Wednesday, March 16, 2016


                                                     Daddy Would Be Proud

     On my knees in a magnificent Catholic cathedral, my hands laced in prayer, my head bowed next to my daughter’s —-what a strange experience this was for me over 50 years after my father threatened to disown me if I married my Catholic boyfriend. It brought back to my memory attending a Catholic mass with Leo (now gone) my Italian heart-throb of 1960, who took me to his church. I knew nothing about Catholicism, and I remember sitting on the pew while everyone else was kneeling. I felt so small and out of place while he followed the then Latin mass. 

     Leo was the first of the Catholic beaux I would have. We both went away to college, and we moved on to other interests both academic and love-related. Greg, my second Catholic boyfriend came along my junior year at the University of Michigan. By this time, my father’s anti-Catholic attitude had softened a bit, but I knew that I would never win his approval. That relationship ended with me walking away from Greg to marry my summer-job sweetheart, an Episcopalian who didn’t go to church.

     How ironic that my widowed father who was devastated by the loss of my mother in 1990  should run into a Catholic friend of theirs from years previous and end up living with her a year later. That relationship lasted 20 beautiful years, and it gave my father a whole new lease on life. My father has been gone seven years now, and his widow is getting ready to celebrate her 96th birthday. Neither of them attended the Catholic church, but I ended up marrying a non-practicing Catholic, and my daughter converted to Catholicism when she married her husband almost 20 years ago.

     The Catholic church has changed somewhat since those years, and it appears to still be changing in small ways. The movie Spotlight brought up the recurring argument about priests being allowed to marry, but Pope Francis has brought much positive attention to the faith.

    As I kneeled in prayer at my grandson’s Confirmation ceremony in this splendid house of the Lord last night, the orchestra accompanying what sounded like a choir of angels, I thought to myself, “This is truly beautiful. My daughter’s family is united in love and grace. Daddy would be proud.”