Tag Archives: Catholic Church

Effects of sunshine

sun

leal

death

THE RAINY SEASON seems to be winding down, so we’re getting more sunshine in the afternoon, which inspired me to set out yesterday, my man bag slung over my shoulder, the contents of which were my Kindle and my Canon.

I took these three photos for you. From top to bottom:

  1. The yellow building is the oldest church in town, and that’s saying something. The white extension to the left, which appears to be a add-on, and likely was, is now multipurpose. There’s a theater,* lots of rooms for art exhibits and other spaces for workshops. It keeps pretty busy.
  2. This is a fairly new hotel, the Casa Leal. The Leal family are local bigwigs who own lots of businesses. They seem to be good people. If the church steeple in the back looks familiar it’s because it appeared here in a black & white shot from another angle just a few days ago.
  3. Long-time readers might recognize this place too. The upstairs windows open into the bedroom where my brother-in-law accidentally shot himself dead about ten years ago in a “cry for help.” His wife had kicked him out, and he ended up in that room not knowing what to do next.**

It was a lovely day to walk around downtown taking pictures. It’s not like I have a real job or anything.

* * * *

* We saw 2001: A Space Odyssey there just a few weeks ago. It was fun, the first time I’d seen it since it came out in 1968. The end still didn’t make a lick of sense, however.

** Those windows were featured in a Nescafe coffee commercial a couple of years later. A woman is standing in one of the windows right at the end. The commercial also has some other good scenes of our mountain town, but Nescafe made it look more Italian than Mexican in my opinion. It’s a great ad.

Church walk

skyview

I WENT ON a church walk yesterday.

There is no shortage of churches here. You’ll find big, ancient, elaborate ones on about every other block, which strikes me as kind of nutty. How many do you need?

They’re Catholic, of course, 100 percent.

The one in the photo is the oldest in town, and I took the shot from a patio of another church right across the street!

Crazy Spaniards.

Just before taking the photo, I was passing through a walkway of the church behind me. I shot the video below. The music was not added. It was a bunch of folks in the room to the left, singing away in a New-Age style. Their arms were up in the air.

All manner of stuff happens here.

Church work

church
Scaffolds abut the church as guys do the much-needed renovation.

ABOUT A DECADE back, folks knocked on the gate and asked for a contribution to construct a short bridge over a ravine a few blocks down our street.  It would have solved a serious traffic glitch, so we kicked in 200 pesos.

The work on the bridge began, but it never finished, and remains undone to this day. The traffic glitch lives on.

A couple of months ago, folks again knocked on the gate and asked for a contribution to renovate the church. They asked for lots more, 2,000 pesos, about $115 U.S.

My wife mentioned what happened to the last money we contributed for neighborhood projects. Oh, no, this time it will happen, the folks declared.

Being community-minded and knowing the 500-year-old church on the plaza was on the point of collapse, we handed over the cash, mentally kissing it vaya con diós.

But religious projects trump street work any day hereabouts, so the church renovation is under way, and I have no doubt it will be completed. I am glad even though I am neither Catholic nor Christian. Architecture matters.

In the almost 15 years we’ve lived in our hardscrabble barrio, and the thousands of times we’ve walked the plaza, I imagine we have not stepped through the church doors more than five or six times. The same cannot be said of our neighbors. The church is the focal point of the community.

The weddings and funerals we witness there are numerous. There is no priest in residence, so masses are sporadic.

One cannot help but wonder why the Pope, who is likely richer than Bill Gates, Raul Castro and Carlos Slim combined, does not finance the renovation of his churches, leaving it sometimes to unbelievers like myself.

While walking the plaza this morning, I also shot the photo below. An old, beat-up VW Beetle and an old Chevy Pop like the one we owned from 2000 to 2014. I wonder how often one sees these old Beetles above the Rio Bravo now.

They’re quite common down here even though Mexico halted production in 2003.

cars
History survives in many forms.

Fooling God

plants
Saturday morning on the veranda

THIS SATURDAY is somewhat different than most, so I thought I’d gossip with you about it.

Normally, Saturdays are identical. My child bride is in her private kitchen out by the property wall, preparing her pastries for the afternoon sale on the big plaza downtown.

But not today.  She’s going to church this morning.

But first, here’s what I’m doing, and it’s not much different than what I do every Saturday morning. I make rounds under the cursed peach tree scooping up fallen peaches to toss out.

Then I sweep the veranda. I hear the shower running in the bathroom, and I hear a lively Mexican tune blaring from the backstreet neighbors. I also hear the electric pump that’s sending water from the underground cistern to the tank atop the roof. And I hear birds. Lots of stuff to listen to.

Soon I’ll be hearing the lawnmower and weedeater because Abel the Deadpan Yardman arrives later to trim the grass.

The sky is blue. The air is crisp. The lawn is wet because it rained quite a spell last night, making sweet sounds.

Now here’s why she’s going to church. It’s to fool God.

Relatives often ask us to be godparents to the endless array of babies they birth because we look like the best deal going in the family. Problem is that our marriage was only a civil one, not a religious one. A judge connected us, and that’s not good enough to be godparents. I suppose we’re seen as living in sin.

There has been a recent spate of new babies among the bunny-breeding kin, so we received at least two new invites to godparenting. I pass. But my child bride really wants to. There’s nothing she loves more than babies.

This morning, she’s pretending to be single to get the proper paperwork, so she can be a godmother without me tagging along. The proper paperwork requires a three-hour instruction from a priest. She’s doing that in a church downtown.

I hope she remembers to remove her wedding ring.

This amuses me while I sweep the veranda and wait for Abel to cut the grass that I’ve already liberated of fallen, rotting peaches.

It’s a lovely morning.