Monday, October 13, 2008

Closed and Open Churches

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Closed and Open Churches


Catholic Churches have really big oak doors. During weekdays when the Holy Mass is rarely celebrated, those doors may appear to be closed at first observation. That sight is so unwelcoming that it erases piety. I had a problem with those big closed doors.


The town of Pardo has Sto. Tomas de Villanueva as their patron saint and their church bears his name. I chose Pardo to be a part of my pilgrimage with the church as my fourth visited sanctuary. Excitement filled me when I got off the jeepney. However, as I entered the gate and saw the closed big front door, my enthusiasm dissipated.



“Why is the church close?”, I asked myself. The fact that I went there on a Tuesday gave me a clue. I thought that churches are open 24/7 so that they can welcome people who wanted to pray. In a gloomy heart, I searched the place to see if there is an alternative door but to no avail. Since I was there already, I opted to pray by the big oak door instead.


After Sto. Tomas de Villanueva (El Pardo) Church, I took another jeepney going to my fifth chosen church. Found in Plaza Minglanilla, The Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Church stands in pride. I saw from a distance that the big main door is closed. With that, sadness began to fill my heart once more. But I had a hunch that the Church is open and that there is another way to enter. Walking around the church, I found a small door near the altar. It was open. Yeah! My intuition was correct! I entered without hesitation and said my prayer by the altar.

I immediately went home after my short visit in Minglanilla.

“I hope that the nest church is going to have opened doors. If not, I hope that there would be an open chapel nearby.”, I silently prayed after going to bed.

I thought that my prayer wasn’t answered when I arrived at Capitol a few days later and saw that the church was closed. “Oh! Might as well find the Adoration Chapel.”, I thought.
After asking some persons and exploring the place, I came upon the Divine Master Chapel. Oh! But the door was closed! I heaved a deep sigh! Then, it came upon me that I never tried to push the main door if it is closed. So, I twisted the doorknob to see if the door is open.

Squeak.

Yes! The door was open. I immediately came inside and observed the whole place. The interior captivated me. The tabernacle sparkled in its golden frame. “Fear not, I am with you.”, those words on the wall encouraged me.

After saying my prayers, I went out and to my surprise, the church was already open. “The church is open during lunch hours”, I inferred. Oh! Since I was already there, I decided to pray again at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish Church, my sixth visited sanctuary.

Really big closed doors give an unwelcoming atmosphere. After my experience in these churches, my fear has dispersed. God welcomes everyone but He presents them with closed doors. Each person is required to twist the doorknob and give the door a push in order to enter in His loving embrace.

(all photos by Marvin Maning http://www.flickr.com/people/2rokbotoy/)

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