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Some weeks ago, my friend Debbie and I were looking for cross images. She had a specific goal in mind: she and her daughters were making a processional canopy for Father to use at Corpus Christi, and she wanted the image of a Greek Cross to trace onto the fabric, so that the girls could embroider it.

Debbie doesn’t like the internet much. At their house, using the internet involves not only tying up the phone line, but actually unplugging the phone for what turns out to be hours, because the connection’s so slow.

So one rainy Thursday after Mass, she and her children decamped to my house, and while all people under the age of . . . let’s say 29 . . . rampaged up and down the stairs and played hide-and-go-seek in the kitchen cabinets, she and I parked ourselves here at my computer and went cross-clip-art-hunting.

Didn’t take us all that long to find a Greek cross. Our search, however, gave us a healthy appreciation for the trials faced by church secretaries looking for clip-art images to put on the Sunday bulletin week after week.

I mean, look at these things. I can understand getting bored with the same-old-same-old at the top of the church newsletter, but dang.

First of all, the Cross is not God’s daisy chain.

Neither is it part of a set of bistro furniture.

Nor again is it a rally flag to be waved at the local stock-car races (though nobody seems to have a problem with the St. George’s Cross being waved all over the place and draped from balconies and wrapped around staggering drunkards when England’s in the World Cup Finals).

And then there’s the “Unique Cross,” as if that were not a redundancy.

The “Cows May Safely Graze” cross particularly fascinated us. What’s going on here, theologically speaking? We were tempted to say, “Nothing,” but somehow that never seems to be the case. It’s always something.

You might like to see how this processional canopy turned out. It replaces an old one, also made by Debbie and her girls, which Debbie always refers to as “The Big Top.” I never saw that one, but apparently it had stripes.

During the Corpus Christi procession, the servers carrying the canopy never managed to stretch it out fully enough to show the beautiful embroidery, done largely by Annie, age 13, and Maryn, age 11. We didn’t get a shot of the Greek Crosses decorating the corners, either, though you can see the rather impressive Alpha-Omega in one of these pictures, I think.

The red sashes the servers are wearing denote membership in the Holy Crusaders, a boys’ eucharistic-adoration society begun by Debbie’s two sons several years ago, when they were middle-schoolers. My own middle-school-aged son was inducted into this group back in the spring, in a ceremony devised by Father, involving a sword, a brown scapular, and a long series of vows.

Lest you think, by the way, that a group of boys who would devote themselves to eucharistic adoration might be the sort of little ticks who would win Scripture-knowledge prizes — to paraphrase Gussie Fink-Nottle — let me just add that I spent Sunday evening watching a whole clutch of them blow up plastic army men with firecrackers, over and over and over, in the woods behind a friend’s house, which isn’t a non sequitur.

I do think, however, that I’ve wandered farther afield from the subject of the Cross than I had meant to, and there are people here who want me to pour out cereal for them, so I believe I shall desist.

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