Monday, April 30, 2012

The curious incident of the pissed off priest

Sunday mornings. Church. These are supposed to be calm and peaceful, a sort of zen-centering exercise while your child eats donuts and learns about Jesus in Sunday School.  (What about Jesus? I don't know, but I hear he's a pretty neat guy. 8 months of this you guys and this was her big takeaway. Ahem.) Who knew that the very act of sitting in a pew could trigger such a rage in your spiritual leader? It was either that or his favorite vestments were at the cleaners; really hard to say.

Since we are still in the Easter season (which I believe runs through Pentecost at which point we revert back to Ordinary Time - cut me some slack; it's been a while) the Mass starts with the priest blessing the congregation with holy water using what looks to be a whisk.  Or a feather duster.  A light sprinkling, some signs of the cross and voila! Holy Spirits-R-Us.  Except yesterday when Father Hobbit wielded the Holy Featherduster with a grimness I've only seen in Lord of the Rings, those closest to his righteous rage received more along the lines of what we like to call 'a shower' because holy dripping feathers Batman.  I of course was sitting next to a friend and when the first deluge hit, we looked at each other with wide eyes, mouthing 'WTF'? (It's okay, we got a pass; it's like instant dispensation.) (I kid.) Father Hobbit stalked around the church blessing everyone with extreme prejudice before finally finding his center (or running out of water) and the service started.

He's one of those speakers who styles himself after the dearly departed Billy Mays: very loud and twice as excited.  I don't have to struggle to hear him as I do with the others who read from prepared notes in a very soft monotone so we take what we can get.  At the very least, there was no danger of dozing off so one less penance to do.  I'm all about looking on the bright side of life.

Mass was moving along, peace, goodwill and fellowship were flowing like a river until my friend abandoned me and the Holy Featherdustershowerhead was thrown into veritable insignificance by Father Hobbit ascending the pulpit and shouting in essence 'YOU PEOPLE ARE DOING COMMUNION WRONG!' followed closely by 'AND YOU NEVER, EVER, EVER GRAB THE HOST OUT OF MY HAND! THAT IS BAD, THAT IS WRONG, THAT IS DISRESPECTFUL AND I SHALL SMOTE YOU WITH MY RIGHTEOUS FURY.' (Yes, I'm paraphrasing a "bit" but the sentiment was there.) With us properly cowed, he strode back to his seat, turned around and said, "Everyone have a good week" the context clearly being 'I'm glad that we had this little talk'. 

We left, a bit stunned having been roundly chastised by an indignant hobbit over...something.  I assume that getting it out of his system made him feel better; I didn't stick around to find out.

Next week Father Mulcahy-Shatner is on the pulpit so we are guaranteed the dramatic interpretation of the Mass.  At least he won't yell at us. I hope.

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