After three Sundays attempting to attend a regular Sunday mass in Manchester, we finally figured out the closest church to our flat, and got there on time — a much bigger miracle for someone raised in a culture that is always late.
The sign read St. Anne R.C. Church and we kind of surmised RC meant Roman Catholic, the way they say C of E as Church of England, so we proceeded. Coming in looking embattled because of the strong winds with showers outside despite the weather forecast saying it wouldn’t rain until 1pm, we found a spot next to no-older-than-eight-year-old boys who could not stick their butts to the long wooden chair we all shared, shaking the rest of us with their constant youthful unease.
It didn’t take a minute for me to reach a conclusion that now, I am home. This is the church I can go to every Sunday, not because it’s pretty and full, but because it was noisy with babies competing for the highest-pitched cry whilst their mothers looked both frantic and fashionable in their Sunday dresses. Babies mean families come here and one day, we’ll get acquainted. The place was full of colours — of people British, Black, Asian, Filipinos I recognised by the tip of their noses, and of playful light created by the stained glass walls against a now-friendly-once-elusive sun.
The choir sang, the priest led, an incense dangled, and Easter mass was heard. Homily was skipped, and why would there be a need for one when the whole point of Easter was happening before us — baptism of three young kids in front of this congregation, professing the resurrection of Christ and conversion of heart at a young age. Poor kids though, who might traipse through life with caution if not paranoia that they must always do right under the watch of this community of strangers.
As if on cue, a brighter sun appeared just as the baptism ceremony ended, so strongly that for a brief moment I imagined whether the church was going up in flames and Jesus was coming down from the Heavens enveloped by all this brilliance.
What’s Easter without the egg in the form of the infamous Cadbury creme eggs given away to kids just before the final blessing, whilst I left it to self-control to keep me from lining up to get one myself.
“Look at the mess you’ve made leaving all these cookies on the floor,” we heard one of the eight year olds next to us tell another in his group (what foresight to bring cookies to endure the long mass with). The latter cleaned up the mess by eating the cookies off the floor. What a clever, practical solution.