‘ ” ” ” ” ” ” ‘‘ ‘‘ ” ” ” ‘is for John.
Married to a cradle Catholic who was disillusioned with the church but who returned after our first daughter was born, I decided to become a Catholic.
Choosing a confirmation name is an ancient tradition of the church. Though no longer mandatory since Vatican II, the confirmands in my class were encouraged by our instructor, an elderly Irish priest not keen on change, to choose confirmation names.
Considering a confirmation name is serious business requiring reflection and research. I determined that an obvious starting point should be to learn about the saint whose day is the same as my birthday. Consulting the Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, I found St. John Nepomucen appointed to May 16. Continuing to browse Little Pictorial Lives, I checked on March 30, the date of my confirmation. St. John Climacus. Two for two. Interesting; but, no need for haste. This is a research project.
A couple of weeks before confirmation, we were at my father-in-law’s for dinner. “You still planning to be a Catholic?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Here,” he said, handing me a small box. I removed the cover. There, on a square of cotton batting, lay a Pope John XXIII medal. “Nana brought it from Rome,” he said.
Three out of three, I thought. No further research required. I was confirmed as John.
Since 1974, I’ve moved on from my need to be a Catholic. John, on the other hand, hung around to serve a more meaningful purpose in my life.
I wanted to write; but, I didn’t know what. Maybe a journal. I didn’t know how to keep a journal. Earlier attempts at journal-keeping seemed trite, mundane, uninteresting. What if I wrote the journal as a letter to someone—someone who knows me, who cares about me, who loves me unconditionally. Who could that someone be? How about John, I thought.
I began writing in 1985. Twenty-eight years later, I am still writing. John still loves to hear from me.