Friday, July 20, 2007

Rosary in Chacala

I was walking over to the church about 6pm this evening. It was the third Rosary for someone who died on Sunday. I think it was the third one. This man was in his late forties. Very nice man who spends a lot of time at Chico’s. The first year I was in Chacala we both spent a lot of time hanging out with my landlady’s family. Always a friendly smile and funny conversations. I don’t even know he was in the hospital. He died of something abdominal. I can’t believe he is gone. I don’t even remember the last time I saw him. He was usually down around Juan’s tienda in the early evening. The last time we really talked was on the trip to Mexcaltitlan a few weeks ago.I had a really hard time getting thru the sticky red mud when I was walking over to the church. Thank God it wasn’t dark yet. I would have slipped for sure. Between my house and the church, first it’s the paved road, which is mostly flooded and muddy right now. Then I switch to the steep dirt path that goes from the paved road toward the school. Then I walk on a muddy section on the dirt road below the school. But the time I got to Sulma and Alejandro’s house my feet and flip-flops were two big blobs of mud, and I couldn’t walk. I was slipping on my own sandal’s soles.

Laura’s husband, Hugo, was visiting Sulima’s grandparents. He went somewhere and filled a bucket of water for me. I washed off my shoes by splashing handfuls of water on them, and then poured the rest on my feet. Then I used a stick to get the last inch of mud of the bottom of the sandals. And headed toward the church. Everyone’s muddy sandals were outside on the steps.

The Rosary was lovely. I hardly ever go in the Church in Chacala, because I am not Catholic, but I did this time. Berta, America’s mom, lead the service. There were about 14 people, mostly women. The service mostly consist of the leader saying a short phrase, and the group responding. It’s very quickly and repetitive. And calming.

In the middle of the service everyone stopped for a minute. I had the impression they were deciding what to do. I think there was a question about whether they had said the correct number of prayers. And several of the older (70’s) woman, who were behind me, burst into beautiful singing. The whole group joined in. It was lovely. Really beautiful. My favorite moment at the Church in Chacala.

When they are chanting, I think they are saying the Rosary, it sounds like the first words each time at “Hail Mary, full of grace”. At Maria’s Rosaries ( I don’t know if that is the right word) I could see Chata counting on her Rosary. One time, when we were walking home, she showed my how to do the Rosary. I didn’t really understand. I was thinking, that’s a great tool for someone that can’t count. It counts for you.

The church looks wonderful inside. Berta told me after the Rosary that the new priest had painted, or chosen the colors (?). The two half walls behind the altar at a lovely blue now. The altar has a nice fresh coat of white paint. It looks so nice and fresh. Berta pointed out the blue matches the tops of the blue of the new stained glass windows, and the sky, where God is. While the Rosary was happening I had the nicest feeling of contentment.

When I was growing up I lived about 6 blocks from a Catholic church. It’s architecture was “Spanish-style”, and it was open all night. That’s where I would go when I ran away from home. At night the lights were dim, with candles, and the pews were cushioned. It was a quiet, safe place to be

No comments: