My cousin “Jumbo” is to be a Bishop. How funny is that? The Pope has just decreed that he would be a Bishop. The ceremony of consecration will take place soon. “Jumbo” was the name his dad my uncle used to call him affectionately because out of a brood of about ten, he was the fairly chubby child. I am of course thrilled to bits. All this is very timely for me. It comes when I have just re-found my enthusiasm for religion.
As I keep saying, interest in religion does not have to go hand in hand with God. God is somewhat ethereal, and as yet unproven by our scientists. Religion is man made and it can be very beautiful. I have vivid memories as a child at evening vespers when priests all dressed in gold hand embroidered vestments stood three each on either side of the alter singing Latin out of their books while alter boys in red and white spread incense round and round the priests and at the congregation, swirling their thuribles. I was just transformed at these ceremonies. The afternoon sun will pour long shafts through the windows and I as a child, seated cross legged on the floor near the alter would watch it all and dream. The priests sang so in harmony while the flock of nuns in black and white at the side chapel hummed in ecstasy.
That was religion for me and it is so even now. So when it was revealed that Jumbo my cousin was to be made Bishop all my warm recollections as a child returned. I can imagine Jumbo the Bishop all in crimson with a red sash, wearing a prominent ring. This is the Jumbo I once dandled on my knee half a century ago. The next time I see him I will have to genuflect and kiss his prominent Bishop’s ring!
How funny is that?