In the Night of December 30, the Children Of Braga had started throwing knockouts.
I sat on the reading table while Jennifer sat on the reading chair. We played Whot/cards and watched the sky as different kinds of Knockouts with different sounds and light designs decorated the night temporarily and faded away.
Jennifer wanted us to go outside and get our own bangs but I was tired. We played our cards until midnight, then we slept.
The following morning, I went downstairs alone and asked the receptionist where we could go and look around in the city. He suggested Bom Jesus do monte cathedral. I went back upstairs and asked Jennifer to get prepared. We were going out.
She took her bath and applied some colour on her face and some red greasy leads on her lips, then we stepped out and hired a cab to the Cathedral.
BOM JESUS DO MONTE ( Good Jesus Mountain) CATHEDRAL was one of the largest in Braga. It was built in 1722. It was located at the top of a small mountain. The staircase to the top of the mountain contained 600 steps in a ZigZag style. Each end of the ZigZag hosted a fountain chapel used as a stop for the Catholic’s station of the cross.
There were water trains that transported people to the top of the mountain but we decided to walk the entire steps up to the top where the Church was built. It was a good exercise.
I ignored the fact that it was a Church and held Jennifer’s hand as we climbed the steps. It took us nearly 30 minutes to get to the top since we paused occasionally to inspect some wonderful structures built hundreds of years ago.
When we got to the top, there were several tourists taking pictures and praying.
A confession session was going on. The new year was some hours away and believers wanted to enter it with righteousness.
I asked Jennifer if she was baptized and Confirmed and brainwashed like me in the Catholic doctrine, she said she wasn’t a Catholic.
I asked her to keep looking around while I stood in line for my own confession. I warned her not to venture too far away from the hall.
I was born a Catholic. My parents were Catholics who were members of the choir in the St Mary’s Catholic Church in my hometown. I got baptized in 1981 when I was a year old.
I received the holy communion in August 1987 and got Confirmed in September 1989.
I was a dedicated Catholic who attended Church every Sunday until I moved to Special Science Senior Secondary School where I lived in the school like every other student. It was at the boarding school that I stopped going to Church. It was then that I stopped receiving holy communion and stopped attending confessions. Then, i saw no need to go to the Church and confess your sins, ask God to forgive your sins with a promise never to do it again. Then start doing the same things all over again from the moment you left the Church. It looked absurd to me then and I stopped.
But right there at the Bom Jesus do Monte, I felt the need to confess my sins. I felt the need to ask God for forgiveness. I had done a lot of things regarded as sins.
I had dealt on drugs, blackmailed, had sex, looked at a beautiful woman with lust, the list was endless.
The problems was that I didn’t know where and how to start. I wasn’t even sure the Rev. Father at the confessional understood English but that one didn’t bother me much.
Twenty minutes later, it was my turn to confess. I entered the Confessional and before I knelt down, the Rev. Father asked ” English, French or Portuguese”
” English” I answered.
” What have you done my son” he said.
”Father ” I began.
” I have done a lot of sins, I have stopped attending Churches for long,
I have fornicated’
I have lied many times,
I have stolen things that were not mine,
I have sold drugs,
I have taken alcohol,
I have, I have, I have… ” I stopped.
I wanted to add that I ran away with Madam Grace’s young girl but that would require some kind of explanation to the priest, so I just kept quiet.
There was nothing else I could remember.
”Is that all you want to tell God to forgive” he asked calmly.
” Father, I am sure there are other sins I can’t remember now” I said.
” Do you know how to pray the Rosary” he asked.
” Yes” I lied. I knew it but I was sure I had forgotten how to say the mysteries and other Rosary related Prayers.
” Say the Rosary three times, Say our Lord’s Prayer three times and when it is 12pm today, say the Angelus ” he said.
” Go in peace and sin no more” he said as he made the sign of the cross.
I got up slowly and left the confessional.
I returned back to the Church auditorium and found Jennifer walking around. I walked up to her and told her that we were leaving.
We went outside and saw an area where Catholic materials were being sold. I bought a Chaplet ( Holy Rosary), a Station of the cross Doctrine and a small bottle of Olive oil.
We went to the back of the Hall and bought double €2 tickets. We entered the water train and rode down to the base of the mountain.
A bus was already waiting, we entered, purchased bus tickets and drove back to the Avenida de libertade where our apartment was located.
We got into our room and I announced to Jennifer that I wanted to pray. She was surprised, all those while we had been together, she had never seen or heard me say any prayer.
I told her to either stay quiet on the bed or take some money and go out to the city. She endorsed the second option and left the room.
I knelt down and closed my eyes…
” In the name of the Father, and of the son and of the holy spirit” I said as I make the sign of the cross on my face…