September 28-29 is the parochial fiesta of my hometown – Padada, Davao del Sur. Our patron saint is St Michael the Archangel. I remember with fondness the image of our patron on the front wall atop the main door of our church. It is a symbol of the triumph of good over evil. It is a concrete sculpture of St Michael stepping on the body of Lucifer and burying his spear into the devil’s heart. Below the sculpture is the phrase “KINSAY SAMA SA DIYOS.”
I often tell my friends that only those who can clearly describe how the image look like can rightfully claim he is from Padada. Moreover, I also have kababayans who maintain that only those who can explain the meaning and the context of the words “KINSAY SAMA SA DIYOS” can rightfully say that he understands the Story of Creation.
The church of St Michael in Padada was built 59 years ago in the spirit of bayanihan. The original chapel was located beside the national highway, more than a kilometer away from the present location of the church. My grandfather told me that led by a Fr. Paul Gravel, a PME priest, they first repaired the old chapel, after which they literally carried it on their shoulders to its present site. Of course, there were hundreds of them who enthusiastically did it.
Town folks, rich and poor alike, pooled their resources to build the church. They contributed money, materials, and labor in order to build the present church. That they contributed the best construction materials can be better appreciated if one examines closely the type of wood used in the construction of the church. Before it was unfortunately painted over in the 80s, the upper walls, pillars, and ceilings glistened in the natural sheen of the hardwood used.
Every year, the parochial fiesta is a much awaited event in our small town. The fiesta proper is preceded by a nine-day novena. Every night during these nine days, there are cultural and/or sports events held either in the church grounds or in the municipal auditorium. After the fiesta mass, the catholic school students hold ground demonstrations wherein they showcase their terpsicorean and musical abilities. Parents and visitors watch these activities which usually end before noontime. During lunchtime and well into the evening, visitors are treated to sumptous feasts in various houses in the town.
Fiesta is an excuse for us to go home to our hometown to renew ties with old friends and to visit parents and relatives. If one fails to do so, the tradition is to light a candle in any church and say a prayer for St. Michael. The better option of course, is to gather some kababayans and their families and celebrate the fiesta in the part of the world where they are staying.
Let me close this post by sharing with you the Prayer to St Michael:
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast unto hell, satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl through the world, seeking the ruin of souls, Amen.
Mary, Queen of the Angels, pray for us.
All your seven Archangels of God, pray for us.
HAPPY FIESTA TO ALL MY KABABAYANS.
VIVA Señor San Miguel!
*pictures in this post are from www.padada.com