Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Priest Shopping

An advantage of being a Catholic in a big city with several parishes is that you're not stuck with whomever the bishop chanced to pass your way; you can shop around.  Is the padre of your parish too conservative?  Does he harp on not using birth control?  Does  he disapporve of gambling?   No problem, check out another parish. 

Actually, the biggest factors that New Orleanians use in determining which mass to attend are time of Mass, length of Mass, and possible ethnic loyalties.  Let's face it, while going to a 6 A.M. Sunday Mass might be a sign of piety, it comes at too big a price!  Most are content with having a little Infant of Prague statuette on their dresser. 

And with regard to the length of the Mass, a good priest does it all, from entry to when the fat lady sings, in a half hour.  Now if you're going to 12 Noon Mass, and there's a 1 P.M. kickoff of the Saints game, you don't want Father Logorrhea to run over!

As for ethnicity, some have a desire to hear the mass in the language of the old country, and participate in contacts within one's ethnic group.  And, let's be frank, sone simply want to get away from folk Masses or some of the modern insipid hymns!

Once The Prophetess was taken to task by her nominal parish priest for going to another church.  She replied that Father Donnelley gave good tips on picking the nags at the races through his selection of hymn numbers.  He saw her as possible competition because of her unusual devotions.  And Crazy Chester, he insisted on a saxophone accompaniment on some hymns -- The same priest was too old school, so he moseyed over to Fr. Wilson's parish, where that trumpet-playing padre held jazz masses.

The first priest was, in a way, relieved that The Prophetess and Crazy Chester went elsewhere.  Her enthusiasms and his saxophone was too, too New Orleans for him.  Once The Prophetess hasked him to bless seven statues of miscellaneous saints (one for each day of the week) and included St. Expedité among them.

"Miss . . . . St. Expedité is not a real saint!"

"Oh yes he is.  He gets the horses I've bet on to run well in the stretch."

One rather confrontational cleric objected to some baby's name selections by proud parents.  It seems that he balked at baptising one infant Scarlett because there were no Saint Scarletts.  Needless to say, the parents took their custom elsewhere, and they have a proud red-haired daughter named Scarlett who is now training to be an altar server.  Who knows: she might be especially saintly, and one day there will be a Saint Scarlett!

And, not surprisingly, there's the occasional schism that results from differences in opinion that develops during Parish Council meetings.  One rather intrusive Parish Council even wanted to mandate the skirt length of the Catholic school students.  (Well, the girls.)  A combined protest by the older girls and cash-strapped mothers swiftly ended that council initiative.  The Good Padre diplomatically did not take a side in this dispute.  After all, his job was to keep the doors continually open for the faithful!


Big Sky Heidi said...

I guess the priest in the illustration would be avoided due to creepiness.

Mike said...

I don't know if it is still like this in St. Louis but you had to go to the parish whos' boundaries you were in.

Banana Oil said...

Haven't a lot of Catholics opted out of seeing priests entirely?

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

Sleeping late on Sunday is a nice option, also. It's good, seriously, to be able toclergy shop.

Grenouille Fille said...

I hope you can find an understanding priest.

Bilbo said...

I hope I never have to go to another High Mass.

The Bastard King of England said...

Priests are comic relief.