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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Observations from Parish Life

You just never know what you're going to see from day to day or what lessons you're going to take away with you. These are just a few of my observations and lessons, and other things that leave me scratching my head on a regular basis:

1. Sometimes you just have to stop in the hallway and stand on your head for awhile before toddling onward.

2. Playing with doors is fun!

3. The patron Saint of the parish looks very cool when sporting sunglasses.

4. Some tape must be from a joke store - because it only holds posters to the wall when people are present, but is always later on found stuck to the floor.

5. The rooms are always too hot. The hallways are always too cold.

6. Most priests are not "dog people". There are exceptions but they are rare.

7. No one knows where the overhead projector came from or where it should go when it's done being used. The best thing to do is to walk with it back and forth down the hallway until someone else either needs it or finds somewhere to store it.

8. There is NEVER enough available space in a church/school complex.

9. If parts of the coffeepot are missing, it becomes useless for making coffee but can be utilized for other things. Don't ask.

10. Where's that projector!? They just used it last night!

11. According to the children, they only time they need to behave is when a nun is present. Or a woman dressed as a nun.

12. According to 6th graders, it's only a sin "if you get caught!"

13. Even the calender requires a monthly meeting.

14. If the church has a sound system and it is desperately needed, it won't work.

15. If a key to something is desperately needed, it won't be found. Anywhere.

16. Christmas decorations make incredible hats!

17. If you come across a teen with angel wings kneeling on the floor picking up paper clips...don't ask.

18. People ask questions such as "Why do the children need to learn the Act of Contrition for the Sacrament of Reconciliation?" (as an aside - HUH!?)

19. In the event of a missing 1st grader, try not to panic the Catechists even when YOU want to panic yourself.

20. Now I (and you) know why it's necessary to occasionally stop in the middle of the hallway and stand on one's head: it makes the world look right-side up if even for a moment.


Unknown said...

Ah that pesky eleventh commandment Thou shalt not get caught. They never taught that one when you were in school?

Your list brought back fond memories of my days in parish ministry.

I'm still happily unemployed.

Adoro said...

I think that it's always been re-written that way on the black-market version.

And you commented just as I was going in to add a couple more...there's now 20 instead of only 16. :-)

Terry Nelson said...

Very funny and clever - LOL!

Father Schnippel said...

Your list is reason why I both love and miss not being in a parish. One thing was certain, no two days brought the exact same set of circumstances. It keeps you on your toes.

Unknown said...


Adoro has worked there only four months or so and already has her first book. We need a zingy title for her. Three books a year? That's doable. And that doesn't count the couple dozen subjects found on her blog.

Hidden One said...

My only quibble is with #6. I have yet to find a Fr. Catperson, only priests and seminarians who like large dogs.

Adoro said...

Terry ~ :-)

Father ~ So true1 Some days for us are pretty routine...and I could do without evenings like last night. (ie losing a first grader....) I have more grey hair now. The toddlers standing on their heads in the hallways...those are very bright moments indeed! LOL! I'm sure Jesus stood on his head as a toddler, too. That's why he loves children so much. Because they're the only ones with the correct perspective.

Ray ~ HUH!?

Hidden One ~ I've met a few priests who like dogs...the pastor at my parish has a St. Bernard, very sweet girl. And since as a child I was adopted by a St. Bernard, well, I have a soft spot for them and infinitely more respect for my Pastor. But MOST of the priest and sems I've met just don't really care for dogs. Or they were raised on farms and just have no real time for animals, especially housepets.

So on one hand, I can say that farm families produce priests. That's awesome and makes me want to be a farmer. On the other hand..if farming makes me hate animals...hmmmm...having a "dying to self" moment....

But you're right. I've not met "Father Catperson" either.

Adrienne said...

Except for the dog thing this could be my parish!!

My pastor has two smallish dogs who sleep with him. They go to the rectory in the morning and every afternoon one of the ladies of our parish drops by his house to take them for an extra walk.

There has never been a doubt in my mind that he probably likes the dogs better than most people.

Adoro said...

I'm all for priests having dogs...if they can. And I know my pastor didn't intend to have a dog. It just kinda happened.

But pets are great for stress, and let me tell you...they're great for the spiritual life as well. And daily discipline in "dying" to oneself, and if you fail in some aspect, the dog reacts in the natural order of things and it doesn't take much of an examination of conscience to realize one's failures.

And it's awesoem he has a couple people to help him out...what a gift, both of the dog and the help.

Dogs are truly a gift from God. I wish more priests realized that. Not to be New Agey, but just to realize what a pet can do for those of us who live alone. I may not be a priest, and yes, I'm a woman thus have different safety concerns, but there are base benefits to this that apply across the board.

Ok, off my soapbox...this really is a post unto itself.

The Ironic Catholic said...

Cute list, Adoro.

But can I ask about the paper clips and teen angel? Please?

Adoro said...

IC ~ No. You may not. Ever. Mostly because the reason is not that interesting although the setting makes it so. And even further don't ask when the same Angel shows up sans wings as St. Rita confronting her mother in a Jerry Springer talk show format.

Really. Don't ask.

Questions must NEVER be asked...

(must go stand on my head somewhere...)

Father Schnippel said...


I've now worked and/or lived with two priests who are cat-priests, ie, they both have cats.

The first case, luckily, we lived in different places.

Now, there is a cat that has free roam over the rectory at the Cathedral. Considering your sentiments, I'll keep comments to self... ;)

Sarah Reinhard said...

If I didn't know better, I'd think you had spend some time at OUR parish!

But at least there's humor in the foibles of parish life...just as there is humor in the foibling of family life! :)

Cathy said...

Er, you might not have met "Father" Catperson, but surely you are aware of His Holiness Catperson?

Adoro said...

Father ~ I think cats would be easier pets for priests than dogs, but it seems that in my experience (in my area, anyway) the priests are MORE likely to like dogs than cats.

But share your're entitled! After all, I share my opinion whether it's asked for or not.... :-)

Ma ~ But His Holiness doesn't live near me! Although I had forgotten he's a cat person. It's one of the simpler reasons I love the Pope...he sees the gift that pets are. (totally OT, but one of the reasons I admire JP2 was because he was a skier...and if the sport is good enough for the Pope, it's good enough for me...LOL!)

Hidden One said...

His Holiness Catperson? SWEET!

I totally never knew that.

PS: I am a cat person.