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Location: St Adomnán Church, Hogsmead • Date: Sunday 12th of February, 1978
Time of Day: Midmorning • Weather: Cloudy

Since graduation Vera had been hard at work learning the intricacies of Magical Law. Other than the occasional bouts of nostalgia she hardly ever thought about her alma mater. This morning though she had woken with a yearning for simpler days. Days that did not involve learning the 1962 Statute of Secrecy and the long essay that would come with it.

As she had gotten dressed for service, the young woman had gotten an idea. Perhaps a little visit to Hogsmead's charming little parish of St Adomnán would soothe her longing. While it would not quite be a visit of the old school grounds she would at least be able to see the castle and perhaps, if lucky, a few of her old professors.

She had left her flat a little early and had apparated in Hogsmead. Smiling at the sight of the snow buried roofs and the tall castle in the background she strolled for a few minutes before she finally went to her intended destination. The church was small, but quaint, its bells were ringing to announce the imminent start of worship. She chose a seat at the back as if not to disturb the habitual parishioners.

Played By: Kay
It had been nearly five years since Rianach had first left Northern Ireland for Hogwarts. Having being raised in such a religious household only to come to a place where there was no fighting between different religions was a culture shock to the then 11-year-old boy.

Whilst it was more difficult in the earlier years to continue the habits that had been drilled into him as a young child, Rian had started making more of an effort to attend Mass of a Sunday when not studying, playing quidditch or something else that would make him too tired to attend church. Today was his first chance to get to attend mass in Hogsmeade since he started back after Christmas. If his mother knew she would certainly give him a clattering.

Upon arrival to Hogsmeade, Rian stuck his hands in his jacket pockets, his feet shuffling along the ground as he made his way to St Adomnan Church. He was early for service but often liked to say his own quiet prayers beforehand for all his friends and family back home, hoping that no one else would die in the dreaded fighting that had taken over his homeland.

When Rian arrived he sat near the back of the Church, on a seat the opposite end from a girl perhaps a few years older than him. He knelt on the pew and said a prayer for the boys back home. After he finished he blessed himself and sat back on the seat. He looked around the church, noticing it still seemed quite empty.

"Sorry," he said to the girl the other end of the bench, "You hardly have the time on you?"

Played By: Nik
Praying for her sisters and parents who were likely attending their own service, she hardly noticed the young boy who had joined her pew. Once her prayer had been punctuated by a sign of the cross she sat back on the pew. Smiling politely as the young boy spoke, she looked at her wrist "5 minutes to 11. Are you a student at Hogwarts?" She inquired immediately, clearly hoping it was the case.

The entrance would start before long, followed by the greeting of the altar. Vera found immense comfort in the ritualistic nature of her faith.

Played By: Kay
Rian smiled as the girl replied to him. There were a few minutes before things would start up.

"Yeah I'm in Hogwarts." he replied. "Are you?" he asked. He can't say he had ever seen her around but then again Rian spent quite a lot of time in the Gryffindor common room when he wasn't playing Quidditch or attending classes. He was sure there were lots of people in Hogwarts that he didn't recognise.

Played By: Nik
"I graduated in June." Still fresh in her mind though it had happened months prior, she smiled proudly. "Ravenclaw," one never stopped wearing that as a badge of honour.

Vera had gone through her schooling without finding a group of friends who shared her faith. Come to think of it she had never really interacted with other witches or wizards who practiced catholicism. Eager to discuss the topic with someone who might have similar experiences Vera intended to ask him a slew of questions, but the sound of a soaring organ interrupted her. She gave him one last polite smile and turned towards the altar. Hopefully she would be able to talk to him after the service ended.

Played By: Kay
Rian studied the girls face a little bit more as she replied to him. He furrowed his brow, trying to see if he could place her somewhere in his mind. But alas, he could not. However, her house probably explained why. Rian wasn't overly social so tended to stick to those within his year or house. Although, maybe if he could find someone to start attending mass with him then maybe he should branch out to befriending people from other houses.

Just as Rian was about to reply, the organ started and Rian gave the girl a small smile as the two went back to the opposite ends of their bench and waited for the ceremony to begin.

The ceremony was just as long as ever. But this was the only time in the week Rian took out to practice his religion so in reality, he couldn't complain. An hour of praying to god that his friends and family back home didn't die was the least he could give.

As the ceremony drew to a close, Rian put his jacket on and glanced over to the girl he spoke to earlier. He hoped to grab her before she left. It was always nice to talk to people with similar interests as yourself and for Rian that was often hard to come by in Hogwarts. As people began to file out of the Church, Rian walked up to her with a smile.

"What did you think of that?" he asked. "I really like Father Duffy, he seems...passionate."

Played By: Nik
Wrapping a long scarf around her neck, one that did not harbour the blue and bronze of Ravenclaw but rather a faint gold and black, colours reminiscent of the Ministry of Magic insignia she smiled at the younger boy. "That he is," she agreed with a slight chuckle. The little drops of spittle she had seen coming from the man's mouth during the homily had been a testament to his passion.

"It's always nice to hear acknowledgement that forgiveness is difficult," she added a little more eloquently. "My mother always said 'forgive you sister, that's what Jesus would want you to do.'" Vera shrugged impatiently at the memory. "It's not that easy. I was glad to hear Father Duffy talk about it as a process rather than like a simple spell I could flick upon myself." Vera studied her partner wondering what his thoughts were on the matter.

