There is always a slightly impromptu element to the prayers of the faithful at our local mass on Sunday. They are read out with greater or lesser degrees of aplomb and clarity by the children to hand. Without doubt, the most difficult is the deaths. The child says, “We pray for those who have died.” He or she then waits for the priest to list the names of the dead. When the priest has finished the list the child finishes off, “May they rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon them.” The whole thing is fraught with difficulty. The child forgets to stop and reads right through; the priest doesn’t come in quickly enough; the priest leaves too long a pause and the child starts on the rest in peace over the names of the last deceased (whose relatives are likely to be in the congregation); or some ghastly combination of all of these. I am always rather tense when my children get this.
Last Sunday we were spared. Some other mite began “We pray for those who have died” but then the prayer ran on “from war, pestilence and famine”. It was clear to the congregation that this was not in fact the prayer for local dead; say what you like about the area, deaths from war, pestilence and famine are thin on the ground. The child however had heard the magical opening words and not particularly noticed or understood the follow-on. She paused and looked meaningfully at the priest. He looked meaningfully back at her. They stood off for quite a bit until the priest took matters into his own hands and said “Lord hear us.”
It’s all drama around here of a Sunday.