Alma tried to wrestle Sangjay out of my arms, an undignified tussle ensued until I was reminded in an urgent hiss that church etiquette dictates that the godmother, not the mother, holds the child during the service. Father Moran carried on valiantly as I yielded my little treasure. Sangjay gazed typically phlegmatic throughout, the assembled friends politely pretending not to notice.
My mother professed to be shocked that our babies, Sangjay then his little brother Rinchen a couple of years later, had been baptized “by a Catholic priest, darling!”, though I don’t think she really minded. She approved that both sons had also been blessed and named by the Tibetan family Rinpoche in Swayambhunath, careful to protect our katas, offerings and babies from the monkeys, and covering all spiritual options. And like me, she greatly admired the gentle legacy of the Jesuits in Nepal, holding special respect for their leader, Father Moran.
The Society of Jesus fathers were an integral part of early expatriate life in Kathmandu, bringing gravitas to Christian community landmarks such as baptisms, confirmations, marriages and burials, as well as being great fun at the after-party. Many of them were American and most took Nepali nationality, instilling their special brand of universal spirituality and essence of educational excellence without ever forcing their faith. Father Moran set the tone with his ham radio call sign, 9N1MM Mickey Mouse.