Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Of prayers and icons in govt offices

Every working day, at around 8 o'clock AM I can see my co-workers in my department gathering in front of a religious icon and loudly praying. It usually takes them 15 minutes to finish.

In another department, prayer starts at 8:30. So they get to start working when it is almost 9.

The Boss says these prayers ought to be done before or after office hours. But it seems he could not say it aloud to the group. Just in case it is true that they are praying to somebody very powerful.

Every first Friday a mass is held in the lobby during the lunch break but mass extends half an hour into the afternoon working hours. Around January there is a weeklong novena to a female icon. This is capped by a luncheon.

The office also sponsors a mass in a church for the city's famous child icon. Employees are transported to the mass in the office vehicles and are excused when they could not return to work on time.

Now our agency has been consistently voted as highest performing government agency by a business association. Perhaps these prayers and masses do help. Hmmn.

In all government offices you can see religious icons in conspicuous places. As if to proclaim that christianity, or to be more specific, Catholicism, is the official religion in that office. And that whoever is worshipped by this group holds sway over the people's lives and, therefore, the way they are conducting their work.

At the BOC, BIR, LTO, etc. there are icons aplenty. And I presume many prayer groups. So there, judge for yourself.