JARINA, Ranvin Anthony N.
Everyday the Loyola Schools Chapel hold a 12pm mass for those who want to hear the Eucharist. It is open to anyone ranging from the faculty, to students, and manpower of the Loyola Schools. For some it is part of their daily routine. For some, they feel as if they need the faith now, more than ever in their lives. We decided to attend this event for our participant observation analysis.
What happens usually during this event is that the mass would start at 11:50 sharp and finishes no later than 40 minutes. We noticed that most of the people who attended the mass were faculty and staff. There were a few number of student only, maybe this is due to the many deadlines being crammed. The sounds heard in the areas were mostly of the priest talking and the choir singing during the whole celebration. Everyone else was quite and listening attentively. A very common observation that we noticed is that when people pass the outside of the chapel, they make the sign of the cross. It is as if they want to show respect to the chapel as they pass in front of it.
We don’t usually attend mass on weekdays, so attending 12pm mass is new for both of us. Ranvin usually attends church in White Plains, while Sebastian always attends the chapel in Eastwood. One thing about the daily 12 pm mass, is that it seems monotonous. The priest does that each and every day. He merely goes through the process, nothing more, and nothing less. In the chapel back in Eastwood, the priest would incorporate some of the current events in his mass. Every Sunday, there he would say something different.
We felt calm and at ease during the mass. We are both stressed because of the volume of school work we have to do throughout the week. It is Sebastian’s Finals week, and Ranvin also has many long tests and paper deadlines due. It is a very busy week for both of us. With this, it felt good to take a break from academics and attend mass. Attending mass gives a sense of serenity. There is peace of mind. It felt good to kick back and relax during this event. A lot of faculty members were looking at us during the celebration. Maybe it’s because we were one of the few students who were there. Maybe all the other people there in the chapel were regular 12 pm mass goers, and we were one of the few who are irregulars. Other student gave us the same impression.
There were also workers who attended mass. Sometimes there were janitors. We noticed that these workers would stay in the back, or stay standing with their head bent down. It must be some inferiority complex. They don’t feel worthy enough to go in the front. They believe that should be reserved for the teachers and students.
In the Chapel we were able to see one of our good friends who is studying Biology here in the Ateneo. From what I know, he isn’t a very religious person. However, because he is going through a rough part in his life, he has gone closer to his faith. His mom is about to pass away from lung cancer. It just goes to show that faith in God can be there to guide him through his hard times. For others, it is part of their daily routine. Sebastian’s first year English teacher was there also. In fact, in her class, she stated that it has always been part of her daily ritual to attend the daily 12pm mass. She was a very religious person.
Our key informant during this celebration was Ray Jarina, the father of Ranvin Jarina. We made him our key informant because he attends this daily mass on a regular basis. Being an alumnus from the Loyola Schools, he spent most of his time as well in the chapel and hearing mass daily. He told us that ever since his time not many students go to the chapel for mass and as the years have gone by the number continues to decrease. This may be because of the rise of many new religions, the loss of faith of some people, or maybe just because they have to take care of school work. He also told us that most of the teachers are happy when they see students who attend regularly. The way we participated was not really so big. During the “Our Father” part of the mass we reached out to the people next to us and held their hand. Weird it is to see in mass nowadays that people do not hold the hands of the ones next to them during this part of the mass.
Participation is better than just observing because one actually becomes part of what is happening. The participant feels the actual things felt and is put into the situation and can see and feel things as they are actually happening. We simply blended in with the crowd. No one knew we were there to observe them, therefore they didn’t act in a weird or strange way.
The key informant was useful because having someone with experience there gave us further insight into what actually happens daily during those times. He is the one that knows what had always been happening there and can even tell us how things have changed in the event over the years. Participant Observation gave us the chance to put ourselves in the situation itself. Questions and Interviews are too plain and subject to much error. People can lie during interviews or say what is morally and socially right. The same thing goes for answering questions. However, participant observation allows us to see things as they actually are with no bias. We are able to observe things as they actually happen and people won’t be conscious being watched as well.
Questionnaires and Interviews will be more useful when we want to be individual insights on something. It provides an opportunity to ask questions on the spot to people. Questions and Interviews can also have their data interpreted scientifically; this is due to the advancement in technology over the years. Being able to get many interviews and questionnaires out may give a better insight for the observer to many different insights from many people. This can help greatly in the observations.
An example of things we could have asked in the interview is, “do you come to 12 pm mass often”. This question would help determine if they are regulars at this event. This is something you cannot determine through participant observation, unless you also go at a regular basis. Another question can be, “What compels them to go to 12pm mass”. Are they going because it was how they were raised? Are they going because life isn’t so kind to them at the moment? Are they going because it is part of their daily routine? These questions and those similar to it give insight that cannot be given through the participant observation alone. It gives the human element which gives reason as to why they are doing what they are doing.
This is what we experienced during our participant observation. We observed that people of all types of background attend mass in the Ateneo Chapel. There are teachers, workers, and students. Ultimately, participant observation was a great tool to observe that environment.