Sunday, October 22, 2017

Rosary Prayer Gathering


I hosted the monthly Rosary prayer gathering for October, yesterday.

As always, I did too much!

The day started out very well.  I got up early and made the cashew curry to take to the temple.  Then, I cleared the table in the family room.  Then, I went to the temple for a brief visit.  I was laughing at myself for participating in two different religious events from two different religions in one day, but that is me.

After I came home from the temple, I had some brunch, tidied my bedroom, and relaxed a bit while the eggs boiled and I posted about my visit to the temple.

Then, I picked up my friend and we did the rest of the grocery shopping, together.  I bought the fruits and vegetables I needed for the dinner, while my friend bought some apple bananas for us to share and a container of yogurt as her contribution to the dinner.  She also bought this can of chocolates and toffees that she remembers having at Christmas while growing up:

I was shaking my head at her because the candy cost $16+, since it was imported and is available only in the ethnic stores, but she said the nostalgic value was worth it!  She shared her chocolates with me (just what I need, right?)

I started the cooking in the afternoon.  Maybe it was finely dicing the three large onions for the curries, or slicing the 3 lbs. of smoked sausage and 3 bundles of spring onions, or not remembering to drink enough water or not yet taking the magnesium pill for the day, or a combination of everything, but I was sauteing the garbanzo beans when my right hand began to cramp.  I continued to stir with my left hand and I felt my left hand cramping.  I remembered what happened last year, when I was preparing for the almsgiving (that's when I fainted in the bathroom and knocked my head on the edge of the bathtub) and got worried. 

I took my magnesium supplement and drank a glass of water.  Then, I called my cousin P who had offered to come and help with the cleaning and asked her for help.  There wasn't much cleaning left to do (only my bathroom, which I wasn't going to ask her to clean); but I didn't want my friend to be the only person doing the work while I rested and waited for the cramps to subside.  Cousin came over and she and my friend R removed the dust sheets on the family room sofas, and set up the altar,  etc., while I cleaned my bathroom.  That's when my feet began to cramp!  Oh, dear!  I still had a couple of curries to cook and a few things to do!

I drank more water and I said a prayer to enable me to complete the preparations for the prayer gathering.  My prayers were answered and the water and the magnesium worked!  The cramping stopped.  My cousin left as there was no more cleaning to do.  I finished cooking the rest of the curries; everything was ready when the first guests arrived, a little after 8:00 p.m.  The only thing I forgot to do was set out towels in my bathroom (I had removed the towels that were there and was going to put new towels when my cousin came back and I got distracted; didn't realize I hadn't set out towels till after everything was over!  Oops!  But I had set out guest towels in the other bathroom, which was the one most people used.)

Most of the regular prayer group arrived around 8:30 p.m. or shortly thereafter.  I served them the snacks I had prepared.  But we were waiting for one of my aunts and cousin and they delayed to come until about 9:20 p.m.  Once they arrived, the prayers began.

My friend who conducts the prayers read a short inspirational story and led the reciting of the Rosary.  Usually, the immediate members of the family who hosts (husband, wife, children, etc.) say the decades.  When I host the gathering, since I don't recite the Rosary, my aunts, cousins, and friends say the decades.  I sit and listen.

After the prayers were said, dinner was served.  My cousins and friends helped to get the dishes to the table.  I didn't take a picture of the table, but the dinner was served buffet style: rice, roast chicken surrounded with steamed asparagus, meat ball curry, cashew curry, salad of slices of cucumber, tomato, and red onion rings with halved hard boiled eggs around it, and more of the garbanzo beans.  Only two of the aunts sat at the table, the rest of us sat around on the sofas and chairs.

Afterwards, the desserts were brought out and kept on the living room coffee table.  I didn't make the flan because I felt it would be too much.  As it was, we had a platter of fresh fruits (green grapes, red grapes, tangerines, strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries), yogurt and treacle, the assortment of mini eclairs and cream puffs I had bought, a cranberry cake I had bought at the last minute to compensate for the lack of flan, a carrot cake one of my cousins had bought, a chocolate babka and a pumpkin chai spice loaf another cousin had bought, and the chocolate mints!  One of my aunts brought a bag of guavas from her tree and I encouraged everyone to take some home with them, but I still have about 6 or 7 huge guavas left!

There were 15 of us at the prayer gathering and enough food for at least another 15 people!  LOL.  I had roasted two chickens, but one whole chicken was left untouched.  I quartered it and sent three of the quarters home with my cousins and friend, along with some of the rest of the food.  Two of my cousins and my friend R stayed afterwards to help put away the food, wash the dishes, and sweep the dining area.  By this time, my feet were hurting from being on my feet so much.  I froze some of the leftovers and kept a little of everything in the fridge for me for the week. 

It was past midnight when my cousins who stayed behind to help, left.  After my friend R who stayed the night went to bed, I video chatted with my daughter for a little bit, said my nightly devotions, and went to bed, myself.  I was tired, but I couldn't fall asleep right away.  It was 3:00 a.m. when I finally went to sleep!

Yesterday, I was grateful for:
- The opportunity to go to the temple in the morning.
- The opportunity to host the monthly prayer gathering
- My friend coming to help me
- My cousin coming to help me
- Two of my cousins and my friend helping me after the dinner.

