Religious ceremonies: much fun. The more chanting, the better. The more long winded, the better. The more nausea-inducing incense, the better. Darned shame, therefore, that the religious ceremony I chose to attend this weekend just passed had none of them. First Communions were happening all over Ireland last weekend, and I thought it would be fun, fun, fun to drag He Who Only..., someone who isn't of the Catholic persuasion (and is therefore, and quite rightly, going straight to hell without passing Go) to one such First Communion. Happy coincidence, therefore, that my beautiful god-daughter Rosie happened to be making hers on Saturday.
And so there we found ourselves first thing in the morning. Sat squished in to a pew were myself, Dee, Rosie, Mrs Bishop, Dee's parents, Dee's Granny, Dee's Aunty and He Who Only... - that's nine people sitting on a seat designed to fit five anorexic nuns. Rosie was delighted because I think she won the official popularity contest of "I brought the most extended family with me". Myself and Mrs Bishop were sat beside each other, all the better for distracting and giggling and making inappropriate comments. (Also distracting to me was the fact that, in the rush to get dressed, I hadn't realised that the top that had looked so appropriate for the occasion in the confines of the bedroom now revealed a touch more bosom than I had previously noticed. Every time I bowed my head in reverence for the word of the Lord, the ladies were right there grinning back up at me.)
At one point during the ceremony, with apparently no prompting, Rosie turned to Mrs Bishop and asked her did she believe in God. Without a moment's hesitation, Mrs Bishop (Rosie's GOD MOTHER) replied to Rosie (AN EIGHT YEAR OLD ABOUT TO RECEIVE HER FIRST COMMUNION) that she didn't in any way believe in any God whatsoever. Now, I'm all for telling the kids the truth, introducing them to new ideas and outlooks and generally being open and honest at almost all times, but I felt perhaps this wasn't the right moment or context to have an existential conversation with a child. Not a child dressed head to toe in white, in a church, about to deliver a prayer of the faithful. So I did what any responsible atheist God Mother should do - I gave Mrs Bishop a right dig in the ribs with my elbow, and she recanted almost immediately by telling Rosie she was only joking.
That child is in serious trouble, faith wise, with us to lead her.
What with the standing up and sitting down and kneeling and the sitting altogether too closely with people you barely know, and the putting up with constant giggling and inappropriate commentary from me and Mrs Bishop, only the fictional God knows what He Who Only... made of it all. Catholicism is mystifying at the best of times, and perhaps introducing him to those glorious ways with a church full of 44 eight year olds dressed to the nines delivering the Gospel wasn't the most coherent introduction, but he got through it.
Isn't that just ridiculous? Date an Irish girl for long enough, and you'll be dragged to mass.
On another note, there will be a brief bending of the self imposed rules of this blog over the next few days, as since I've only got two weeks left in the place, I'll be blogging about work. Specifically: my replacement is starting today, and so will be shadowing me to learn about my job for the Next. Two. Weeks. My job currently consists of emailing my boyfriend and siblings and Mrs Bishop; making tea for myself; talking to Bell at great length; wandering around; doing OU essays; reading Dr Who ebooks
(I would highly recommend The Well Mannered War). I'm supposed to be making a list of responsibilities and writing guided instructions. Eek.