Sunday, March 05, 2006

40 Days of Lent - Day Five

Just When You Think You've Gotten Away...

I knew it was coming eventually, but it looks like the time has finally arrived: I have to start going to church again. I am my nephew Eric's godfather, which apart from being an honorary thing, means I have to act as his "spiritual advisor" ie. if anything happens to his parents, I'm in charge of making sure that he continues to live as a Catholic. This is a pretty easy gig, seeing as his parents are still alive. The only time it gets tricky is when any of the seven sacraments come up, and Eric will be confirmed in another year or two. This means his godfather has to be a Catholic in good standing, ie goes to church. So I have two years of going to church consistently enough to establish my Catholic credibility so that a priest will write a letter on my behalf so that I can "stand" for my nephew at the service.

Incidentally, this is the same nephew who tells everyone that his Uncle John is "really the real Devil."

I'm not kvetching about going to church again, although perhaps if I'm to be a good Catholic perhaps I should stop speaking Yiddish. There's a church across the street from me, but they don't have English masses: Lithuanian and Spanish only. A church in midtown Manhattan has Latin mass in one of their halls every Sunday, and I would certainly go just for the pleasure of hearing the language every week. I assume it would really impress my nephew's parish priest if the letter on my behalf was written in Latin. St. Cecilia's is a great church in my old neighborhood of Spanish Harlem. There's a great warm spirit and a sense of community there. I remember one time when the priest began his sermon by mentioning that it was the 20 year anniversary of the AIDS epidemic and how many people still needed help. "Would never hear a sermon begin that way in Wilkes-Barre" I thought. However, St. Cecilia's is a 45 minute subway ride away.

The last time I faced this dilemma was when my nephew was baptized. I did what any real Devil would do: I went to my local priest and lied. When he said that he didn't recognize me from the parish, I assured him that I had been going to Mass there. He wrote the letter, to which I am eternally thankful. At the time, I even promised myself I would start going to Mass there. Of course I never went back.

I suppose I could try the same thing at St. Pat's, a church so large and so famous as a tourist attraction that I could go every day and still be lost in the shuffle. However, when I was there Wednesday getting ashes, I noticed that they have security cameras around the cathedral as well has monitors so that people in the back could feel closer to the service. I just have a feeling that if I tried to convince the pastor that I attended mass there regularly, he would check the security tapes and discover I was lying.

So it looks like the path of least resistance entails just being honest and going to church. I guess I'll start shopping around in the next few weeks, hoping to find one nearby where I can make an appearance and stand out without having to actually get involved.

Oy gevalt.


Carol said...

Don't worry, John, I'm sure they only save the tapes for the past week or two, then tape over them. (I watch a lot of "Law & Order.")

Julie said...

I'm sure that if Eric knew the amount of suffering you're willing to go through on his behalf he'd be touched. Either that or he figures that if he has to go to church, then damnit, so should you! I was only joking about him telling Boris that you were Satan. So far as I know, he's only passed that information on to Father Sempa. PS do you KNOW how hard those word verification things are when you've been up all night?!!!

Iva said...

Re: your situation with Eric's Confirmation and Church, "The Lord moves in mysterious ways his wonders to perform."