It is my understanding that ministers in 17th century Massachusetts used to preach long sermons -- so long that church elders (or whatever their official title was) used poles to prod dozing church members during the marathon sermons. Maybe that is apocryphal, though.
Anyway, it is a legend of sorts: what is implied by it is that people have limited attention spans; even when dwelling on spiritual matters. This can be very important, especially in larger cities where church-goers can choose from several alternatives of a particular denomination.
Such is the case with Catholic churches in New Orleans: you can find them in several modes of your choosing: Irish, French, or German priest -- no problem. Do you like a Dominican or a Jesuit, or a parish priest? Do you prefer pomp and circumstance, or no? Again, you can choose, baby doll!
[I know the official line is that you are supposed to attend your parish church. But no one hardly received that memo from the Archbishop!] Anyway, matters of convenience come into play. Thus it was with the several generation of Breauxes. Is the church convenient to where you're going afterwards? And very critically: how long does the priest sermonize?
As a matter of fact, this is the key factor among many Orleanians! As a casual rule: after ten minutes, people sort of squirm More than 20 minutes, many are restive. And we're talking about regular attendees here.
This is particularly critical if the Saints are playing a Sunday afternoon game, especially on the East Coast! If you time it right, you can pick up some Popeye's chicken, a French baguette and a dessert from a bakery, and settle in for the game on time!
A dessert and coffee while watching the game? A good plan.
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