There’s a sight that’s not seen too often, but my reason was valid. My good friend Michael passed away a few years ago, and left a wife, a daughter and two sons. If there was an upside to that, it was that he left them in good shape to deal with the future. Due to his wife (Del) having lived in the U.S. of A. for a time and holding a green card, (They’re not really green) and all three kids holding U.S. Passports and citizenship to aid them. He also left two pensions and a free and clear house and land here in the Philippines, plus a few cars. He provided for his family and I respected him for that.
His daughter Mary had come to me when she was 18, and asked about joining the U.S. Army, I gave her the pros and con’s and she decided that’s what she wanted to do. Soon after her two brothers Scotty and Frances followed and went Army and Navy respectively.
Mary falls in love and marries a guy from California that she met in the Army and they now live in Texas. And have two kids a boy and then a girl. Scotty and Francis, Mike’s sons are also doing well in the service and all that is left is Del here in the Philippines by herself. You guessed it, off to Texas to live with Mary and help with her grandchildren, because that’s what mothers do.
Okay, that’s the back ground, now here’s why I was in church. David, Mary’s husband is on his way to Afghanistan on a year’s contract. (BTW Both Mary and David finished their Army time) Del and Mary have come home to the Philippines to live while David is gone. Mary wants to expose her kids to Philippine culture and also to meet all the relatives here. Hey, why in all that’s holy, is Paul in church?
Baptismal for Gabriel and Lillian of course, and Mayang and I have been honored to be God Parents of Mary and David’s children. Wow, I’m betting you never thought I’d get to that!
Sunday morning June 5th at 07:30 in the morning I’m on the way to Saint Joseph’s church (It has nothing to do with the aspirins of the same name.) in Olongapo City to be registered as qualified God Parents, I have no idea what that means but then I seldom do.
During the registration phase the Priest asked me a series of questions;
Are you a Catholic?
I responded in the affirmative as that is how I started out, and I had never converted to another religion.
What proof do you have?
That got me to thinking, how do you prove that? I smiled at the Priest and told him; “This is where your faith must come into play, Father!”
That was it for the questioning period of the day. I could have spoken some Latin to him, but all that would prove was that in a past life, I might have been a Centurion. “Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum Europae vincendarum.” Or “Sometimes I get this urge to conquer large parts of Europe.” If he had friended me on Face Book, he would have already know this!
So now I’m qualified to be a God Father, maybe they should have a harder test before anyone becomes a parent, or at the very least issue an Instruction Manual with every baby.
Now for the Baptismal Ceremony: I arrived at Saint Joseph’s church in Olongapo City at 08:00 as instructed. Proceed to wait as per normal. Watch three cars back in to the basket ball hoop stand in the middle of the church parking lot. The pillar survived, not so much the rear of three cars. But it did pass the time. O9::00 hours, the people who told me to be there at 08:00 hours show up.
Remembering an old Navy term, “Hurry up and wait!” I settled in to do just that, or hang around smartly as I learned to do so well here. If I’d pulled into the parking lot at 11:00 hours I would have been early.
I’m sitting in the pew, with my God Daughter Lilly (18 months) asleep in my arms and I was thinking how wonderful babies smell. Then a young man comes in at 11:15 and goes to the microphone and starts informing us as to how this will all take place. The problem we all had with that, is you should never try to talk through a PA system in a large cavernous church. I’ll assume that we have all seen a Peanut’s Cartoon at one time in our life? Remember the sound all adults made when speaking, it sounded just like that except at decibel level 95. So it mattered not if anyone spoke or understood Tagalog, as no one understood him.
The priest arrived, and for some reason, everything now went smoothly, I can’t explain why it did, but it did. I carried a sleeping Lilly to the alter, to receive her blessing and anointment with, water and oil. She was still sound asleep, the priest whispered to me; “Why can’t it always be like this?” and we had a smile over that.
It felt good to be part of Lilly and Gab’s day, I wish for her/him a long and event filled happy life. I know that from both sides of their parents they have a strong support system to see them through life, with love and anything they’ll ever want for or need. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I was sure proud!
One week later, they all left to go back to Texas, stating it was just too hot here, I guess their having a cold snap in Texas this summer?