Yesterday, Raft3r received a text message from mom.
It read: "Anak, Linggo bukas. (Son, tomorrow's Sunday.) Hear mass."
As with all devout Catholic countries, it is an age old tradition in the Philippines for a family to go to church together every Sunday.
They would put on their best clothes, wear their fancy shoes, and flash their pearly whites.
People do this just to show the neighbors that they are one happy family in contrast to the dysfunctional one they actually grew up with.
Pretending is still one of the most popular games people play.
This Sunday, we went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in D.C.
Raft3r was blown away by its grandeur. It could easily become a favorite subject of any photographer.
The one hour mass went by so quickly. My group headed to the different parts of the Basilica. Believe me. There were a lot to explore.
What Raft3r found most interesting was how the Basilica coped with the modern times.
They got a huge gift shop. For a Catholic institution, they sell a lot of memorabilia and collectibles. The store is no Walmart, though. Their items are costly.
The Basilica also has a cafeteria that is big enough to feed an entire congregation and maybe a couple more.
Not that I am against the commercialization of religion, but the Church does have a vow of poverty.
If the Amish can maintain a simple lifestyle, Raft3r does not see why the Catholic Church cannot.
I'm just thinking out loud. That's all.