I never got to properly greet everyone a Happy Easter.
Truth be told, I feel quite far from the traditional Holy Week practices we have back home in Manila. I’ve been thinking about this for some time now, ever since we got to Chapel Hill. Having been raised Catholic all my life (and living in a predominantly Catholic country all my life), it is very different living in such a richly diverse religious environment. After three years, I’m still not used to the limited number of mass options and Holy Week services available to us here. Back in Manila, it feels like you have a church in every corner and you can go at any time, and still catch a mass. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Back home the whole country has Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Black Saturday as official non-working holidays. I suppose that’s also one of the reasons why I don’t feel it — because it’s not a widespread holiday here. My husband had to go to work on both days, and I suppose with the situation of having newborns or infants on bedtime schedules, we could never catch the evening services without disrupting their routines. I’d end up saying my prayers at home, which again feels very different from trekking to 7 Churches for the Visita Iglesia, or even just to one to make the Way of the Cross.
I think about this now that Sam is beginning to understand greater concepts, and what Easter just means to her for the moment: Egghunts and the Easter Bunny. The most exposure she’s had to the Catholic faith would be to go to Papa Jesus’ house every Sunday (and run around or eat her snack so I can listen to some prayers), and say her prayers at night. She can sing the Hail Mary and the Ama Namin (The “Our Father” song in Filipino) and does so every night as well, but I wonder if she truly understands what it already means. Right now she goes to a Jewish pre-school that incorporates their religious customs as a part of the curriculum. I don’t think she will be confused at this point, but later on I wonder if she’ll remember it and ask me about it as she gets older. I wonder if she will question why it is different from what we teach her at home, or why we don’t practice what she’s learned in school at home.
I feel that while “far” from my Catholic roots, one of the reasons why I stay strong in my faith is because I grew up with it all around me (thanks to my Grandparents and my mom for all the practices and traditions at home, and for sending me to a Catholic school. Well, thanks to Superbook and Flying House too. I’ve actually been looking for these cartoons or similar ones to get for Sam and Jamie to watch.) I would like for my girls to have that same strong value-grounding too growing up. Especially now when the world is full of so many morally controversial issues, it is easy to get lost and confused and not know what to believe in or why. My hope is that by giving them a similar upbringing, they will have something sound to fall back on wherever they may be thirty years from now.
In theory it all sounds great, but I suppose the real test is being a living example as parents. We are only human after all and are the most prone to making mistakes (or are under the ones the most scrutiny). It doesn’t make our job as parents any easier, but I suppose that is all part of it.
So good luck to us (again)!