Canon Kathy Hannigan O’Connor and I have granddaughters Harriet and Frannie, four and going on six, living in Yorba Linda and San Diego. Amid the complexities of modern family life — these little girls have as many grandparents as Jesus had disciples – we never quite arranged their baptisms. It’s in the family DNA, at least on my side. My hardworking single mother scheduled mine in my seventh year, on April Fool’s Day, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Detroit Michigan. Kathy was baptized as a baby. At successive Christmas reunions she was on the verge of filling a salad bowl with water and handing me a prayer book.
Leave it to the gracious Rev. Canon Robert Edwards and all the people of St. Margaret of Scotland Episcopal Church in San Juan Capistrano to take care of a family in need by modeling and indeed being the Anglican mean. Halfway between the two households, they opened their doors to us Sunday for a joint baptism, which by the grace of the Holy Spirit occurred along with 11 confirmations, receptions, and reaffirmations plus yet another middle of the road blessing — of a couple married two years, Iline Jewish, Steve Episcopalian, both resolved to learn as much as they can about the other’s faith traditions.
We also celebrated the St. Margaret’s infant pantry, launched two years ago, in the midst of COVID, when church members such as John Harmes learned that neighbors, including families of military personnel at Camp Pendleton, were struggling to pay for the necessities. Each month they distribute baby formula and diapers to 250 families.
Before long, St. Margaret’s School will be back at it. Claire Frahm, longtime devoted adjutant to the head of school, was in church, as was Canon Stephen Bruce, godfather of one of our confirmands, Will Green. Under the directorship of Susan Remsberg and Diane Hawkins, the choir sounded like Canterbury. Recently arrived from St. Peter’s in Del Mar and about to take up his duties as religion and Bible-as-literature teacher is the Rev. G. Cole Gruberth, who kindly served as my chaplain. The Rev. Earl Gibson, who always looks cheerful, looked especially cheerful and rested from his recent vacation.
As for me, well. Looking in Harriet and Frannie’s eyes and saying, “You are sealed by the Holy Spirit in baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.” Just imagine. Harriet’s folks are Mark and Valerie Passarella, Harriet’s Meaghan Ellen and PJ Bovee. Thanks to all who sent photos and especially to Andy Guilford for the beautiful closeups of our girls. PJ is absent from them all because, a gigging musician, he hit the road for a 1 p.m. show right after Frannie’s holy deed was done.