Opening Statement



Sunday, 14 December 2014

Christmas In Cuba 7: Holy Night!

Complete Story @ Here!


December 25, 1996

A straw collection plate passes by, from hand to hand. The Cubans humbly toss in their crumpled pesos, their meagre centavos. A few dollars too. I look about. Yes, there’s other extranjeros/ foreigners from the resorts outside of town. Must’ve come in on their own. I didn’t see any tour buses outside. Doubt the cathedral is where the party is at. Christmas? The resorts will lay out quite the spread. But what's happening in town tonight? 

The policemen argue at the back of the church. Echoes of confusion. My mind's awash. Que pasa? Que? Nada?!? Nothing??? We are not expected here tonight.


The padre stands at the altar. The choir gently sings “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” in Spanish. Adjusting his gown, he looks up to the congregation for the Eucharist Prayer, “El Senor este con ustedes/ The Lord be with you.”

The congregation grow silent. Without prayer books, many of them don’t know what to say. They listen carefully to the old-timers who still remember the Order of the Mass, trying to join in the response. I know this part pretty well. Roll it over in my mind. Distracted. Whispering in English, "....and with your spirit.”



“Levantemos el corazon/ Lift up your hearts.”


“Lo tenemos.../We have lifted them up to the Lord.” 

Somewhere, from far in the back, the tiny cry of a baby echoes through the church. The padre, hands raised in supplication, pauses for a moment. Smiles. Hushed silence. Que pasa/ What's happening? 

The little Cuban girls cover their mouths. Giggle. The women exchange glances. Smile too. They know! It's a very profoundly simple, heartfelt truth.

“Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”


“Es justo y necesario/ It is right and just.”

I can hear the rustle of the policemen shuffling their feet.

To Be Continued ................................................................



SERIES: Part 1 @  Here! Part 2 @ Here!  Part 3 @ Here! Part 4 @ Here! Part 5 @ Here! Part 6 @ Here! Part 7 @ Here! Part 8 Here! Part 9 @ Here! Part 10 @ Here! Part 11 @ Here! Part 12 @ Here! Post Script @ Here!

COMMENTS?

2 comments:

David Chiarelli said...

PS: I would consider myself spiritual but not religious, drifting in and out of agnosticism much of my adult life. But I'm pretty sure God moved among us that night!

David Chiarelli said...

Methinks this needs another edit or two or three ..... is it getting too hard to follow, breaking it up like this? My style and so on?

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