FWIW.. 93.. Christmas Day.. Dec 25, 2011



For MANY  of you .. it is still Christmas Eve ..  December the 24th .. or it is 2AM or 3AM in the morning on Christmas Day ..

I remain in Arambol Beach, in Goa, on the West Coast of India, about three hundred and sixty some miles south down the west coast of India  from Mumbai  (Bombay) ..

I began my Christmas Day late last night by attending the midnight Mass at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church here in Arambol ..

I have written extensively about the church and shown you many photographs of it at .. http://bobbacaps.blogspot.com .. and having attended a routine morning Mass on Sunday.. December 4, 2011 .. see FWIW.. 86.. at which I estimated there were at least five hundred (500) people and pretty much a full house .. I expected Christmas Midnight Mass to be more than a full house ..so I WENT EARLY ..

The Mass was scheduled to begin at 11:30PM .. so at 10:45PM I was in the church and seated in my favorite seat .. third row from the front (the first two rows are taken by people participating in the Mass .. ) on the center aisle on the right side of the church ..myself and (count them.. I did) three (3) others ..why on earth wait at home .. why not wait in the church ..

Mass began at 11:30PM sharp and on-time and was divided in two sessions .. keep in mind that .. in two (2) hours .. I heard about twenty words I could understand .. the first session was very informal .. the three priests were dressed  all-in-white and conducted a power point show of local scenes and of local people (I am guessing) .. shown on a screen in front .. I was thinking .. “Ummm.. this does not seem like High Mass on Christmas Eve .. am I missing something here ?” ..

At 12 Midnight .. there was a seamless break .. the priests sort of drifted off .. and then the priests reappeared .. in a procession .. slowly walking down the center aisle of the church .. IN GOLD AND RED very formally decorated and ceremonial appearing  High Church vestments ..  TO CELEBRATE THE MASS .. the ‘show is ON’ I thought .. and it WAS ON ! 

“Hot Diggity Dog !” I thought silent to myself.. “Showtime” ..

Sitting here .. twelve hours later ..  I get an emotional shiver just thinking about it .. me being on the aisle.. as the procession  walked slowly past me they were inches away from me to my left .. four alter boys also adorned properly .. and others .. WHEW ! .. I could smell them they were so close to me ..

I do NOT care what  your belief system may be or what your non-belief system may be .. I was age forty six (46 years) before I fully realized Roman Catholics were (I always knew they were Roman Catholics) also Christians .. (yeah I know.. go figure..) ..

No matter your belief system .. I think you owe yourself at least ONE HIGH MASS in a Roman Catholic and in an Eastern Orthodox Church .. Christmas or Easter ..  do both .. I have done both .. they REALLY know how to do ceremony .. imagine HIGH MASS in Rome .. I can’t .. I get a chill just thinking about it  .. or in Constantinople (aka Istanbul) .. or Athens .. or Moscow .. and here I am ..  in Arambol Village in Goa in India .. and I was TOTALLY IMPRESSED .. well the church here was built in 1780 .. they have some practice I guess ..

HIGH MASS lasted from 12 Midnight until 1:25AM .. of the  twenty words I understood .. I fully understood  these .. said quietly and with some intensity by  The Man (the high priest) .. “We ask that only Catholics come forward for Holy Communion” .. said in crystal clear English .. and I understood why and honored the request .. IF those words are NOT said.. I go forward .. “What would THE MASTER say?” .. probably .. ” IF you believe come right on up here and celebrate with me” .. and I DO know the drill .. The Cup of Salvation and the Bread of Life .. NO cup anymore .. but the wafer for sure .. 

Then the (well in excess of) five hundred parishioners spilled out of the church and the party began .. music and cake and refreshments ..  I called Patti on my cell phone and Patti could clearly hear the joy ..

It is so VERY SPECIAL to be celebrating Christmas here in Christian Goa when the FOCUS seems to be  entirely upon the religious aspect of the day..  JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON .. and all the commercial hoopla is 100% totally missing .. at least I have not seen it and I have been slyly looking for it .. (well go to http://bobbacaps.blogspot.com  and scroll down to the very last photo in For What It’s Worth .. 110.. Dec 24, 2011 .. there IS some commercialism.. go ahead and see what I am talking about.. get a smile on your face.. ) ..

At age seventy five life is about small increments .. and my life is just a tad better because of  Christmas 2011  High Mass in Arambol Village in Goa in India..

much much love.. cap ..