Tag Archives: Confirmation

Coronavirus, nostalgia, Confirmation


It’s not because I’ve had any spare time during this Coronavirus event that I’m indulging for a moment in nostalgia. This morning, for the third time since I’ve done up the 2,500 mile trip less than a week ago in something like 56 hours, I will be putting on another 200-250 miles, starting today about 6:00 AM. Besides the travel, I’ve been grocery shopping for some of our elderly parishioners who are health compromised, it not being a good idea that they go out in public. No matter where you are, there are elderly people who are alone and health compromised who shouldn’t be out do up some shopping. Can you do it for them? Meanwhile, I’ve been providing the sacraments for those who ask. I’m going to drop from exhaustion, but there are so many things to do. I have to get back in the office for a few minutes. Maybe when I get back later today. However, it may well be that my 200-250 miles today will turn into more than 550 miles round trip.

Anyway, back to nostalgia. I received this, my so-called “Confirmation stole” the other day, from my Confirmation sponsor, who’s putting on some years. It’s made of felt. I made it – sigh – and felt foolish in wearing it as commanded and yet proud of what I had put together. We each had to make our own.

Those were different times. It was in the early 1970s that I received the Sacrament of Confirmation. I was in one of most liberal parishes in the world at the time. How’s that, you ask? The “liturgical movement” was not only developed in my parish by Virgil Michael, OSB, and his side-kick Paul Marx, OSB (of later HLI fame) – there being lots of German connections there (my parish through the Rhine flows into the Tiber and all that) – but also we were one of the four parishes allowed by the Holy See to “experiment” with the Liturgy for many previous decades.

In my Confirmation classes we were instructed that we had to come up with a patron saint. As we kids sat on the floor in a circle – on thick shag carpet – in one of the seminary offices, each youngster reciting in turn the saint’s name they would like to propose, I was, of course, thinking outside the box. I was next. “I’d like to do something different,” I proclaimed, sizing up our hippie-like teacher, gauging how I might get what I want… “I want to have the name John but for two saints, Saint John the Baptist, which is our parish patron saint, and Saint John the Evangelist, because I’m making artistic representations of the scenes of the Apocalypse. I really feel close to both, like they’ve adopted me.” I mean, I was just a little kid, right? That teacher accepted my proposal. Hah!

I know, I know: it’s not right that the priesthood of Christ’s faithful is to be represented by wearing a stole that is to be worn only by priests with sacramental ordination to Jesus’ own priesthood. I apologize. I thought it was weird. Not right. That we kids were being used for some sort of perverted ecclesiology. But what did I know, thought I, and so I went along with it. We were told we had to each make our own “Confirmation stole”, say, out of felt. I procrastinated until just before the Confirmation.

It represents that which I consider (from my perspective, of course) to be a rather deep insight by a little kid, namely, two nostalgic remembrances of the two creations, the two generations of the heavens and the earth in the creation of man and then in the redemption and sanctification of man first noted in Genesis. The Holy Spirit was hovering over the face of the waters, sending rain, creating man, making things grow, and the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to sanctify man, providing His seven-fold gifts, making us part of the Communion of Saints by way of grace that will later turn to glory in heaven (as we hope!) by way of the saving Cross of Christ Jesus.

Pope Benedict XVI speaks of these remembrances by way of conscience, so that to even begin to appreciate the beauty of the pristine first creation before the fall, and this from the distance of suffering the effects of original sin, we must first remember the second creation, as Christ Jesus commanded: When you do this, do this in remembrance of me. It is from the second that we go back to the first, but then much beyond the first. We are made to be one with God in a way that we never could have been in the pristine first creation. And more than this, when we are in heaven, where the second creation entirely flourishes, this is where the effects of original suffer that we suffer in this world will fall away. And all will be in All, as the Apostle Paul says.

I’ll see if I can update this later with some comments about Confirmation as a Sacrament, but right now, I have to jump in the car…



Filed under Coronavirus

My friend: Neoscona crucifera spider, making friends of your enemies


  • neo = new or newly
  • scona = beautiful // derived from badly pronounced German – perhaps referring to a more interesting color scheme as the spider grows. The red and red are striking.
  • cucifera = cross bearing // some patterns up top are very clearly cruciform

This guy is fairly big as spiders go. He can bite, hard, but there’s nothing that can hurt you. He’s great to have around natural insect control. I love it.

Typical of these orb-weavers, he’s been hanging around the doors of the church and at the end of the social hall of the parish in this late Summer, early Autumn time of year. The strands of the webs will cover doorways or stretch between buildings. Some might be temporarily surprised, but they get over it right away, and find it rather humorous.

Holy Spirit Saint Peter Window

Last night was no exception. Our bishop graciously made the four-hour trip from Charlotte to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation Wednesday evening. We had fourteen confirmands:

  • 11 from Holy Redeemer in Andrews
  • 1 from our Prince of Peace mission in Robbinsville
  • 2 from Immaculate Heart of Mary mission in Hayesville (of St William, Murphy)

Our next class (every two years) should be quite large as well. The Deacon from Maggie Valley Living Waters Retreat Center assisted, as did his son, who is the pastor of the next parish over, both good friends. It was the most packed we have ever had the church. The city of Andrews must have wondered what was happening, as all three parking lots were overflowing far unto the neighbors lawn. Ooops. Sorry about that!

Earlier in the day, in protective mode on behalf of the spider, I grabbed a stick and had him crawl onto it, and placed him up the steep ridge next to the campus. I’ve done this before and it’s taken him a day to get back. But, learning the ropes, he was back within hours and made a grand appearance at the reception after the Confirmation Mass.

The bishop and I ended up having a seat for a bite to eat outside the social hall at the end of the tables at the end of the carport, just where our spider friend dropped down on a bit of silk thread right in front of our faces. Haha! I swept my hand above the spider so as to drag the thread to the side. The spidey, not to be outdone, simply dropped into the food of one of the confirmands, which I immediately flicked off. Our confirmand said that spidey was crawling on me. I brushed him away, for the sake of those at table.

That didn’t work. Throughout the rest of the meal until the bishop was in his car, the spider kept returning to me. He was on a leg, on a hand, on my neck, on my head. Brushed away again and again. Back again and again. Quite the triumphalistic spider if you ask me. He was reeling himself in with his silk thread. I tried to ignore him as I was speaking with the bishop. To no avail. This went on for a good twenty to thirty minutes. The spider knows I don’t want to hurt him. The bishop was most amused. :-)

You have heard that it was said, keep your friends close to you and your enemies even closer. I say, made friends of your would-be supposed enemies. Our Lord did that with us, right?


Filed under Nature, Spiritual life