I created this page My Moments specially for posting if something happens and I need to load it off my chest. Something did happen to me today.
My older girl had been wanting to go to church for the last few days. She has been brought up a Hindu. Her father doesnt really fancy her going to church. He believes there is a reason why we are born Hindus or as Muslims. Because you are supposed to worship the religion you ae born into, he says. I disagree.. I believe all religions believe in the same God. So for me, I'm glad she is reaching out to God, regardless of who she is praying to. I believe that its important to have faith in God. Especially when we are met with extreme challenges in life. So, I brought her today to the Holy Family Church in Katong, in the eastern part of Singapore.
We have been to this church last year couple of times. But not during mass. It is a very beautiful serene place. But today, we happen to arrive at the church just before an evening mass. My girl and I decided to attend the mass. It will be a new experience for us, we thought.
It started off beautifully with the priest preaching about the Lord Jesus Christ inviting followers to worship him. I thought to myself 'Wow our first mass and the priest is just talking about how the Lord is inviting us to follow him. Were we meant to attend this mass?' Hmmm....
After about half an hour of singing hymns and listening to verses from the Bible, we were invited to take something from the priest. Probably supposed to be like the holy bread? It looked like a piece of white round wafer. My girl told me she was not interested but I wanted to. So I stood in line and I observed what the others did. Bow to the priest, take the wafer from him, place it in you mouth and leave the line.
My turn came. I bowed, took the Holy Bread from him and said thank you and left the line. He stopped me. 'What did you say?' he asked. I replied 'Thank You'. He looked annoyed. 'Oops, what did I say wrongly?' I thought to myeslf. 'You must say Amen'. I fell silent. He looked at me and asked 'Are you a Catholic? I fell silent again. I didn't want to offend him. And I didn't want to say to him that I 'm a Muslim. 'Are you a Catholic?' He asked again. So I simply replied, 'No I'm not.' He took back the biscuit from my palm and attended to the other worshippers. The priest was totally pissed off, I could see. I felt embarassed but more importantly, I was taken aback and rather confused.
We left the church hall immediately. Not because I was offended. I was afraid he might make a mockery of me - a non Catholic attending a Christian mass. My girl was shocked too. Are churches only for Christians? That was the question running through my mind. I was not angry with the priest. I'm more forgiving than him. He was simply doing what he was taught. But it did make me think about how other religions treat those who aren't of their religion. Do mosques and temples do the same too? I discussed this with my daughter over dinner. She advised me to stop comparing religions and that each have their own way of conducting it, how they feel its the right way. I had to agree with her. She was right. Probably Catholics are stricter among the Christians?
I asked a close friend Angie who is a staunch Christian. She agreed that I had a terrible first experience of a mass. And that not all Christians are that unwelcoming. An interesting eye opening experience. I checked with a Catholic friend late last night. She empahised that Catholics go through a rigorous 1 year preparation to become one. They have to baptised before being offered the wafer for the very first time. So I guess I was right. Catholics do have a strict way of how their religion is conducted.
Will I stop going to church because of this sour experience? No
Will I stop believing that all religions believe in only one GOD? No
Will I now have a distaste for Christians, esp Catholics? No, definitely not.
I may simply avoid masses for the time being but this church is simply too serene for me to keep away. You will find me on certain mornings when the church hall is completely empty. The sun streams through the beautiful stained glass windows while I sit at the pews totally awed by its beauty with the utmost serenity in my heart.
My home is
usually in a mess and has dust settled on almost everything. But I believe laughter and love will win the day. In 20 years, my girls won't remember how messy the house was but will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt...