Wednesday, December 23, 2015


'Twas the night before Christmas Eve, when all through the rectory
not a creature was stirring, not even a secretary.
The ministry schedule was hung on the bulletin board with care,
in hopes that those scheduled  soon would be there.

The altar servers were all negligent not daring to care,
while visions of iPads danced in their stares.
And vicar in his biretta, and I in mine,
had just settled our complaints for a long Christmas night.

When out in the parking lot there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The sun on the breast of the old asphalt lot
gave the lustre of doom to objects that park,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but extraordinary ministers dressed in gym gear.

With little old lectors, so dull and boring,
I knew in a moment it must be a rehearsal for liturgical moaning.
More lethargic than slugs, their coursers they came,
and they hemmed and hawed  and called me names:

"Now pastor! Now vicar!
Now, throw backs to pre-Vatican II'ers!
On, preachers! O Judges!
On, useless and vindictives!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now leave us alone! Go away!
go away all!"

As dry liturgical creativity that before the wild Liturgy fly,
when they meet with  the clericalism of the pastor, they mount a petition to the bishop;
so up to the chancery the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of complaints, and a copy of Vatican too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard  the phone ring
and heard the screeching and complaining of the vicar general insane.
As I drew in my breath and was turning around,
down the phone line the reprimand came with a pound.

It was dressed all in fury, from the beginning to the end,
and his voice was all hoarse with epitaphs  and coarse.
A bundle of insults he had flung at my ear,
and he sounded like a Soprano just hoping kill.

His voice--how it screeched! His words, how stern!
His vocabulary was like a sailors, his tenner like a mortal sinner
His droll little diatribe was drawn up like a bow,
and the arrow in his quiver was like a missal that made me shiver.
The stamp of his foot he pounded like an anvil,
and the smoke of his wrath encircled his my head like a mantle.
It had a broad affect and not just a little to worry ,
that shook me to my soul, like a book full of black mold.

He was staunch and mean and not at all a jolly old elf,
and I cried when I heard him, in spite of myself.
A slam of the phone and the shock of a click
made me  blink.

He spoke no more words, but went straight to his work ,
and scribbled an evaluation  which left little to the imagination .
And laying his tongue to envelope,
and giving a nod,  off to the post office it rose.

The postman sprang to the truck, then  gave a whistle,
And away it all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard the bishop exclaim, 'ere the truck drove out of sight,
"happy clappy Masses to all, and to all a good night!"


Anonymous said...

Take comfort when the phone rings tonight and you get the annual question:

"What time is midnight Mass?"

GenXBen said...

This is good! 😄

Anonymous said...

Wow! So Fr. Daniel Firmin is upset? You recruited him, correct? I assume your long-standing nemesis, name withheld, has officially complained? So sorry!!