Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Baptism of Owen Lanteigne

This past Sunday Krista and I became Godparents to Owen Pierre Edward Lanteigne. We flew on Thursday morning to Abbotsford, BC and soaked in the lush verdant green of the Fraser Valley as we landed. We stayed with Mom and Dad out in Chilliwack, who live just around the corner from Owen's parents - our awesome friends Gabe and Amy. It was a great honour when he and Amy asked us both to serve as Godparents to their first son.

The weekend turned out to be a great rest for us from our usual routines here in Edmonton. Krista has just finished her clinical placement, and I've recently started my new job, so it was nice to get a little break before the summer. Krista started her new summer job at the Royal Alex. Hospital yesterday! We spent some time with my brother Jeff and Catherine and the kids on Saturday morning after breakfast with our incredible friend Ryan Wugalter, and were able to attend Vespers on Saturday night at Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Church in Langley, where the next morning Owen was baptized and chrismated (anointed with holy chrism - a special holy oil made by the Bishops each year with fragrant spices). I held him during most of these prayers. After the actual baptism, Krista held Owen as we processed with Fr. Lawrence around the font three times.

After church, Kurt and Victoria hosted a BBQ at their place. I drove back to Chilliwack with Kim and Gabe Friesen (Krista went with Amy and Ryan's girlfriend Katie), and there we had a good ole' party, and then Krista and I headed off for our flight home. Soaring over the sea of jagged mountains, I watched Fox News Sunday and the latest whirl of news from Washington, DC swam by me.

This poem seems fitting. The beginning of a new life, an old poet reflecting on newness in ripe old age (Thanks Victoria for this).

Late Ripeness

Not soon, as late as the approach of my ninetieth year,
I felt a door opening in me and I entered
the clarity of early morning.

One after another my former lives were departing,
like ships, together with their sorrow.

And the countries, cities, gardens, the bays of seas
assigned to my brush came closer,
ready now to be described better than they were before.

I was not separated from people,
grief and pity joined us.
We forget - I kept saying - that we are all children of the King.

For where we come from there is no division
into Yes and No, into is, was, and will be.

We were miserable, we used no more than a hundredth part
of the gift we received for our long journey.

Moments from yesterday and from centuries ago -
a sword blow, the painting of eyelashes before a mirror
of polished metal, a lethal musket shot, a caravel
staving its hull against a reef - they dwell in us,
waiting for a fulfillment.

I knew, always, that I would be a worker in the vineyard,
as are all men and women living at the same time,
whether they are aware of it or not.

- Czeslaw Milosz

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Blogger Mimi said...

Many Years! He's beautiful and it sounds like you had a great time!

9:54 AM  
Blogger Mira-cle said...

This is great, thank you for the post. I love Czeslaw Milosz' poetry!

9:52 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

Many years!

4:43 AM  
Blogger The Ochlophobist said...

I am also an Owen, and also Orthodox. Out of curiosity, is the boy's patron St. Owen of Wales? I would love to find out that there was another. There is a St. Owen from France as well, which might be a more likely candidate considering the surname. No matter which St. Owen, the world is enriched with more Orthodox Owens.
Many Years!!

4:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Cheers, Ochlophobist. Fear not this crowd; they're a friendly, intelligent lot. Young Owen's patron is his third name, St. Edward the King and Confessor-Martyr, as I don't think his folks know of St. Owen... and neither did I. Thank you, by way of your curiosity, for the insight. Let's raise a glass to all the Orthodox Owens!

10:49 PM  
Blogger The Ochlophobist said...

I have never been one to shy away from the raising of a glass!

St. Edward is an excellent patron.


The above Catholic site mentions four St. Owens:
1 Welsh (6th Century)
2 English (both 7th Century)
1 French (7th Century)

My patron is Owen of Aberdaron, in Wales, which is the land of my maternal ancestry. Owen is my middle name, the one my family and friends call me by, and I am in a line of Owens (first or middle named) via my maternal grandfather that goes back at least 8 generations. My grandfather had no sons, and I was his first grandson, hence the name. This is probably much more information than you wished for.

I loved your post, the photo, and I am well-pleased to learn of an Orthodox Owen.

8:17 AM  
Blogger Matthew Francis said...

Wales is beautiful, eh Owen? I had some friends that lived in Llay, and spent some time there when lived in Manchester. Thanks for the link... I look forward to finding out more about these great British (and Gallic) saints.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Simply Victoria said...

it was so wonderful to see you and Krista again!
I only hope we can make the drive out there soon.
greg and ana are now in calgary.
so many albertan loved ones!

11:23 PM  
Blogger The Ochlophobist said...


Quite Beautiful. We haven't been since 2000. I have a daughter named Winifred whom we hope to take to Holywell to see the shrine of her patron within the next few years. I know the Black Mountains region best, though I have been through Snowdonia and spent a little time in the north. Our next trip we want to see most of the coastline and visit some of these places:

Atgyfododd Crist!

4:10 AM  
Blogger Ryan said...

It's cool to see that the Godfather of my cousin's son has a blog of his own! I enjoyed attending Owen's baptism in Langley.

It sounds like you have an interesting job at the Municipal Heritage Partnership Program. Amy and my Warawa ancestors settled in Smoky Lake, Alberta when they moved over from Brody, Ukraine in the 1890's. There's a couple of beautiful historical Orthodox churches in Smoky Lake.

4:53 PM  

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