Old and new

Sun.Star Cebu - - ‘ZUP! - ELIS­A­BETH BAUMGART elis­a­[email protected]

Not many know this, but I was an al­tar girl in Ger­many.

I signed up to be an al­tar girl at the lo­cal Catholic Church, St Boni­fatiusKirche (Saint Boni­face Church) run by the Fran­cis­can broth­ers when I was still an egg (about seven or eight years old). I re­mem­ber the lo­cal parish priest be­ing one of the nicest and coolest priests in town (he played foot­ball with the kids and cracked the best jokes). Prior to me vol­un­teer­ing, I met the lo­cal priest on sev­eral oc­ca­sions, when I vis­ited the flea mar­kets or­ga­nized by the church.

I loved the sense of com­mu­nity among the vol­un­teers and I knew I wanted to be a part of that.

There were sev­eral after-school ses­sions you had to at­tend to learn what you needed to do as an al­tar girl or boy, and facts about the church and the com­mu­nity. I en­joyed the work­shops—learn­ing how to serve the wine, how to pour wa­ter and where to kneel. I re­mem­ber be­ing ex­tra happy once I was told I could serve dur­ing church ser­vice.

What I loved about our com­mu­nity was our fundrais­ing ef­forts. I re­mem­ber we’d raise funds for soup kitchens, for kids in coun­tries af­fected by con­flict, and we’d have pro­grams for the el­derly. It was a won­der­ful com­mu­nity to sup­port.

When we moved to the Philip­pines, I was pretty bummed that girls weren’t com­monly al­lowed to be an al­tar girl. I never re­ally un­der­stood why.

While we were in Mannheim, my boyfriend and I vis­ited the church to see how ev­ery­thing looked. And yes, ev­ery­thing still looked the same. Even in the cor­ner, there was a fundrais­ing pam­phlet and an an­nounce­ment for a Se­niors Night with free cake and cof­fee (sadly, it was on the day we were sched­uled to fly out).

The church—like ev­ery­thing else we saw— did look smaller com­pared to the mem­o­ries I had of the place.

“Prob­a­bly be­cause as a child, ev­ery­thing was big­ger,” my boyfriend ex­plained pa­tiently with a small laugh.

My head and heart are both still in Ger­many. While it’s been weeks since our trip, I still can’t shake off my Ger­many hang­over and am still amazed by how home still looked and felt the same.

Old build­ings were still old build­ings. The old towns like Mannheim and Dres­den kept their old ro­man­tic city feel that took you back to the ‘90s. While in Cologne, Robert and I stayed in the Bel­gian Quar­ter and it re­minded us of our child­hood neigh­bor­hoods with old (and still func­tional) cinema houses, pubs and restau­rants.

I se­cretly wish that we would pre­serve some of our old build­ings and keep them clean and func­tional in the Philip­pines. My heart breaks know­ing that we’re los­ing Pa­tria de Cebu.

What are you fa­vorite child­hood haunts that are still around in Cebu?

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