25 YEARS AGO ON AMBERGRIS CAYE   BY ANGEL NUÑEZ

Religion 65 Years Ago


A
t the senior citizens reunion given by the San Pedro Town Board as part of the St. Peter's Day celebrations, several interesting facts about religion were reed. It is so interesting because the facts came directly from people who actually lived these experiences. Let's enjoy a few of them.

CHURCHES- Sixty-five years ago there was only one church in the village of San Pedro- the Roman Catholic Church. The priest would come only once in a blue moon, at times about once a year. A seventy five-year-old lady recalled that she was baptized when she was 3 days old because that was when the priest had arrived. If she was not baptized then, she would have had to wait one year.

A SECOND CHURCH- The second church to be established in San Pedro was the Adventist Church. A certain gentleman, Mr. Sabido, came the island and attracted a few followers. His main topic in his preaching was the coming of the end of the world. He insisted that the end was near be cause of so much evil in the world. One day Mr. Sabido climbed a coconut tree awaiting the coming of Jesus in the sky. The people thought he was crazy or something, but then realized he was simply expressing his deep faith.

SUNDAY DOCTRINE- Since masses were celebrated about once year, there was Sunday doctrine every week. It was conducted by the elementary school teacher and there was the reading of the child's catechism, a sermon, prayers and singing of hymns by a choir. Sunday doctrines were compulsory and those who skipped it were given a good whipping the first thing on Monday morning. And a lady commented "Believe me, very few people skipped the service."

WEDDINGS- One had to arrange to transport the priest to the island. Priests that married San Pedranos 65 years ago were Father Sullivan, Father Suattie or Father Ryan. All weddings were held in the mornings. The reception was an all day affair and the entire village was filled with chicken dishes and treated to rum drinks. "All wedding rings had to be plain- never with any kind of design because it is stated so in the bible," commented one of the senior citizens. And what about the cost of a wedding ring? Only five dollars.

JESUS CHRIST'S COFFIN- There is a coffin in the church where lies a statue of Jesus Christ and which is taken out every Good Friday as a symbol of Jesus' death on the cross. "La caja del mortorio" it is called by the senior citizens. A 75-year-old senior citizen confirmed that the box is older than she is, probably 85 years old, and was donated to the church by one don Pablo Rodriguez, who was the grandfather of Mrs. Chala Rivero (deceased) or the great grandfather of Veli Paz and Rilma Rivero. This mortorio, by the way, needs a little varnish and broken glass to be repaired. More on religious practices next week by Twenty-Five Years Ago.

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