While I Was Gone . . .

by Jimmy Akin

in Travels

ConfirmationThe recent mystery photo I did reveals that I recently took a trip, though up to now I haven’t mentioned the purpose of the trip.

The purpose was so that I could go to Arkansas for the confirmation of one of my godsons, which as you can tell is what is going on in this picture.

I am presenting my godson Colin to Bishop James Sartain of Little Rock, who is confirming him.

Colin is an smart young man who shows a lot of promise. He takes his faith seriously, he’s got some great friends, and he’s got a lot of interests, including music and video games, as well as reading. In fact, he recommended a book to me that I’m going to get and read myself.

It was a real pleasure to get together with him and his family, and I extended my trip by an extra day so I could spend more time with them. It was a really special time for me.

I was also impressed with Bishop Sartain. He’s a Tennessee boy, and before the service I went up to him to make sure I was going to pronounce his name correctly during the service (that’s something that’s important to me, the way my last name gets mangled). Turns out his is pronounced SAR-tan, though he says he’ll answer to other things.

While I was waiting to ask him the question, he was telling some folks about a hunting trip he went on with friends down in Mississippi, so that scored him points in my book.

Incidentally, I have reason to think that this photo of us may show up in the diocesan newspaper, The Arkansas Catholic, so any blog readers who get the paper might keep an eye out for it.

If you liked this post, you should join Jimmy's Secret Information Club to get more great info!

What is the Secret Information Club?I value your email privacy


hippo354 May 3, 2006 at 6:31 am

It sounds like a lovely trip. Did you drive?

Ed Peters May 3, 2006 at 6:37 am


JohnD May 3, 2006 at 8:02 am

Colin sure lucked out on a godfather! I wonder if he listens to you on Catholic Answers Live.

Edward May 3, 2006 at 8:10 am

Jimmy Akin as a godfather? Now *that’s* an offer you can’t refuse. 😉

SDG May 3, 2006 at 8:32 am

Jimmy is also the godfather of our younger son, James. :)

Jimmy Akin May 3, 2006 at 9:38 am

There’s also a third godson, which I suppose puts me in the Fred MacMurray role vis-a-vis “My Three Godsons.”

Tim J. May 3, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Nice picture, Jimmy!
I know that Colin (and his parents!) will never forget you standing with him as he was confirmed.
You are in our prayers always.

Holly May 3, 2006 at 12:36 pm

Bishop Sartain is a nice guy. I had to do a project once for a retreat and he was kind enough to help out. I love confirmation! I was able to be in the choir for ours. :)

Anonymous May 3, 2006 at 1:18 pm

How ARE you supposed to pronounce your last name, Jimmy? I want to make sure I’m saying it correctly!

Layla May 3, 2006 at 1:18 pm

Congrats to Colin!
Bishop Sartain is awesome. I received a copy of his book, Of You My Heart Has Spoken, for my Confirmation last month. It is a collection of his articles from the Arkansas Catholic, and it is pretty amazing.

Colin J. May 3, 2006 at 2:27 pm

Like Mr. John D. said i sure lucked out on a godfather and Im glad that he could come down and be my conformation sponsor.
Have a nice day!

StubbleSpark May 3, 2006 at 10:51 pm

Are you sure about this bishop? If his name is really pronounced “ZAR-tan” then I suggest keeping your distance because he is a master of camouflage and disguise working for Cobra, the enemy of GI Joe.
It would clinch it if he speaks with a British accent…

Jared Weber May 3, 2006 at 11:44 pm

… and if he hangs with a bunch of Australian biker-types with chainsaws and machine guns.
Hey, yeah. Biker-priests.

Martha May 4, 2006 at 8:26 am

We enjoyed having you and we’re glad you had a good time. Please know you are welcome always, not just for special occasions!
God bless!

Jeff May 4, 2006 at 10:15 am

Is there a way to ask gently (I guess I’m about to find out!) what your philosophy of proper attire for Mass–especially a Confirmation Mass–is?

