Brendon Leland Short is Christened

Brendon Short, surrounded by his parents, godparents and Fr. Jarik, immediately after his Christening on Saturday.

Brendon Short, surrounded by his parents, godparents and Fr. Jarik, immediately after his Christening on Saturday. Brendon enjoys mugging for the camera. He is quite a ham, already.

My grandson Brendon was christened on Saturday, Dec. 20, 2008, at St. Canera’s Catholic Church in Neosho, Mo. The ceremony was set for 6 p.m., so we arrived a few minutes before. Larry and I came with my mother, Charlcie Cates, and Fred Merrell, her partner since 1994. It was bitterly cold Saturday evening, but the church was packed. We sat in the very rear of the church, near the font. Brendon’s paternal grandmother, Ann Short, and his Aunt Maria and Uncle Jamie Bohannon, Uncle Steve Hatfield and cousins Derek, Shynel, Courtney, Megan, Cole and Katie were also there.
The evening service was wrapping up when we came in. We had noticed a couple of stretch limos outside the church when we arrived, and wondered if a wedding were taking place. Once inside, though, we realized that the young girl in the white dress was too young for marriage; it was a quinceañera we were witnessing, complete with eight female and eight male attendants and a photographer. A quinceañera is a girl’s 15th birthday celebration, which begins with a mass and culminates in a party and dance. From what I could see, it was very much like a wedding but without the groom.
While the birthday girl and her court were having their photos taken at the altar, we were relegated to the back of the church near the font, where the christening took place.
Brendon was dressed in a white christening suit of clothes, complete with special shoes. His mother and father held him while his godparents, uncle Ron Short and aunt Tonya Hatfield, looked on. The priest, Fr. Jaroslaw Skrzypek, is a man of about 30 years of age. He is from Poland, and has a distinctive European look and demeanor. He is also very strict.
Grandpa Larry found out how strict, when he was lectured by the Priest for chewing gum in the church and told to take it outside and dispose of it. I think the priest could have handled this differently. If he had known how few times Larry had been inside a church in the last 35 years, he might have let it go. As it stands now, Larry may wait until his last rites before he ever goes back.
Fr. Jarek (as he is called) looks like a young Elton John. He wears Christian Dior eyeglasses, very chic, and will become a good priest some day. In the meantime, I understand he is studying canon law. His surname means “violinist” in Polish. I think it is pronounced “Sha-PEK.” In the Ozarks, we would call him Jerry the Fiddler. I wonder if he knows that?
Brendon was pretty good during the ceremony. Afterwards, we went downstairs for cake and punch. The pictures are up on the gallery if you want to see the whole batch.

10 thoughts on “Brendon Leland Short is Christened

  1. Hi,
    Must admit I was a little confused to find that “no comment” meant it was possible to make a comment. Will get the hang of this soon, I hope. The Christening was lovely & if I were treated like Larry would convert to Druidism on the spot.

    Enjoyed reading about the Yule customs as well. Could you sign me up to be notified when you update? I think I saw it someplace on the blog, but it escapes me at the moment – frazzled by the holidays.

  2. Themes! I’m still playing with it all, and the theme I had chosen doesn’t allow an RSS feed. This one does. So have at it and I’m so glad someone is commenting. I wish the others would.

  3. It is so wonderful to experience a baptism and it is also a moment of great importance as a parent and godparent because the responsibility is great. You promise to raise the child as a member of that faith and teach that child what it means to be a Catholic but it also means that you have to set an example for that child to follow.
    I had a problem with the way you handled the incident about the chewing gum. Is this not considered food? Are there not fasting laws that no food or drink can be consumed one hour before? Why was not Mass a part of this great event? In your blog it indicates that maybe you are not a practicing Catholic or an infrequent one or you would have known this. Also you would have known the correct spelling of the pastor’s name especially if one reads the bulletin of ones church.
    I’m glad that you think he will be a good priest someday because obviously he is a good priest today for doing what he did about the gum. What he did is mild compared to having the nuns instruct you in Catholic school about the fasting rules.
    By the way those glasses look like the ones sold at Lenscrafters. Christian Dior glasses are for women and I don’t think he would wear those.

