A particular request for a baptism some years ago: “Could we have the bairn done?”
(so tempting to answer “rare or medium?”)
“Are you a member of the Church?”
A look of pitying amusement.
“Well I’d like you to become a member, before we go ahead”
(on one occasion – not this one – “but the invitations have been sent out and the hotel booked”)
“I’d like you to become a member of the Church”
“What? You mean like going to services on a Sunday? I didn’t know that you had to do that! I thought you just put water on his heid and that was it”
“No, there’s a bit more to it than that” then tried to explain what the “bit more” was.
“So you put the water on the bairn’s heid?”
“And that makes him a Catholic”…………
Thinking about the word “Catholic”….
This sometimes causes problems.
After a Baptism, it is usual to say something along the lines of “We have done as Christ commanded and now (child’s name) is received into membership of the One,Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church….. and so on”
So often, when the word “Catholic” is uttered, the father of the child – and it’s usually the Dad, many of whom one feels are somewhat reluctant to be there – will suddenly waken up and look in horrific disbelief at his better half, as if to say “You’ve brought us to the wrong place!”
(some ministers now use the word “Universal” but a late minister (one of my preprocessors used to pronounce it cathOLIC).
“The wrong place” – the Church is often perceived as being “the wrong place” for some people, many of whom now have their wedding services in hotels.
One occasion comes to mind…..
Bride-to-be: ” Would you be willing to conduct a wedding in a local hotel, because, you see, we’re not really religious”
I suppose I should have asked, “Then why do you want a Minister?” but didn’t.
“What kind of ceremony would it be?”
“Much the same as in a church – Scripture Readings, Prayers, hymns, vows taken in the Sight of God”
“Oh, I don’t want hymns, and no prayers, though I don’t mind God being mentioned…”
“Well, that’s good of you. I’m sure He’ll be delighted …. but, you know, from what you’ve told me, do you you not think it would be better to have your ceremony at the Registrar’s Office?”
the punch line…….. “But the Registry Office doesn’t have an aisle for me to walk down!”