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    A View from the Pew

    Be good to yourselves this week - 

    Well, here we are, at the beginning of the holiest week of the year. My 85 year old aunt who lives alone with no other family is in critical condition in the hospital. My dad, an ordained, retired deacon and a widower who lives with us is mourning the passing of most of his friends and relatives and his inability to do much more than keep everyone in his constant prayers. My husband and I and our three grown children are balancing work, ministry and attempting to care for the needs of one another and those entrusted to our care. What keeps us going while trying to keep a thousand plates spinning at the same time? Humor. A couple of good knee slappers can the healthiest remedy within the most solemn occasions on the dreariest of days.

    So this week, when ministry tensions rise and tempers can go amuck, keep humor close to you. Mistakes will occur within the most elegantly prepared liturgy; lighten up. The world will turn even through our human mistakes.

    I’m sure you can tell your own comedic stories. Maybe we should all contribute and compile them for a really entertaining read. Here’s one that I just love. Enjoy it, share it with your ministers and find the time to explore your own telling tales throughout the week. Remember that laughter is a gift from God, even throughout this most solemn of weeks.


    The newly ordained associate pastor discovered that he would celebrate all the liturgies of Holy Week on the Friday before Passion (Palm) Sunday. Sick and hospitalized, the pastor would be unable to preside at any of the services. A bit unnerved, the associate pastor told himself to buck up and trust God and the Roman Missal. “Read the black, follow the red,” he repeated to himself as he dove into the prayers and rubrics to prepare for the liturgies of the holiest week of the church year.

    On Passion Sunday, the associate pastor, armed with aspergillum (perforated ball with a short handle used for sprinkling) and aspersorium (holy water bucket), plunged the sprinkling tool into the situla and prepared for a robust dousing of palms and the people who held them. As he shook the aspergillum for the first time over the assembly, his hand lost the grip on the handle of the aspergillum. The sprinkling tool shot over the heads of the congregation with a speed of a bullet and shot through one of the church’s stained glass windows, shattering the pane as both assembly and presider looked on in stunned silence. The entire church burst into laughter. “Well, we’re off,” the associate pastor announced and proceeded to plunge into the sacred mysteries of the holiest week of the year, human errors and all.

    Be good to yourselves this week. May your liturgies be profound and beautiful, with a couple of good chuckles throughout this holy week of profound love, beauty and grace.