  4. Oooh. Did I strike a nerve? No, we are not Catholic. Our daughter is. I will let her speak for herself on how she felt about the baptism.
    My husband and I are not religious. I’m a Methodist, but haven’t been to church since I was a child. My husband is a Baptist, and ditto. One of the reasons I don’t go to church is the attitude you expressed here. My husband’s gum chewing was not a big deal. We came after mass, as instructed, as the christening happened at the back of the church.
    As for the spelling, we have it correct here. If you think I made a mistake, go here and compare:
    As for Fr. J’s eyeglasses, they don’t sell Christian Dior at Lenscrafters, but they do sell D&G frames, which are probably what Fr. Jarek’s are. I think they sell for around $179, which is about typical for frames. I wasn’t making an issue of his frames; I thought they were cool. Why? Are priests supposed to take a vow of poverty or something?.

  5. OK, I gotta say more. Bobbi was rough on us. Here’s the deal: If we had been told of the rules in advance, I would have no problem with the priest being hard on Larry about the gum, but we were not. We were having a hard time. My 89-year-old mother and my stepfather, Fred, came with us, and we had to figure out how to get Fred in the sanctuary and then how to get Fred into the basement for the party afterwards. Fred is in the latter stages of Parkinson’s Disease and needs to be more or less carried. My mother is frail. It was very cold, and we had problems finding a place to park. We didn’t know about the rules. We are a mixed religious family. I’m not at all religious, and that is OK; Larry isn’t either. Fred is a Mormon. Mom is a devout Methodist, and all the Shorts are Catholic. The priest was out of line in giving us a rough time about anything, especially as the christening was almost tacked onto the evening’s festivities. We were forced to go to the back of the sanctuary by the fount instead of the altar, because of the 15th birthday photos and etc. We were there to support our DAUGHTER, and our GRANDSON, and our SON-IN-LAW and his FAMILY, not the church. Next time I will think hard about going to anything that requires us to line up like school children at the back of the sanctuary. Oh, how I suffered through the Catholic wedding my daughter had in 2001! My daughter went to church with my mother, growing up; she fell in love with a Catholic, and converted as a teenager. Eight years later they married. She was as good a Catholic as anyone ever raised – very perfect – she only dated one man, her husband; she was amazingly good. The priest (a Noel, Mo. priest) was hardly civil to me because I was considered a heathen. I didn’t try to change his thinking then. I didn’t explain about the fact I had been a Methodist who was married in the Episcopal Church to a Catholic, and then divorced him later, and that is why I didn’t feel like talking about it. Or that when I married Larry I had been told by him that to go to heaven I had to be emersed, so I joined the Baptist Church and got emersed, but he didn’t like church so he didn’t go, and I decided I would. So I tried to get involved and went to Sunday school and took my daughter, and joined the choir, then was told that I couldn’t sing in the choir because I had been divorced and was married to a man who had been divorced.
    So I quit church. They kept sending me pay envelopes. The kicker was when I went back to church and the pastor told us how we had to vote. After that it is only weddings, funerals and the occasional christening. I have requested that at my funeral, we have no religious service, no pastor, and a cremation with no graveside service. I’m not that worried about the afterlife. If it is anything like this life, they can keep it.
    Now, what were we talking about? Chewing gum?

  6. Did u ever wonder how I stumbled on this blog. This site is on google and is accessed worldwide as well as all the private info you have shared.

    • Yes, I’m aware that my posts are public. That is what a blog is. What I’m surprised about is that you, who don’t know us, would be so judgmental. You aren’t doing your cause much good, because most reasonable people find your intractability to be provincial and unwarranted. But I must say, you have shed some interesting light on why the priests I have dealt with have been so difficult. The Catholic Church must be a very inflexible institution. All the better for me to stay away. I don’t have a thing to be ashamed of, as I never pretended to be a religious icon.
      My daughter, on the other hand, is considering changing churches.

  7. Interesting take on the whole situation. It amazes me that people are so willing to ascribe bad intent to a priest, or any other authority figure for that matter, when things don’t go their way.
    In the Catholic Church we don’t celebrate “christenings” it is the Sacrament of Baptism. Baptism is the entrance into the Church and the moment when the gift of eternal life is given. A Sacrament is an encounter with Christ and gives grace. Truly this is the most important day of our lives.
    A difficult experience can be a time to learn something and to grow a bit. The Church, and her priests, are very serious about the faith. Baptism is a solemn event, and part of the liturgy of the Church. Baptism, properly, is an action of the Church.
    Really, can someone be offended when they are asked not to chew gum. Church is church, chewing gum is for outside. I suspect that the real source of your indignation is embarassment on being challenged.

  8. If it were all that serious, then why were we treated like interlopers? Go back and see how it went! In no other situation would a family be treated like this. I say the blame lies straight on the priest, who, by the way, is no longer affiliated with this parish.

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