Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Easter, 2005

The emotions of that last week before entering the Catholic Church were so intense I think I went on autopilot again. We were at the church almost every single night of Holy Week, because in addition to the Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter, we had a rehearsal on Tuesday...and something else I can't remember, on Monday...and, oh yeah, one last meeting with Fr Hickey. I was ready to bring an air mattress to the church because there was no point in going home.

On Good Friday, the Life Teen kids presented a very moving Passion, and there was the Veneration of the Cross. I found that service difficult. There are still quite a few Catholic practices that seem weird to me, ( like human relics, etc). Fr Bryce Sybley , late of A Saintly Salmagundi, uses the word POD (pious and over devotional) to discibe this sort of thing, and I guess I am not all that POD.

So Holy Saturday came, and I prepared to get drenched. This parish uses a modified garden pond as a dunk tank, and you kneel in it. As I wrote before, I was already baptized and it was probably kosher but there was no record of it, so Fr. Hickey used the language of "Conditional Baptism." To be honest, all I remember of Holy Saturday was being nervous, getting wet, changing into my nice silk suit, running back up the back stairs to the altar, getting annointed, (and getting a nice olive oil mark on the back of my silk suit when the Padre gave me a hug! infact all of us new confirmands had the identical oil stain!), candles being lit, and finally going home and getting out of my high heels. I don't actually even remember Communion, but I remember the Litany of the Saints.

The really miraculous thing about coming into the Church at Easter, happened afterwards, in the following weeks. I felt a growing peace, a real happiness, and a thorough love for Jesus developing in me. This was really confirmed for both my husband and me, with the passing of Pope John Paul II. As he lay dying, on Friday, April 1st, our parish was holding our monthly Adoration. I went in the afternoon, and said a rosary, and later, when my husband came home I told him about it, and he really had the need to go and pray. So we went, spent an hour with the Lord, and then went to our current favorate restaurant, where we toasted John Paul with a great martini. (Was it Chesterton who compared the Catholic Church to a steak and a cigar?, For me it's a steak and a martini!). Adoration is such an incredible blessing.

We both feel that it was his leadership which was instrumental in bringing us into the Church. For me, the fact that he visited Israel was huge, and I remember hearing about it from the Israelis. It was huge for them , too. I'd like to think he is now up there praying for the modern nation of Israel, and maybe he is even their Patron Saint.

That whole week of coverage was amazing. I got up very early to watch the Funeral Mass, but I couldn't rouse my husband! Silly man, he missed one of the most moving experiences, let alone a moment of history. I actually feel I participated in the Mass, and made a spiritual communion. What an honor. I was especially moved, once again, by the Litany of the Saints. And when they tilted the coffin up and all the crowds waved good-bye, I lost it completely.

I made my boss (I work at a jeweler's) buy a few John Paul medals, and although to date, we haven't sold any, I am sure we will. He thought I was nuts, and maybe I am. I also had a wonderful Ex Voto created in Mexico to mark the event. This is what it says:

"Estamos muy agradecios por el milagro de que una muchacha judia y un joven
protestante del Norte de Irlanda hayan tenido un feliz matrimonio durante23 años cuando entraron a la Iglesia Catolica bajo el liderazgo del Papa JuanPablo II el Grande. Pedimos su intercesion y el de todos los Santoa para tenermuchos años mas de matrimonio"

Which translates ( roughly) as:

"We are very grateful for the miracle that a Jewish girl, and a protestant boy from Northern Ireland were happily married for 23 years, when they entered the Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope John Paul the Great. We ask his intercession and that of all the Saints to have many more years of marriage."