Wednesday, June 24, 2009


As we begin the Year For Priests, I have been reflecting on the many good men I have known and/or worked with over the years. While there are a very small handful of negative experiences I have had, the many, many good priests I have known far outnumber the few questionable experiences I have had.

Therefore, from time to time I will be telling of my experiences with the true "Alter Christi" I have encountered:

When my older son, now 23 years old, was an infant, my husband and I took him to mass one Sunday morning. He began to fuss, so I took out a bottle to quiet him. An elderly lady sitting in the pew in front of us saw me feeding my son as she turned to sit back down, and with a horrible face, snapped at me that it was not the time or place to be feeding my infant.

It WAS a WAS NOT dripping...I WAS NOT nursing..It WAS NOT noisy...IT WAS A BOTTLE OF FORMULA!

Yet, I had so offended this woman by what she considered to be sacrilege, that she let me know it, and her companion as well. I was beside myself.

The next Sunday, I stayed home with my baby. The week after that, we went to a later mass, sat way in the back, and, did not bring any bottles, so as not to insult any elderly ladies.


As the visiting priest stepped into the center aisle and began his homily, my son began to fuss. I could not quiet him, so I got up. As I stepped into the aisle...


He asked me if I was leaving because the baby was crying. I just nodded my head sheepishly, as I began to turn to leave.

He told me to STOP! And, to return to my seat, as he walked down the aisle toward us.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say: "I thought I was gonna DIE!!"

But, I did what I was told.

This priest then did a complete about face in his homily, and instead began to preach on Jesus telling the little children to come to him, and how we are not to get in their way!

Had he been sitting near us, two weeks previously?!?

When he reached my child and I, he blessed my son, and made it pefectly clear that we were welcome at mass anytime, no matter what my son's demeanor might be. And, that the rest of the congregation were to echo his sentiments with ALL children...always!

Twenty-three years later, I still remember that sermon, that priest, and, how I prayed the floor would open up and swallow me as he just kept talking, and talking, and talking about how we must always allow the children to come to Jesus, etc. even, as EVERY eye was upon us!

I have only seen that particular priest on one other occasion over the years, when he was doing another mission in another parish. Yet, clearly, he has left an indelible impression upon me.

When young families tell me how difficult it is to bring the children and keep them completely quiet during mass, and how they do not want to disturb those around them, I tell them the story of this wonderful priest who welcomed a crying infant, AND an embarrassed new mother, because he knew it was what Christ wanted!

And, I pass on the most memorable homily I have ever heard, even as I welcome the little children...just as this child AND her child were welcomed, fussing and all, so many years ago!


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