Mass Interrupted

bible for blog

Whoever designed my church is an idiot.

I don’t mean Whoever designed my Church. That would be Christ. I mean whoever designed my church building.

This nameless person apparently decided the best place to put the restrooms was on either side of the altar.

So, if the altar server isn’t paying attention, what you might hear when the Host is elevated during the Consecration is not the pleasant tinkling of bells but rather the whoosh! of a toilet flushing. Oh, the restroom is a distance away and the door is closed, but you can still hear it.

That’s what you call an untimely interruption.

I’ve heard of Masses being interrupted by protestors shouting slogans and throwing condoms at parishioners. Frankly, I never expected to be at a Mass that was interrupted by anyone.

But it happened.  Continue reading

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Complaining to God

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Do you ever wonder why God allows bad things to happen to us?

I mean, what are you to think when you’ve lost your job through no fault of your own? What if someone you love dearly dies?

Don’t you, like Job, sometimes want to beg God for an answer? Why, God, Why? How could you let this happen to me?

I admit sometimes I want an answer.  Continue reading

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Liar, Liar


Remember President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal? I know a woman who told me she thought it was okay for him to lie about it because “All guys lie about sex.”

I told her I had to disagree. The Commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” doesn’t have an asterisk at the end saying “unless the subject matter is sex.”

Besides, I pointed out, the man lied on the witness stand—under oath.  Did she not understand that when a person swears to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth “so help me God” that he is claiming God Himself is a witness to the truth of his statements?

I’m not so sure I convinced her. For some strange reason, this bias is deeply ingrained.

I saw on one of those talk shows a couple of men who also thought it was okay to lie about sex. Know why? Continue reading

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Dictionary for blog

According to the MacMillan dictionary, the prefix pro— means “supporting something or approving of it.” Nowadays a lot of people are pro-this or pro-that, whether you’re talking about politics or some other social issue.

And of course you will meet people who say they’re pro-life or pro-choice.

Actually, for a term to be the opposite of pro-life, it would have to contain the opposite of either one of the two terms. It would have to be anti-life or pro-death.

But of course nobody wants to claim to be either of those. After all, that sounds pretty bad, as of course it is. Hence the supposedly innocuous term pro-choice.

However, I have yet to meet anybody who actually is pro-choice.  Continue reading

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Defining Heaven

Heaven for blog

When I was in the first grade, I asked my teacher—a nun—what heaven is like.

She told me heaven is like the Mass.

That was absolutely the right answer.

That was absolutely the wrong answer.  Continue reading

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PSA Flight for Blog

There’s a show on television called Air Disasters, and some time ago they ran a segment on the September 25, 1978 PSA crash in San Diego.

I remember that day very well. Like everybody else, I saw the news coverage on television. On approach to the airport, the PSA jet had collided with a Cessna flying in the area. The jet’s right wing caught on fire, and both planes crashed. Everyone on the planes, along with seven people on the ground, perished.

[SIDENOTE: The photo above is of the actual plane going down. The collision was so loud it was heard on the ground, and a photographer aimed his camera upward and took that picture.]

But what I didn’t know, until my sister phoned me, was that a friend of mine had been on board the PSA jet. He was only 26 and was on his way to San Diego to open a photography studio.

I debated whether or not to record the Air Disasters show. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what my friend went through those last terrifying seconds of his life. After I did record it, it sat in my DVR a couple of days before I got up the courage to watch it.  Continue reading

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Filling Up

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There’s a drug store in my neighborhood where my husband and I buy ice cream. It’s the best ice cream in town, and the place has a great variety of flavors. About every week or so, we’d go inside, grab one of those little hand-held baskets, and pick out a couple of cartons to stick in our freezer.

Then one day the little baskets disappeared.  Continue reading

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Wishing Doesn’t Make It So

Wishing Well for blog

Back when we Catholics had to abstain from meat on all Fridays, I heard about a girl who thought it was perfectly acceptable to eat cheeseburgers on those days. Her reasoning went like this: we’re not allowed to eat ham but we are allowed to eat cheese. Therefore, we could have cheeseburgers but not hamburgers.

If you think that’s pretty darn silly, I have to tell you I’ve seen some interpretations of the Bible that can compete with even that. You’d expect something ridiculous from someone like Charles Manson, who thought the four horsemen of the apocalypse were The Beatles and that their song “Helter Skelter” was about inciting a race war. (It might have helped if he had listened to the lyrics more carefully. In England a helter skelter is a playground slide.) But then you expect weird interpretations from someone on LSD.

But what about absurdities from those who are supposed to know their stuff?  Continue reading

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How to Mess Up Your Kids

Mess Up Your Kids for blog

Here are nine little nuggets that I made sure not to tell my own kids:


  1. “You’ll learn to like it.” This is what you tell your kid when forcing him to eat something he hates. Trust me, he will not learn to like it. He will learn to hate it even more because you’ve made eating it such a negative experience.


  1. “You don’t want that.” This should be your automatic response to your child saying “I want (fill in the name of item in store or advertised on TV). Do you have any idea how confusing it is for a child to hear that he doesn’t want what he wants?

Continue reading

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Whose Opinion Matters?

high school for blog

I spent a miserable year in the eighth grade (see

At the end of it, my parents asked me which high school I preferred to attend: our local Catholic school or the public school. They really talked up the Catholic school—it was a wonderful school with a great reputation. On the other hand, they downplayed the public one—it was in a “blue collar” neighborhood and wasn’t known for its academic prowess.

Hmmmmmmm. The girls in my class who had bullied me all through grade school planned to attend the Catholic one. Should I spend another four years with my tormentors? I wasn’t stupid. So, to my parents’ great surprise, I opted for the public school.

I thought it would end the bullying.

I was wrong.  Continue reading

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