I thought I’d share my observations of my first time at church in Costa Rica.
Church two days in a row is a bit much, even in another language. This weekend I went to church with the family in La Ribera. They only have a service once a month. Luz said it would only take an hour, but it ended up being more a test of patience. After waiting half an hour in the hot building the service finally began. There were no service leaflets or handouts like I’m used to. The congregation seemed to sort of know what to say, but often times the responses were mumbled and out of sync. There was some singing too. The two Belgium volunteers really did not like the service. But I was able to have a bit more patience with it because I understand the whole sit-down, stand-up, kneel format. Still, I have to admit it was a bit boring, and I definitely did not understand the sermon.
The next day, I went with the family to endure another church service. This one was a bit better though. The church was a bit bigger, and I got to observe the first communion of six children. The music was definitely different than I’m used to. Very upbeat with Latin American flair, but there was no live music, just recordings. I almost didn’t feel like I was at a church service because people were constantly up surrounding the six children taking photos and videos of the occasion. I don’t know what first communion is like in an American Catholic church, so I can’t compare, but this service was filled with very ceremonial processes.
Honestly, I didn’t find the two church services much different from the one I’m used to. The services were a bit more informal, the music was a bit different, there were a lot of kids, and the service was in Spanish.