In the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy spirit.
That’s how we’d begin the Catholic confessional process. Then, there was, Bless me Father for I have sinned.
Let thee who is innocent or clear of sin cast the first stone…..or something like that. In Spokane, Washington, evidently everyone who attends church on Sunday is clear of sin, because after mass, the parish members would be casting stones immediately, both figuratively and literally. You had the National Inquirer old bags gossiping in the parking lot, and you had the children, including me, actually participating in a rock fight on the church’s property. The old men would just be smoking.
It’s great to feel free of sin. Guilt is awful. I don’t go to confession anymore, but this blog can become my sort of confessional medium. In addition to confessing some of my past sins, I’ll take the liberty to confess a few of my friends’ and brother’s sins…..without their permission of course.
Growing up in the Catholic church, one of the many sacred and ridiculous items to check off your pious list was to attend Youth Group one night a week. Depending on the year you were born, these classes would be held on either a Sunday or Monday night when you were in high school. They were preparing us for conformation…..sort of a half ass way of creating a transformation for children of God to Men and Women of God. You sat in these two to three hour sessions amongst students throughout the Spokane Valley, also parishioners, led by some poor soul searching man or woman preach to us about Heaven and Hell. Let’s just say it wasn’t on the 17 or 18 year olds’ wish list of things to do on a Sunday or Monday night.
I blame my brothers for many of my abominable sins. Their Youth Group sessions were on Monday nights. So, when I was home watching Monday Night Football with our father, my two older brothers would leave the house heading toward St. John’s for their weekly 6 o’clock pain dispenser. I’d smile wryly as they’d leave the house. They’d do it by way of the nearest pizza parlor providing the game on television. Not only did they skip the meetings, one of my brothers, a senior in high school, had a fake identification card so he could buy the pitchers of beer. (he is now a reverend, compliments of the Internet) It didn’t take me long to figure out why they were so happy and a little wobbly when they’d return. I was old enough to figure it out. I was also smart enough not to rat them out for fear of a severe beating. You didn’t have to sign in to these meetings, and the twenty something teacher never called our home to ask where they were, probably afraid of the same thing I was afraid of. I think my wise mother figured it out and didn’t care. Dad would be in bed when they’d return so there was no time for questions. We already knew how to recite the Our Father, Hail Mary, The Apostle’s Creed and dozens of other written statements pounded into our head once a week at church. If there were questions, my brothers would open a bible and pick any book according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John and quickly discern something they hadn’t discussed in a class they didn’t attend. It was one of their favorite nights of the week. Now I have to repent for confessing someone else’s sins. I just recited ten Hail Marys. That should be good enough to move on to the following paragraph disclosing one of my own.
By the time I was a senior, after attending the classes religiously as a Junior, I thought that was enough. My brother, the future reverend, was now living in an apartment on the Spokane River. This became my fortress of irreverent solitude on Sunday nights. Although Greg, (oops, I said his name) worked weekends, I had befriended his roommate (an agnostic) who was old enough to buy adult beverages. Instead of going to Youth Group, which became Youth Puke to us, I’d head to their place to drink beer and watch The Simpsons. It was delightful. I swear I learned more from The Simpsons than anything I’d learn at Youth Group.
It was there I’d eventually receive my certificate of confirmation. Never getting bed wetting drunk, just a few beers, I’d leave reciting a semi genuine act of contrition and, by grace of God, return home safely.
In the name of The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,