Looking back, even though I did as much as I thought I could before hand, I realize that I could have done even more.  I could have cooked the sausage when I bought it and frozen it; I could have done the same with the meat balls, too.  I could have cleaned the house, earlier, too. 

But the prayer gathering, itself, went off nicely and everyone enjoyed the meal afterwards.  That's what matters. 

Next month's prayer gathering will be hosted by my late friend's daughter in remembrance of the 1 year anniversary of my friend's passing.  I asked if I could bring something and I was asked to bring a dessert, if possible.


  1. Sounds like a successful event and how nice to spend time in prayer and remembrance.

  2. Thank you, Anne; that it was. :)

  3. I know you've probably told us before, but tell me about the two different religions of the day. I just assumed both events were Buddhist, but then you mention the Rosary which says Catholic to me.

    I'm glad the Mg pills worked. You probably won't be forgetting those again anytime soon.

    1. It is confusing, isn't it? :D

      I am Buddhist and the morning's event was a Buddhist ceremony at the temple. Later this year, in December, I will be having something called an almsgiving, which is also a Buddhist ceremony, at my home.

      The evening event was hosting the monthly Rosary prayer gathering, which is definitely a Catholic religious event. Even though I am not Catholic, I have been attending these Rosary prayer gatherings and taking a turn to host them at my house for the past 20 odd years.

      So those are the two different events of the day - one was a Buddhist event, one was a Catholic event. There were two separate altars in the living room on Saturday - the Buddhist one which is there, permanently, and the Catholic one, which was set up temporarily. The statue of Our Lady will be returned to the other permanent altar which is set up in one of the bedrooms, which houses religious icons from three different religions: Buddhist, Hindu, and Catholic. :D Maybe, one day, I'll post a picture of that altar!

  4. I'm glad your magnesium, water and prayers got you through the day Bless. It sounds a wonderful gathering and I'm sure everybody appreciated all the effort you put in. You are very lucky to have such helpful friends and family as well.

    Did I dream this or do you host something similar for the monks as well and did you also have to pass on doing that last year?

    A couple of weeks ago we ate our way through a tub of quality street. They cost £4 for 720g over here. I refuse to feel guilty about munching my fair share though as the tins are about 1/3 of the size they used to be when I was little lol :) xx

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. Yes, I'm very blessed to have family and friends who will pitch in.

      No, you didn't dream it! I do host a similar event for the monks, which is called an almsgiving! And, yes, I was unable to do it last year, because, the night before, I got similar cramps in my hands (the first time that happened) and then, fainted and fell in the bathroom (and knocked my head on the edge of the bathtub). That's kind of why I got a bit concerned when I cramped up on Saturday. I was saying, "Not again!" But, this time, I knew what to do at the first signs - drink more water, take my magnesium, and call for help with the work! :D

      I am definitely hoping to be able to host an almsgiving this year (in December). One of my aunts who attended the rosary gathering on Saturday admonished me to NOT hold the almsgiving, saying it will be too much work. I didn't say anything, and yesterday, she called me and said, "You are going to have the almsgiving, aren't you? I knew you were going to do it when you were so non-committal! I told your cousin, 'she's going to have the almsgiving!'" LOL! She knows me so well!

      I looked up the conversion rate for sterling to dollars; 1 sterling = $1.32. So, your 720g tin of Quality Street should cost $5.28 here! The box my friend bought was 900g, I believe, and assuming she paid $16 (it was $16.49 or something), that would be approx. 12 pounds sterling. We pay a premium for imported specialty items. :)

  5. I'm glad the pills and the water helped. As I was reading, I was getting more and more worried for you.

    1. Thanks, Debbie. I was a bit worried, myself! So now, I know to make even more preparations ahead of time! I am going to try my best to keep the house maintained so I don't have to do any deep cleaning before the almsgiving. I can either cook or clean, but not both! Not anymore, anyway.

  6. Thanks for sharing. We always had Quality Street at Christmas time. Such a treat but not as many choices in those days.

    I was worried for you when you told about the cramping. Glad you resolved and ask for help.

    May I ask then are your relatives who attend the monthly prayer meeting Catholic?

    1. Yes, all my relatives from my mother's side of the family are Catholic. My mother was born to a Catholic family; she was baptized and educated in a Catholic school. She converted to Buddhism sometime before she married my father (although she always maintained that she didn't convert in order to marry him). She had the opportunity to re-convert to Catholicism if she wanted to, after his death, especially since my step-father was also Catholic, but she didn't.

      So everyone at the rosary gathering was Catholic except for myself, and one cousin and her mother who are relations from my father's side of the family, who are Buddhist.

      By the way, all my Catholic relatives and several Catholic friends participate in my almsgivings, too. :)

  7. Oh dear Bless, what a busy day you had! I am glad you were able to have extra help and that the magnesium and water dealt with the cramping. It was certainly neat that you were to take part in two different faith activities in one day! It is great, too, that you and your relatives share in events from each faith and support each other.

    As for those Quality Street chocolates, they have to be one of the most attractive selections and I always was drawn to the purple one with the nut inside! I still usually buy them at Christmas either for us or for a gift, and as you say, we pay imported prices, alas.

    1. Yes, it was a busy day, wasn't it? But I was glad I was able to do it.

      The purple wrapped chocolates, with their hazelnuts, are one of my favorites, too, and I had one, today! :)


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