In the Byzantine churches of the East, the sacraments are called mysteries. My own baptism is thus a double mystery because, to this day, I do not know why my parents had me baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. It remains a mystery.

My mother, who was born in England, liked to think of herself as belonging to the High Church of England. In fact, the church where she worshipped, St. Cyprian’s Anglican Church, in the district of Maisonneuve in the East End of Montreal, was actually rather Low Church: the Anglican priest, who ministered there at that time, was known as Mister Ashdown, not Father Ashdown.

My father was born in Berlin of a French-speaking Belgian Catholic mother and a Danish Lutheran father, and was brought up in Brussels speaking French. Perhaps it got overlooked in the move to Belgium, but he was never baptized. Both my parents emigrated to Montreal, my mother as a young child and my father when he was about thirty-five.

Praise the Lord

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