MJ Live

Friday, January 27, 2006

Procession for a Cardinal (Written 1/27/06)

The Catholic Church in Downtown Apia - The Cardinal's final resting place.

Today was a very special yet solemn occasion for Samoa. Today was the funeral procession for the only Samoan Cardinal in the South Pacific (Not sure if he was the only cardinal in the South Pacific). His name was Cardinal Pio and it was definitely a big event. We had to kids meet up in Apia instead of having them come to school and then trying to transport them all back to Apia in time for the procession (unlike in the US, the traditional school bus does not exist and thus we would have had to try using public transportation). I got a lift into town and met up with the rest of the teachers that had arrived to guide the kids – amazingly enough a lot of the kids showed up. I was really shocked by the amount of students that turned up since they didn’t have to report directly to school and there was no role taken. As I waited around, I learned a few interesting things about this cardinal. First of all, he was a former student of Chanel College which is why my school was asked to sing at his wake later on in the day. He was also a Marist priest, so he was tied to our school in more ways then one which made me glad that I decided to come and be a part of this event. This was my first Samoan falavelave so it was an experience to behold. The procession was supposed to start 11am which meant it really started at 11:30 and it didn’t get to our section of the procession until about 12:30. They were actually able to shut down two of the major roads in Apia which I was surprised by since cars seem determined to get to where they’re going regardless of what’s in their way (dog, guy on bike, procession, etc). The procession was lined on both sides by kids from the catholic colleges (Don Basco, Chanel, St. Joseph, St. Mary’s) which all have Peace Corps volunteers at them – so it was fun to see how connected we really are. I saw Sarah before the procession, so at least I wasn’t the only volunteer that showed up. Once the procession started coming through the main street, everything and everyone got quiet – people were taking pictures, looking from above and crying. It was the first time that I can remember on a non-Sunday, non-holiday that Apia has been so quiet. I took lots of pictures and I’ll have them posted soon. Once the procession passed completely by a section, the people on the side flowed in behind the casket and followed it into Apia so basically there was a huge flood of people following the casket along these two major roads and heading towards the Catholic Church in the middle of town. Once the casket arrived at the church everyone flowed into it to get a seat and watch as the body was brought into the church. During this time I also found out that the cardinal will be buried inside the church (in a section next to the choir) so he will probably have one of the best graves in all of Samoa. After a few songs and message (in Samoan) from a pastor presiding over the service, Chanel got to sing a few songs to the entire church. It was quite impressive and I was quite proud to be a part of this school because our school took up half the church to fit all our students and then the songs they were singing were quite beautiful. It was also fun to watch as the other schools just kind of sat quietly as my school got to be honored a bit – going to Chanel doesn’t seem so bad after all!

As for the rest of the week, I made a conscious effort to not go into Apia the entire week and just stick around my community (so they don’t think I’m always going into Apia everyday) which was a lot of fun. I went in on Thursday to get some help on fixing one of my computers hdd (with a boot disk – that’s right, despite all the great things a thumb drive can do it still can’t be used a boot disk, you need a good ole floppy for that one!) and not only did I receive a letter from one of my best friends, I got a book from my mom and a package from FCAIA – it was a great week for mail let me tell you. Add to that the fact that I made macaroni and cheese (from scratch) that had some Lemon Pepper in it and it tasted dang good – I may get the hang of this cooking thing after all! So that was my first week of actual work, as you can probably tell not a lot was actually done but hey there’s always next week! L8r. Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

Julya Steyh said...

First, Let me say that my school has 2 school buses Marques. So they are around. :)

And that's great that you are cooking with spices. Keep it up. Don't forget too that you have Holly's frying pan.