A Different View with Dave O’Connell
The little fella came to the top of the queue, facing the priest who was confirming him. Unfortunate timing meant that the choir was between songs just as he was asked what name he was taking.
“Jurgen,” he piped up. “As in Klopp?” asked the worldly-wise if taken-aback priest. “Yeah,” said yer man – and thus the German manager of Liverpool, wherever his sporting career may take him, will forever remain an integral part of this boy’s life.
It was the exceptional moment of a recent, renewed connection to the sacrament – and an insight into an occasion that has changed dramatically in the decade since it was last part of our lives.
This ceremony was in Dublin and our connection was my lovely niece and godchild, one of 30 or so class-mates from the local Gaelscoil enjoying their big day in front of family and friends.
Some things were the same; they all read and sang beautifully and looked to a boy and girl like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths.
Later the emphasis switched, as it always has done, from God to Mammon – although the financial tally for the average Confirmation boy or girl now looks like a sum that would once have paid for a fairly decent second-hand car.
But it’s what went before the Confirmation that showed the greatest change; back in the days of black and white, we faced the event with a mixture of fear and apprehension – because the teacher told you it was far from a sure thing that you’d get to make your Confirmation at all.
There was a question from the Bishop to be answered – and when the questioner was the late Dr Michael Browne, you’d dread to think how wrong things might go if you came up with the wrong answer.
The most positive result was that he’d give you a slap on the face – because that was the initiation ceremony for a Soldier of Christ.
Small boys weren’t to know that this was the slightest of tips, instead inclining to believe that it would be the equivalent of a left hook from Muhammed Ali.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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