Jimmy Akin May 4, 2006 at 11:31 am

I’m not sure whether this question carries an insinuation or whether it is meant as a theoretical inquiry, but here goes:
As you can see, I’m wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt and khaki pants.
I also have a tie on, though you can’t see it in the picture.
Admittedly, they’re a bit wrinkled after being stowed in a suitcase for a 2000-mile drive, but I’m not in the T-shirt and bluejeans I wear everyday.
What clothes someone else wears to Mass is something that one must comment on with caution.
A lot of factors affect what someone wears, including not just whether he is poor but how many suits he has that fit him when his weight has changed significantly.
What clothing is considered appropriate to what venues changes significantly with culture and subculture (the East Coast considers a far smaller range of clothing appropriate at Mass than many other parts of the country; the same goes for the workplace).
To ensure that what I wore to this Mass would be appropriate, I asked in advance what the local standard is and then did my best to meet it from my wardrobe.

Martha May 4, 2006 at 3:03 pm

Regarding dress codes for our particular confirmation Mass, in which you see our son Colin and Godfather Jimmy pictured, dress pants, shirt and tie were considered to be appropriate attire. Suit coats were strictly optional and not many teenage boys (or sponsors) wore them. It is also a bit warm for a suit coat in Arkansas already. It was beyond our budget to purchase a suit coat for Colin at a cost of $200 for one or maybe two wearings before he grew out of it, but he was handsomely attired anyway.
Girls were to have shoulders covered and hemlines at a modest length.
The mass most of the teens at our parish attend is a LifeTeen mass, with very casual attire worn by all.

Jeff May 5, 2006 at 4:17 am

It was meant as a theoretical inquiry, but with the consciousness that it might (inevitably?) be seen as loaded, or that it had by its nature to carry a sort of load, no matter how hard one tried to divest it of that.
The issue of proper attire at Mass gets brought up in many venues and argued about fiercely. We wear suit or coat and tie on Sundays, but not necessarily to daily Mass.
I think the answer about “local custom” is a convincing one and asking about it beforehand provides the clincher. I think you made the right call, all things considered.

Jeff May 5, 2006 at 4:21 am

So sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings. It stupidly didn’t occur to me that you would be reading these blog comments!
In any case, I hear arguments about what the proper attire to Mass is in many contexts. There was recently a brouhaha when the Archbishop of Atlanta seemed to some people that he didn’t care what kids wore.
The topic is complicated and intriguing and in light of the picture, I just wondered what Jimmy thought. I didn’t mean to insinuate a judgment.
God bless you and Colin and congratulations to him on his confirmation.

Martha May 5, 2006 at 3:14 pm

Jeff, don’t worry at all! You didn’t hurt my feelings a bit and I’m glad you responded…your original inquiry was well-worded, I thought. Myself, I lean more to the “remember whose house you are going to, but Jesus wants you in church regardless” rule of dress, although I respect others’ opinions. And, as Forrest Gump might say, “that’s all I have to say about that!”
Peace of Christ! :-)

Mike May 16, 2006 at 7:06 am

I’m glad to hear that Bishop Sartain is a good guy. He was named my new bishop this morning.

AmericanPapist May 16, 2006 at 12:49 pm

Indeed, I’m doing a roundup of coverage on him right now…

derek March 27, 2007 at 8:27 am

Actually he’s not a godfather to the kid that got confirmed, the correct term is “sponsor.”

derek March 27, 2007 at 8:27 am

Actually he’s not a godfather to the kid that got confirmed, the correct term is “sponsor.”

bill912 March 27, 2007 at 8:49 am

No, actually, Jimmy is the boy’s godfather, his Baptismal sponsor, as he pointed out in the sentence: “The purpose was so that I could go to Arkansas for the Confirmation of one of my godsons…”

Jacinta June 25, 2007 at 9:03 pm

Wonderful to hear a godfather taking his role seriously. I came upon your page by accident while looking for images of Confirmation. I’m a Sacramental Co-Ordinator for my parish in Sydney Australia. I will check you out again as you sound like my kind of people. Best wishes from Down Under.

Previous post:

Next post: