Sunday, August 3, 2008

Some time back, I'd say close to six years ago now, my friend David was asked by his sister Mary and her husband Val if he would be the godfather to their new born daughter Isabella. David eagerly accepted this honour, before he fully understood exactly what this entailed, that is according to the Santa Barbara based Catholic priest who was going to baptize Isabella. David would be required to provide a note from his parish priest attesting to the fact that he was a good, practicing Catholic. Up until this point, we had only a casual knowledge of our parish priest through the occasional marriage or baptism we'd attended at St. Mary's in Grafton. To meet the requirements of the Santa Barbara pastor, David arranged a meeting with Father Hood (pictured above with David and Mother Hood - some say he looks a little like Elton John), at which time it was agreed that the requisite letter would be provided on the condition that David start attending mass on a regular basis. As it turned out, this was the beginning of a long and enjoyable association not only with Father Hood, but also with his Mother - yes, you guessed it - Mother Hood. Having started out as an Anglican priest, and converting to Catholicism midway through his career, Father Hood gives an engaging homily, always treating his flock to an interesting, quite often colourful account of the history of the church in the context of the life of Jesus Christ. My mother, our friend Marg, David and I have also enjoyed Father Hood's company many times over dinner and a movie. This came about after Father Hood preached about his love for culture, at which point Marg thought to invite him to join our movie club. Over the years, Father has become a good friend and a spiritual inspiration. Today was Father Hood's last day in Grafton. Last year a friend and I organized a letter writing campaign to try to convince the Bishop not to move Father Hood, given his mother's fragile health, and given our attachment to him. None-the-less, our Bishop believes its a good thing to move his priests around, so starting next Sunday, Father Hood will take over the Cobourg Parish of St. Micheal's and Father Henry will take over Grafton. Better Cobourg than Coboconc, according to Father Hood (an urbanite at heart), who was terrified of being exiled to the far reaches of the diocese. Through Father Hood we have also come to know several parishioners, most of whom are wonderful people.  There's an ever changing cast of characters in the adult choir, a hoard of altar boys and choir girls, the ladies of the CWL and the men of the Knights of Columbus. During his 12 year tenure in Grafton, Father Hood welcomed a diverse group of people to this small church for worship, and he accomplished a great deal. We will miss Father Hood and we'll miss Mother Hood, but it's comforting to know that they're only 15 minutes away in Cobourg. Adios amigos!

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