My paternal grandfather was a lifelong Presbyterian. In Belfast, N. Ireland, however, his choice of a Roman Catholic bride proved highly objectionable to his family and he was shunned by them ever after.
Suffering from stomach cancer, he was reaching the end of his days. My grandmother prepared for his death in what now seems a rather extraordinary way. She went in search of the most narrow-minded Presbyterian Minister she could find.
As my grandfather was slipping away, she said to him, “Would you like me to get the Minister for you?” After replying in the affirmative, Granny called the bigot to come and visit with her husband. Afterwards, she said to him, “John, was that helpful to you?” My poor grandfather admitted that the Reverend had been of no great help. Granny pounced. “I know a lovely wee priest and he’d be happy to see you.”
The priest was ushered in and, hours before his death, my grandfather became a member of the Roman Catholic Church.
To her own dying day, Granny was fiercely proud that she’d snatched her husband from the jaws of Hell at the last possible moment!
Thank God for the passage of time, ecumenism and some sense of progress…