Wednesday, December 26, 2007

...and so to bed

When I am asked, What is the best bit of Christmas for you, Father?" I am afraid my answer is always, "Getting to bed."

We don't have a "liturgical environment committee", so Christmas Eve was spent getting the Church ready for the Holy Feast. There were the normal half dozen people ringing the doorbell for last minute confessions.

At nine o'clock the door bell rang and member of the Polish community, asked why the church wasn't open, either I had forgotten they were going to use it, or they hadn't told. I couldn't help being a little angry that despite the fact they almost out number my community, none of them had helped get the Church ready, and yet they wanted to be the first to use it and expected it to be made ready for them.

We had Mass at midnight, I got to bed at two, couldn't sleep until about six. There was Mass at 9am and 10.30am, followed by another Mass for the Polish community, this one I was expecting. Lunch followed, cooked by Br Francis, we had another couple of priests who came to share our goose. Br Francis is really one of my favourite people, the Bishop asked me to give him a home a couple of years ago, I was a bit reticent, but as it was his Lordship... The good thing about Francis, apart from being gentle, kind and wise is that we hardly ever see one another, the ideal house guest. Lunch finished, lunch finished about four ...and then bed, so good.


On the side of the angels said...

Oh be nice father!
Poles love ritual - and are terrified of sticking their noses in and interfering even when their reticence to do that makes them ironically act in the exact same way !- they're sometimes seen as lazy or rudely indifferent because they don't offer to help - it's actually the reverse - they're fully aware of what needs done and if the opportunity arose or the request was made they'd be all over the place like an army of scarily methodical oompah loompahs - but they would never dream of imposing themselves on anyone or raining on anyone's parade...I blame the cold , too restrictive underwear and way too many opiates in the poppy seed cake. [wink]. I suppose you should be grateful there aren't a dozen old biddies in the sacristy polishing your shoes and re-arranging your collar and asking you 'have you been ?' and don't forget to smile??
Anyway hope you had a great christmas...I got house season 3 and a digital radio !!!

Anonymous said...

My friend in the choir seems to have sung for 8 hours & then couldn't all need some of my nitrazapam! Not!

Anonymous said...

Co-incidentally i'm talking about a famous Pole! With regard to my Polish friends...they're ALWAYS late! Perhaps it's a cultural thing..

Mary Martha said...

It does sound like you are in a bit of an opposite land in your interactions with the Polish community at your Parish.

Here in Chicago the Polish Catholic population are very, very involved and hard workers. The Church wouldn't run half as well without them. You might want to let the Polish community know that there is work to be done... they might surprise you with their enthusiasm.

I'm a bit confused as to how your church deals with immigrant Catholic groups (like Poles). Do they have their own priest and are not brought into the Parish community? Even when there are parishes here split by language (Polish, English, Spanish) they are all under one pastor and efforts are made (not always successfully) to participate as one parish community.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

Father, have a hot whiskey and a happy Christmas.
Get the Polish mums to clear up after Twelfth Night ;)
(And if Paul is correct about the underwear-get them some Lucy Lastic)

Fr Ray Blake said...

The Polish community here has there own parish priest, they have their own chapel and club in the parish, they have been our since guests using our Church since WWII, for Sunday Masses.
Sine Poland joined th EU their congregation has almost quadrupled.

gemoftheocean said...

Oh, Dear, Fr. Blake. If they've been around that long, they certainly should be "part of the community at large" and it should be up to the old-timers to set everything up before Mass. I'd have a chat with the priest about getting some of their trusted regulars to set things up. Does at least one of them have a key to the sacristy? OR do they not want to ask, feeling it's not their place. But 60+ years is a long time to be "camping out."

And God bless you for the last minute confessions. Consider yourself lucky to be among the relative handful of people in the world who can help reconcile someone with Almighty God. How great a gift is that! God bless you for your calling. [And glad you were finally able to sleep!


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