Friday, August 14, 2015

The Godmother's Cheat Sheet

Melinda Palacio

            On Tuesday, I attended a class at Catholic Church for godparents and parents who want to baptize a child. It's been decades since my last confession and just as long since I last went to church with my mother. My mother is the reason I stopped attending church. When she was on her death bed at St. Francis hospital in Bellflower, her favorite priest refused to take time out of his schedule to see her. He cited all kinds of excuses for his lack of time. He was even too busy to perform her funeral or maybe I was too upset to ask him to do it. The details surrounding my mother's death remain fuzzy and incoherent.

            Due to a phone call asking if I would be available to be an adorable baby boy's godmother, I was able to put aside my differences with priest, church, and religion aside for the sake of being the spiritual guide to baby Marley. I was given enough notice to sign up and pay for the godmother class.  Deacon Dan was very amiable and he said that he did not think it was right for the church to charge for sacraments such as baptism, quinceñeras, and marriage. He also enumerated a few other church rules he disagreed with and mentioned that he had too much cloud clout for anyone to get rid of him. I enjoyed his feisty faith and easy going attitude.

            In the class, I fell into my usual role of teacher's pet and know-it-all. After years of not going to church, I still know all the prayers, mass responses, and can answer most questions about Catholicism. I'll share the answers with readers on La Bloga in case any of you are worried about passing the godparent class.

            Don't worry. Everyone who shows up, passes the class.

            The first answer is baptism. The priest will ask why you are there. And don't forget your towel should there be a full body immersion (apparently, sprinkling has gone out of style). The second answer is open to interpretation. Why did the parents of the child choose you? A good answer to that question is to say you are a responsible person. The third answer is Adam and Eve. The priest will ask why we have original sin and why we need baptism. Think apples, devils, snakes, a bath, and the garden of Eden. We need cleansing from Adam and Eve's taking of the forbidden fruit and Adam's eating of the apple. During this part, the teacher of the class will imply that women are tricksters. Cough loudly during this part. To all other questions, answer, I do. Do your reject Satan? I do. Do you believe in the father and the son and the holy spirit? I do, etc.

            The last thing you will have to sit through is a fashion lecture. There are three things the child needs: white clothes, a candle, and a shell for the holy baptismal water. Then there's the matter of the godparents' outfits. No hats or baseball caps in church. For the godmother, don't wear the sexy number you've been saving for a special occasions; this isn't your red carpet moment. Think matronly and humble. The church holds onto a few sweatshirts from the poor box to cover up quinceñeras or godmothers who dress inappropriately for church. I don't know why the deacon looked at me when he gave the clothing sermon. I was the good student, with all the answers no less. Maybe he thought I was the only one paying attention.


Take a Day Trip to Ojai next Sunday, August 23, 2015.

August 23 in Ojai:
The Ojai Art Center presents three Latino Poets: Angel Garcia, Melinda Palacio, and Emma Trelles, along with live music by Alas Latina (vocalist Claudia Simone and guitarist Don Cardinali), Sunday August 23 at 2pm, The Ojai Art Center 113 S. Montgomery Ojai-Literary Branch 805-816-4099.  Come for the poetry and music, stay for the food trucks.

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