Miss Isabel was confirmed at Saint Mary’s Church in Dekalb, Illinois yesterday. Rumor has it I’m an Evangelical Lutheran, but that has yet to be confirmed. The last time I was in a Catholic church other than the girls’ First Communion may have been in the late 70s when my ex-roommate married one of my old girl friends. (Long story,don’t ask.) Both are full-blooded Italians and they were wed in a high mass that went for almost two hours. The reception was at the Lombardi Club, which is predominantly Italian. I never saw so many people equipped with gallon jugs of Dago Red wine (that’s what they call it, don’t yell at me). I can testify that there was so much delicious food it was almost obscene. My ex-roomie’s mother had been in this country for 50 years and could barely speak English, but every time we ate at their house she’d send enough food home to last for weeks.
Back to the confirmation:
The service was to begin at 1:00 PM. The front part of the sanctuary was reserved for confirmands and their sponsors. The rest of the pews were full by the time we got there at 12:15. The majority were Hispanic. We were fortunate enough to get chairs in the foyer. The late arrivals stood in the entrance to the church and they were backed up to the door. Some pews only had one or two people, but they were saving the entire row for late coming friends and relatives. Church is the only place you can get away with that without a fight.
David J. Malloy, the Bishop of Rockford, gave the sermon. He had to repeat much of it in Spanish, which he is fluent in. I joked to my stepdaughter that I could get us seats in the sanctuary. How? she queried. I said by walking in and yelling “Immigracion!” She told me to behave. I told her I’m going to hell anyway, so it would make no difference.
After the confirmands were inducted by His Eminence (don’t know if you address a bishop that way), they had Holy Communion for the entire congregation. The service was approaching 1 1/2 hours by then and I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Mercifully, one of the priests was in the back of the church, next to us, and was also giving the sacraments. I was thankful they added an express lane or we’d have been there until supper.
There was a young Hispanic couple in front of us, looking through the window into the main sanctuary, who had three young children, not much more than a year apart. Apparently they took the Bible’s admonition to be fruitful and multiply very seriously. When they got to the part where everyone shakes hands with their neighbor, we did so. When one young man shook my hand then flashed gang signs, that was the end of hand shaking for me.
There were members of the Knights of Columbus there, dressed in their finery with swords hanging from their belts, obviously meant to be intimidating. When they passed the offering plate, I put some money in. I’m not Catholic, but I was taking no chances. Suffering from severe sleep apnea, I put my head down on the chair in front of me,just to rest my eyes. When I looked up, a priest was walking past who must have thought, ‘What a pious man!’… unless he’d seen folks drift off during a lengthy sermon, which he probably had.
The entire class of the newly confirmed took group pictures with the bishop, then some had photos taken with him one on one. We took our family pictures when we returned to the kids’ house. There’s an excellent Chinese buffet where we all met for lupper (lunch/supper). There was a beautiful cake and Miss Isabel got some nice gifts. As my grandfather would say, she made out “like a Jew in a junkyard”… haven’t thought of that one in years.
I bought a nice beef roast about a month ago and the family is coming up for dinner next week. Any excuse to see the grandchildren works for me. Hopefully my daughter will be out of group counseling by then.
There is nothing in the world so important as family.