Getting back to Fr. Ostrowski. . .Renee and I finished our instructions eventually. Fr. Ostrowski was a very kindly, old priest with a very rough exterior. It you didn’t know him, you’d be afraid of him. He had a deep voice and would look at you from over his eyeglasses. . .just like an old professor studying his students. I don’t know how old he was at the time. . .I just knew he must be very holy and I loved that.
I craved anything that seemed even the least bit holy. I loved it. I wanted to be holy just like them. I remember reading the lives of the saints and wanting to be just like them. The more horrible the story, the more I wanted to be like them. . .
Anyway, Fr. Ostrowski would sit behind his desk and talk with Renee and me about the Catholic faith and its doctrines. (actually as a teacher, he was pretty boring with his monotone going on and on frequently interspersed with Um’s and Uh’s) We listened politely and learned our lessons well.
It was a magical time for me because it all happened during my most favorite time of the year, fall and winter. I loved the snow and still do. It gives me a very warm and kind feeling. Almost a protective feeling. I don’t know why or where it comes from, but I still feel it to this day. It may be because someone once told me that winter and snow is the contemplative time of the year because it seems the world around you gets quieter. . .no sounds outside, no racing cars down the street, no screaming kids playing games outside. I have always loved this time of year.
Now Mom and Dad went faithfully to their instructions and each Sunday we would go to two different Masses. Renee and I would go to the early Sunday Mass and come home to watch the younger kids so mom and dad could go to the next Mass. It was so interesting, they did this every week. It was something new for us. I mean, we did go to church, but not all the time, at least not before we became Catholic. We just went to whatever church was in the area in which we lived. (Although I do believe that we went to various churches because my dad had gone to them for money for food or rent. This is something he did on a regular basis. I know because later I will have my Pastor Romig story to tell which proves my theory.)
The time came for our Baptisms. It was very exciting for all of us. We needed godmothers and godfathers. It’s funny the things you remember, but my godfather and mother were Patsy and Julius. I don’t remember their last names. I do remember though that Julius was from Hungary and was a very nice guy. They were related to one of my cousins through marriage. My parents godparents were members of the same family.
It was November 1962 and the big evening was here. We all went to St. Peter’s Church. There was Mom, Dad, Renee and myself along with Tommy. He was the baby. We were baptized that night even though Renee and I had been baptized Lutheran when I was 5 and Renee was 3. Fr. Ostrowski said he had to do it again, “just to make sure”.
Right after our baptisms came our first confessions. I can’t tell you how terrifying that prospect was. But, for the life of me as I look back, I can’t understand why. What could a 9 year old and an 11 year old kid have done to warrant this terror we felt? Well, we felt it. Renee was pretty laid back ~ I think she thought of it as just another interruption in her day. But we did it and new were official ~ well, except for our First Holy Communion. That would come in a month’s time.
We went back to the rectory after the ceremony and my parents had to sign some books. While we waited Fr. Ostrowski went to his personal cupboard and pulled out a box of the most delicious Rum candy I had ever tasted. I thought it was great. Renee thought it was even better because she became a little tipsy on the candy. But, what the heck, it was her baptism day after day! I think Fr. Ostrowski mentioned something like, uh-oh, maybe I shouldn’t have given that to the girls. Too late I thought, but it was good.
Coming next, a lunch with Fr. Ostrowski and our First Holy Communion. . .
Sandy Ozanich (c) May 2013