Saturday, December 15, 2012
Matthew is now a Catholic. Neither Paul nor Susan are religious but Susan was brought up a Catholic so liked the idea of her son following in her footsteps. I also pointed out to Paul that religion can be helpful at giving direction to young people so, despite his own lack of background, Paul was quite happy to give Matthew that identity. Ken has always been basically anti-religious but even he came along to the ceremony. So Matthew had all four grandparents along to witness his introduction into the church.
Joe acted as godfather and a Filipina lady who is Susan's stepmother acted as godmother. Both were very pleased to do so. Joe became a Catholic by choice and religion was his best subject at school! Like a lot of Catholics he is pretty "lapsed" these days, however.
Matthew is only one-and-a-bit years old but he's more the size of an average two year old. Having a 6' tall mother is responsible for a lot of that. So when his godmother was holding him during the blessing, it was a bit amusing. Like almost all Filipinas she is a little lady of only about 5' tall and Matthew looked quite a lump for her to be carrying.
The church at Kedron was quite nice. It was modern without being too modern -- something that only Catholics seem to be able to carry off in their church designs. Modern Protestant churches usually look horrible to me. I like some old-fashioned dignity in a church building.
The service was conducted by a young priest from Vietnam. There is such a lack of vocations in Australia that the church is now very dependent on clergy from overseas.
Matthew didn't much like getting the chrism put on his forehead but he liked the font. He managed to get his hand in and have a bit of a splash at one point. The priest poured quite a bit of water on his head (affusion), slightly to my surprise. Most Protestants just give you a sprinkling (aspersion), I think (Baptists excepted, of course).
I gave Matthew about a dozen old boy's books as a baptismal present. Paul wants him to be a reader and the old books have plenty of good yarns in them. They are the sort of books I read as a boy.
After the service, we adjourned to Susan's father's place for a BBQ, where we got plenty of good food and had lots of chats. With Joe in town we wanted to hear from him and it was a good occasion to do so. Joe has put himself on a "Paleo" diet and it seems to suit him. There is no fat on him. He also does gym, boxing, weightlifting etc so he is in very good shape physically. Unusual for a mathematician, I think.
Someone asked me today about the difference between a Christening and a baptism. And the answer is that "Christening" is the popular term for what happens when you take your kid to get baptised. But a Christening actually includes two rites (a rite is a church ceremony): The rite of Chrismation and the rite of Baptism. Chrismation is when the kid gets the holy axle-grease spread on his forehead. So most people are not aware of it but there is a difference in meaning between the two terms.
Receiving the affusion (He got a taste of the holy water)
With parents and Godparents
A strong likeness between Matthew and his maternal grandmother