There was only one Catholic procession last night. The first time in more than 6 years. It was like we got our Holy Week back, the one we grew up with. People started lining up the street a good hour before it was to pass there, very relaxed. There was no more buzz about which procession was going to pass first, or whether they will both take the same route. No more calling or texting friends in different locations, asking which has already passed and where one or the other is at the moment. No more going to the church beforehand to see whether the ‘contraband’ would block the ‘legal’ one.

But no more excitement either. I know we’ve all been wanting a resolution to this conflict, but I kind of missed it. I’m guessing I’m not the only one who feels this way. But as a result of the conflict, we now have 2 San Pedros, 2 San Juans, 2 Nazarenos and 2 Dolorosas in the procession. They also changed the order of the saints, and we can’t figure out the logic. Traditionally, it has always been San Pedro at the head. Last night they started with Saint Luke, followed by St. Mark and St. John. So we thought, “Ah, the evangelists first.” Then St. Peter followed. St. Matthew came a few carozas later. Oh well….I guess no more old jokes about the nag-sabong na San Pedro ng Katoliko at Aglipay. Ay, ang sarap maging Pinoy.

On a Lenten note, my only prayer for this season is true peace around the world. By peace I don’t mean just truce, ceasefire or status quo. I mean the peace that begins in every person’s heart. Because it is only by this can we let go of hatred that is the cause of suffering. Let me end this with a prayer of my favorite saint.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
– Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi