over the singing more than the couples themselves are agog over the kissing (to seal their I do's, in case you don't know that yet). Last year, some of the couples have long gone past their honeymoon stage (many towed their own kids as flower girls or ring bearers, or both) before their bonds were sprinkled with holy water.

But the prospect of playing for a praise and worship band, a group of Indian youngsters headed by Edwin on the bass and Vivek, the keyboardist, made my heart jump. I've heard this group play next to where me and my choirmates do our practice rounds on Fridays at the parish hall. They played "Celebrate" quite nicely for me, who walked in as an "observer". But where did they get that cool Roland drum pad, complete with a kick? Really cool. I wanna buy one for myself. It's one of the things I love about Dubai: freedom of worship. Ah, music. It's food for the soul.

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