Played By: Kay
Rian listened to his new acquaintance as they slowly walked out of the church into the much colder, fresher spring air. He pulled on his Gryffindor hat and wrapped his Gryffindor scarf around his neck as they walked alongside one another, the older girl speaking of forgiveness. He nodded in agreement to her statement, thinking about his own family and friends at home.

"Definitely." he replied, shoving his hands into his pockets to keep them warm, "If only I could explain that to my family back home." Rian let out a small laugh before shrugging. "But forgiveness will be a long time coming with them. So I suppose I like to try and do it for them." he smiled meekly

Played By: Nik
For a second she thought of the bridges that had been burnt by those who had found forgiveness to be too strenuous. Shoulders heavy with the weight of those lost connections, her pace diminished.

"Is your family also devout? If so can I ask you how they reconciled the magical aspect and their faith?" The dichotomy had been on her mind lately. With her parents questioning her life choices and using religion to do so, she had started to question the way they lived their faith. It seemed her parents were at peace with their magical abilities and their faith even though the Catholic Church had spent a great deal of time hunting their kind. Yet they were quick to side with the church when other aspects were discussed such as divorce, abortion or sexual attraction. Vera was starting to think that hypocrisy played a part in their spirituality.

Played By: Kay
"Devout? Yes. Magical? Not so much." Rian smiled at the older girl briefly.

"My family are an extremely religious muggle family from Northern Ireland. It's a bit of an issue being that Catholic over there at the minute." he let out a small laugh. Sometimes, Rian found, you just had to laugh at these situations. You had to grin and bear it because dwelling on the sorrow that came with it for too long could really ruin you.

"For me though it's difficult. Religion is how I was raised and then I came to study at Hogwarts out of the blue and it was...a culture shock I guess you could say." He looked at the girl and shrugged.

"For me, I find it difficult to balance the two because these two worlds are so different."

Played By: Nik
"That must be hard," she sympathized though she couldn't quite relate. While she struggled with the dualistic nature of magic and religion, she at least had a family with whom she shared both spheres. Not to mention the unrest currently experienced in Ireland. "You must be worried about them," she added with a sad smile.

"They are very different worlds," she agreed. Though she had been raised in both, she shared this point of view. "What is the hardest to balance?" The conversation was so grand and the themes so broad that she attempted to make them focus on one aspect.

Played By: Kay
Rian smiled sadly at the girl. Of course he was worried about them. Every Sunday he waited for an owl from his mother and his brothers. Waited to hear news of a new death in the town or some bombing that happened just a few miles away. He waited to see if there was a name in the letter of someone he knew. A school friend, a local shopkeeper, a relative. He never knew what he was going to received and it bothered him everyday.

"Growing up with religion I was told that those who didn't believe in the same things we did were the enemy. And then I came to Hogwarts and made friends with people just like that. Protestants, English, literal witches and wizards." he let out a small laugh. "I just didn't know how to suddenly accept what was around me when it was so different." Rian shrugged.

"How do you find balancing the two? I've found most witches and wizards aren't devout Christians."

Played By: Nik
"Have you heard about the Second Vatican Council?" Vera was not a scholar or even a disciplined student of the Church's writing. Other than her bible she hardly ever studied catholic texts. The exception seemed to have been documents produced following the council. Incapable of stopping herself from giving a short lesson, the Ravenclaw explained. "Pope John XXIII essentially invited Bishops, members of the curia and others to address relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. Among other conclusions the council encouraged Catholics to pray with other Christian denominations, encouraged friendship with other non-Christian faiths, and opened the door for languages besides Latin to be used during Mass." Vera nodded to punctuate the end of her short lesson. "I'm sorry, I get a little carried away at times, I guess I just meant to say that you don't have to feel bad for making friends with people who don't have the same background as you."

She fiddled with he scarf. How did she balance the two? "I often struggle," she admitted. "Sometimes I think I have it all figured out and I feel comfortable with both aspects, but then I read a verse or hear something and I'm back to doubting. Ultimately, my goal is to be a good person and I don't think living in the magical world hinders that." She looked at him, studying his reaction.

Played By: Kay
Rian had heard of the Second Vatican Council. They had learned briefly about it in primary school during their religion classes although not in as much depth as the older girl had gone into. He smiled as she gave him a brief history lesson. "Spoken like a true Ravenclaw." Rian replied with a small laugh. "No need to apologise. And I suppose you're right. Although, it's less God I fear judging me for my friendships and more my family."

"True." Rian paused for a moment, looking around at the Church grounds that surrounded them. "I suppose if we were all just good people then this whole religion thing wouldn't even matter. We could all get on with our own beliefs and be done with all the fighting."

Played By: Nik
"I understand that," she related softly. Just like him it was her family's judgement she feared more than her God's. At times it seemed her parents had taken it on themselves to bring upon His judgement. "It's sad really, they should be the ones who understand us best." She looked down at her feet.

It was hard for her to assess who was good and who was bad. So many wars had been waged because of religious belief, it was hard to think of everyone involved as bad. "It's all very complex," she said knowing the statement was not satisfying.

Slowing at first, she eventually came to a halt. "I don't think, I have told you my name. I am Vera," she extended her hand towards him. How funny that they had spoken about such personal matters without introducing themselves.

Played By: Kay