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From Perpetua to Felicity!

March 6, 2010

When I was Anglican Archdeacon of Italy and Malta and living in Milan, I became friends with Cardinal Martini and the clergy of his Cathedral, the wonderful Duomo of Milan.

They were very hospitable and asked me to many a grand ceremony, usually followed by a grand feast. As my Italian improved, I was able to join in their discussions more and more, till one March 6th, the Feast of Ss Perpetua & Felicity, I even told a joke in Italian. (These are usually the most difficult things to translate).

We had been discussing married clergy, and I had just discovered that the housekeepers in Italian presbyteries were often referred to as “Perpetuas” (presumably because they were perpetually around). So, greatly daring, I said that if the local priests were allowed to, they could marry their Perpetuas and turn them into Felicity’s! (“Felice” in Italian means Happy).

The joke actually worked – they all laughed – (of course we had had a few bottles of the local vino). But the Arch-Priest of the Cathedral did add wryly: Dear Don Gordon, if you saw some of the Perpetuas, you would not be nearly so optimistic”!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 4:39 am

    Good one!

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