As we both walked late into church Sunday morning, my neighbor told me about her daughter's upcoming confirmation. I took the opportunity to attend this evening; Msgr. Tofani presided. The church was nearly full with candidates, sponsors and guests but I found a seat by myself in the back. The readings, plus a responsorial psalm. I had only a New Testament with me and followed along with those texts.
Msgr. Tofani spoke at length about a kid at Anchor House in Trenton that he'd seen transformed by love before his eyes. The kid sounded very like Timmy, all except the part about living on the street. I could have listened to Msgr. Tofani's voice for hours.
And so, as he conferred the sacrament individually upon candidates, the mike picked up the dialogue, both liturgical (i.e., of the rite proper) and interpersonal (i.e., he said, "Congratulations."). His sincerity and simplicity struck me as sweetness. I struggled to find the right word to describe it and that's what came to mind: sweetness.
Last week, you see, I attended the conferring of graduate degrees and, while a seminary commencement isn't a religious rite, per se,1 many of those involved are ordained. I felt a lightness of spirit, yes, but nothing of the sweetness I observed tonight.
I am biased.
His advice to the confirmandi, as he took the altar by a corner, was to always seek out "one of these" (an altar) every Sunday for the rest of their life. Yeah.
1 We prayed a ton, read Scripture, sang hymns.