We were supposed to have our graduation practice this morning, but it was postponed till the afternoon to give way to the pre-school department's graduation practice. We went back to the classroom. We had a lot of time to do nothing. So, the class joker was busy annoying his classmates. One of my pupils told us that the reason why John, the class joker, was behaving like a rabid dog was that he had never been to church, ever. (He was possessed by an evil spirit). Out of the blue and out of curiosity, I asked my pupils their reason/s for going to church.
I listed their top 10 answers:
10 Para makakain ng ostia (To eat communion wafer)
It was the boys who answered this. The whole class was laughing. The answer may sound sacrilegious but what could I expect, they were children. They did not know the meaning of transubstantiation and explaining to them the Catholic Church’s teachings on communion would only confound them.
It’s not different from the protestants here in the Philippines who agreed to be baptized so that they could go swimming.
That’s why it’s better for churches to baptize their converts in their own baptistery or in a drum.
Or better yet, formulate a sacrament that their male members and converts will remember with earnestness and solemnity…like, adult circumcision….ouch!
9. Para makakain ng epalog. (To eat breaded quail eggs)
One of the reasons why children enjoy going to church is the food: barquillos, kakanin, suman…Also, after the mass, their families have lunch at Jollibee or McDonalds.
Toys, too, are good reasons why children go to church, paper mache horses, balloons, trinkets…the Antipolo submachine-gun (Its a toy gun made from balsa wood that has a crank. If the crank is turned clockwise it produces a popping sound akin to a Russian AK 47, and if it is cranked counterclockwise, it produces a rattatat sound similar to that of an American M16.)
8. Para magkaload. (To get prepaid credits for my celphone)
I raised an eyebrow and asked, “What is the connection between going to church and celphone prepaid credits?” They explained that their parents motivate them to go to church by rewarding them with prepaid credits.
Good idea! I motivate my daughter by threatening her with suspension of internet privileges for a month if she does not attend church. I think these are better motivations than my parents’.
When I was young, my parents use a different tact: they threatened me with being left behind if ever rapture comes. It was also their prediction that rapture may come during Sunday mornings. (I love my parents! We all have our own ways of motivating our children to go to church. Its just that they like threatening me with being left behind)
7. Simba-tambay. (Loitering in the church)
Self-explanatory. Even adults do this, they loiter in church, and they eat in the church during the service...
6. Para mapayuhan (To hear counsel)
Generally, the top five, the “mature answers” are from the girls. They go to church to hear mass and maybe to hear counsel from the priest or the pastor’s sermon.
5. Para makinig sa pari (to listen to the priest)
We are getting warm here. They listen to the sermons.
4. Para madagadagan ang pananampalataya (For faith to increase)
It’s a good thing that some of my pupils think that going to church increases their faith. A bit legalistic, but the church the best place where we are edifed.
3. Para magpasalamat (To give thanks)
This answer elicited boos and hallelujahs from the boys.But they all knew this is one of the best reasons why they should go to church.
2. Para mabawasan ang kasalanan (For the reduction of sins)
Many Filipinos believe that going to church automatically reduces one's sins.
And the number 1 reason why my pupils go to church, about 25 percent of my 44 pupils answered this:1. Ewan ko (I don’t know)
An honest answer. Children do not take their religion seriously and, maybe, that’s the good thing about them. They do not have prejudices.
Ewan ko…good answer because sometimes I myself, do not know the reason why I go to church! Maybe the reason why I go to church is because I am one of the preachers!
It is the test of good religion if you can joke about it-G.K. Chesterton