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SAN MATEO/ULAY: Water is the Source of Life - The Ulay Water Blessing Ceremony  

by Carol Cook; photos by Carol Cook and Reeba Lynn  

On the long road from dumaguete to Ulay we practiced our song: "Oh we give thanks for this precious day, for all gathered here, and those far away, for the [work, food, time] we share with love and care —Oh we give thanks for this precious day." At a site just down the road from the Ulay Chapel we gathered with about 50 congregation and community members to dedicate and bless the nearly completed Community Capacity building Water Project.

Water Association President Willy Casiple gave a speech, promising that the water will reach the chapel soon. The engraved marble plaque was temporarily installed. The water flowed and all agreed that it was very good! We sang our hymn of thanksgiving, and Rey Minasalvas and his daughter Leah sang a beautiful duet. The four San Mateo UU visitors (Carol Cook, Susan Grieger, Reeba Lynn and Ann Mason) read the blessing, with Cebuano translation ably provided by
UUCP staff member Angie Legaje:

“We bless the water that comes from this source, and all those who use it. We thank the members of this community who gave so much of their time and effort to complete the water project.

All who laid the pipe and dug the tanks and pulled the cable over the river and under the road made significant sacrifices to see this water project to completion. You took time away from your farms and your families. In this way, your families also sacrificed, and they also contributed to the work. We thank you for this great gift that you gave for the sake of this community.

Water is the source of life. Our bodies are over fifty percent water, so we think of water as a sacred source of life and healing. It is literally half of who we are, and over half the earth’s surface is water. 

Water cleanses us and stills our thirst; it contains and provides nourishment. Our crops will not grow without water. We return our thanks to the water and to the earth on which it flows. We bless this water and pray that it will bring us the blessing of good health.

May we always take good care of this water source, and of the earth which sustains us, and of each other. Amen.”

After the ceremony, all enjoyed juices, fruits, and the delicious pan de coco (coconut bread) baked by Rey. We walked to the chapel to enjoy the blessings of Valentines and letters for the children, gifts for each family and for the church, and a token of appreciation for Mr. Casiple. We presented a photo album of the water project to the congregation. It was so good to be together! ••

Leah and Rey Minsalves sing a duet at the Blessing Ceremony (find them just to the right of the umbrella).Leah and Rey Minsalves sing a duet at the Blessing Ceremony (find them just to the right of the umbrella).

Clean water runs from a tap for the community.Clean water runs from a tap for the community.