My first ordination.

Author:Doyle, Brian
Position:OPINIONS - Essay

My first date with the sweet, wild woman who eventually married me was as follows: We drove two hundred miles from Boston, at speeds exceeding the speed limit, because as usual we started late, and also because someone forgot her dress, which entailed retrieving it again at shocking rates of speed, and we screeched to a stop three hours later at a taxi stand in New York City, beneath a sign that said NO PARKING AT ANY TIME, and we sprinted, yes, sprinted, to a church, one of us making shockingly loud noises with her high heels on the pavement, and arrived breathless at the ordination at the exact moment that the subject of the ordination, my friend Tom, was sprawled facedown on the cold stone floor of the aisle of the church, as everyone in the church chanted the Litany of the Saints.

Technically we were just in time for the actual moment of ordination, the Laying on of Hands, when the bishop cups the candidate's head like a coconut and prays silently that the Holy Spirit will infuse this man with the joy of the Lord's work and the humility necessary to achieve it, with courage against duress and with unrelenting faith in the mercy of the One upon us all; but we had, to my dismay, missed a lot of the cool parts of the ordination already, parts I knew about because my friend Tom had told me about them with high glee and anticipation: the gathering of the candidates on the steps of the church, and the last hurried cigarette before becoming a priest for the rest of your life, and afterward too; the Calling of the Candidates after opening prayers, during which the bishop basically takes attendance and makes sure no man slept in late or got married the night before or bagged out altogether so as not to miss the Knicks game; the Presentation and Inquiry, during which the bishop (who, as you see, does all the work during an ordination) asks for some witness that the men before him are worthy of the rare and astounding sacrament they are about to receive; the Acceptance, during which the bishop, probably sweating a little by now, as it was a wicked hot day, says OK, we will accept these men as candidates for the priesthood, which usually gets a roar of applause from the relieved parents and family members and former girlfriends in attendance; the Promise of Obedience, during which the bishop holds hands with each candidate and looks him grimly in the eye and essentially makes it clear that while yes, an informed conscience is the final moral...

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