Haven’t had much time for blogging since we held a Welcoming Ceremony for Declan this past weekend.
“What the hell is a Welcoming Ceremony?” you might be asking. And you wouldn’t be alone.
Basically, we felt that it was important to have a ritual rite of passage – a day when people gathered just to honor the birth of our son. So we enlisted the help of interfaith minister Joseph Hambor to help us design something and asked a few family members to share a little of their own wisdom.
It turned out to be a tender event, in spite of the fact that it was a million degrees and humid. Declan’s three cousins made him a welcoming sign, his dad wrote him a poem and I wrote a story about him. Joseph called in the four directions, performed the ritual of the four tastes and anointed him with a special oil to welcome him into a wider community of family and friends.
One grandma said the Hail Mary, the other shared a family story about honesty and his grandfather read one of his favorite poems.”Nature Boy” was performed by local singer Nikki Wonder and pianist Jim Maneri. We chose nine guides to help him throughout his life – and remain participants in ours – who each got a chance to hold or touch him.
Declan, of course, slept through most of it because of the heat, but he remained good natured as people kissed and held him throughout the day.
Some people seemed to feel stymied by the concept of a ceremony being “interfaith.” The fact is, Declan’s father and I are, I believe, very moral and ethical people who aren’t practicing in any particular religion but still value spirituality. Neither of us wants to impose a particular organized religion on our son as we both feel that the institutions of religions – not the faiths themselves – are the source of many of the world’s problems.
Our son will know what faiths he belongs to culturally, just by virtue of birth. But we will also expose him to many others and let him make his own decisions about how and if he wants to participate in religion.