Tuesday, December 09, 2008

About Catholic Ritual

Some of you have seen those Solemn High Masses here and there. Smells & Bells, candlepower to rival that of Lambeau Field's lighting, bunches of boys here, there, everywhere...

So here's the after-action report from a recent participant (names altered to protect the innocent AND the guilty):

As you could no doubt tell, it was the first time for the deacon, for me, and for B. the MC, so things could have gone MUCH worse.

Fr. C. pointed out charitably that it was a great success because no one got hurt. I suppose that’s one way to think about it

I always kinda wondered how long it would take for a few of those items of clothing to go up in flames if they got too close to those candles.


GOR said...

"I always kinda wondered how long it would take for a few of those items of clothing to go up in flames..."

Actually Dad, this has happened - but not how you might imagine. In grade school in Ireland (circa 1953) altar boys were divided up into 'batches' of about 8 boys with a 'Prefect' for each batch. I was Prefect for my batch.

On Sunday evenings we always had Rosary and Benediction or Exposition and Benediction. One Sunday I asked off (despite maternal disapproval) to attend a birthday party and 'Joe' who was my 'second-in-command' officiated as Prefect of the batch.

In our church the six large candles had to be lighted from a catwalk behind the altar. You reached out over the Reredos and, holding the taper to the side, lit the candles from above.

Joe, who was not the most coordinated of boys, went to light the candles. But instead of holding the taper to the side as he lit them, he held it straight down!

Naturally, the flame traveled up the taper and lit his sleeve and burned his hand, requiring brief hospitalization.

Of course in the mind of the good Irish Catholic mother (mine, God rest her soul) this was not Joe's fault - it was mine! "If you had been there, this wouldn't have happened..."

I don't think I ever had a Sunday evening off after that!

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