A new priest turned up to say mass this morning. “Good morning,” he boomed cheerfully into the microphone, “I am Fr. Pat from America.” We all sat up and had a good look at Fr. Pat. He’s the new head of All Hallows and he was reaching out to us. I think it’s fair to say that we were all a bit tense about the reaching out. The majority of the congregation is well over 60 and the remainder of us are timid, nervous creatures (apparently only 14% of Dubliners are weekly mass goers so my whipping out the children on a Sunday morning must add significantly to the total).
During the sermon he made us all repeat several times “dignity, passion, believe”. We didn’t evince enough enthusiasm for him and I was irresistibly reminded of the pantomime which we graced with our presence last weekend as he tried to whip up his lacklustre congregation.
In his sermon, he talked about how he had been at a conference and the organisers had asked how would they introduce him. “Now,” he said, “I have lots of formal official titles, but that was a moment for me, I said, ‘Just introduce me as child of God.'” I know he meant to be humble and I shouldn’t mock but I found myself thinking, “Wasn’t that really just being a bit awkward for everyone concerned?” I mean, we’re all children of God and it would be handy to know what particular attributes this child of God might have before he addressed the audience.
We had to do the “passion, dignity believe” thing again at the end of mass and we were urged to communicate these words to those around us during the week. I’m not getting any pictures here.
The older I get, the more conservative I get; doubtless I’ll be looking for the Latin mass back soon. As for Fr. Pat, I’d say he has his work cut out for him. I represent the liberal face of the Church in Ireland.