Worship Team Narration

Disclaimer

This article came to mind after a friend mentioned something about her church's prayer team. I'd never heard the term before, though I did start to wonder. The following is the result. It's meant for humorous purposes only and I in no way intend to insult anyone or their beliefs. With that said, please enjoy.

Prayer Team

Good morning fans of all things evangelical! I'm Dick Driskel and with me as always is my good friend and co-announcer, Bob Baker.

It's 9 AM on a beautiful sunny day right at the Boring Sacred Heart Church in boring Maryland-What's that, Bob? Oops, I meant Boring, Maryland.

We're sitting pretty here in the narthex above the nave, looking out at all the bleary-eyed parishioners after a hard Saturday night. Heh. By the look of a few of 'em I certainly hope God was turning a blind eye to whatever they were getting up to, eh Bob? As a special treat we've got the members of the famous Baltimore convent, the Sisters of Perpetual Responsibility, who've come to cheer the prayer team on. Though how they'll do that without breaking their vows of silence I can't help but wonder.

Bob and I are here as part of the Catholic Church's attempts to modernize Sunday Mass by presenting their new Prayer Team initiative. To that end we're broadcasting live in a soundproof box to ensure that we don't bother the proceedings. Ms. O’Connell, the kindly lady who habitually plays the organ for the Boring Church, has been gracious enough to let us take a place beside her.

And there's the start of it, Bob. Ms. O’Connell working that organ like she was born to it-What's that, Bob?... Oh... snerk... Sorry folks, I suppose I'll have to be a little more careful about what I say. I don't want to get censored, or worse: excommunicated for just a slip of the tongue.

In any case, young altar boy, Joseph CaHill leads the entrance procession up through the aisle from the back of the church. Cahill so far has led over 52 processions, no errors, no penalties listed. You've gotta admire dedication like that in a rookie, Bob.

Father Mike Callahan and Father Jacob LaMorre, looking very stately in their vestments, flank Parish Priest Thomas Flanagan. Flanagan, head held high, carrying his staff of office, will be officiating the ceremonies today. He's the one to make sure that things don't get ugly and we all have a nice clean Mass.

Folks at home might notice that Father Jacob is walking with a bit of a limp. That injury he took to the knee last Easter never quite healed. You'd never think an official of the Church would be mobbed by a gaggle of Sunday Schoolers for a chocolate bunny, would you, Bob? Like piranhas when they run around in schools, the little ankle biters.

And of course we're all happy to see Father Mike back in action after the injury to his trick elbow last week. Here's an interesting fact: the latest reports from the Papal Physicians in Rome say that most debilitating problems priests experience only pop up over a long period of time; repetitive injuries and so on. Father Mike crossed himself one too many times and his arm came off at the elbow.

Too bad he was holding the McAllister’s youngest over the baptismal font at the time, Bob. We're all thankful that mom was quick enough. Holy water's good for the soul, but for the lungs, not so much... Heh. I suppose it might've been construed as a Church-approved method of retroactive birth control.

...

What? Quit looking at me like that, Bob.

Oop! Enough nattering folks, the prayer team has taken their places. Father Mike and Father Jacob will be performing separate duties today and they've already approached the altar. The altar boys have taken their place at the sidelines-er... I mean the dais. Parish Priest Flanagan walks up to the pair of them and flips a coin. Jacob shaking his head at his bad luck. Over the last five Masses Jacob has won the coin toss, but I guess no one's luck can last forever, can it, Bob?

Jacob's backing off. It seems that Mike has decided to take it upon himself to begin the proceedings. That's an aggressive move for a bush-leaguer like him. I'm sure plenty of fans at home aren't too happy with my assessment, but let's be honest; Jacob's got over ten years more experience on the job, he knows his way around the Nicene Creed as if it was written on the back of his eyelids, he's never once failed in a blessing, only dropped the Host twice, and unconfirmed rumors say that he even performed an exorcism. Don't look at me like that, Bob. Remember that spat between Cardinal-Priest Onassis and Cardinal-Deacon Chambord not two years ago? Chambord was seen eating meat on a Friday... Yes, Bob. Yes, Bob. I know that a Slim Jim is debatable, but it's the intent of the law over the letter of it. Geeze, sometimes you nag worse than my priest.

...You wouldn't happen to know if this is being broadcast in Des Moines, would you, Bob? It just occurred to me that I might end up having to act as treasurer for the Knights of Columbus again this year for that.

What do you mean you'll make sure he gets a tape? (There's a click as the mike turns off for a moment. Another as it comes back on)...ake your money! But you better be sure that I don't hear another word about it.

Sorry for that folks, just a bit of technical difficulty. In any case the story goes that Father Jacob was called in to perform the exorcism of Cardinal-Deacon Chambord. Apparently he was possessed by a protestant demon, though I'm given to understand that the two aren't all that different. Ow! Knock it off, Bob. I was only kidding!

And Father Mike begins with the Penitential Rite rather than the Rite of Blessing. A smart decision given his elbow. We wouldn't want a silver-plated aspergillum to fly into the pews and take out a parishioner while he's sprinkling them with holy water, would we, Bob?

The parishioners give the appropriate response and Father Mike yields the Mass to Father Jacob. It's obvious he's smirking at the more experienced priest here, Bob. Everybody knows that the entire process all the way up to the Liturgy of the Word is cut and dry. There's no room for improvisation, no chance for Father Jacob to shine here, Bob. And by the sour look on Father Jacob's face I'd say he knows it.

Well folks, while the Kyrie, Gloria, and opening prayer go on we'll take a quick commercial break. Don't go away.

(20 minutes and 100 commercials later.)

And we're back with you viewers at home. Just a quick recap: we've been through the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist with only a few minor upsets. Father Jacob evidently got his own back when he tripped Father Mike during the Presentation of the Gifts. Water and wafers everywhere folks. Luckily little Joey CaHill broke his fall. I'm sure he'll be alright after a few sessions with a councilor. Lord knows the Church has sent enough people to therapists over the years that they're probably receiving kickbacks... Stop looking at me like that, Bob. I won't tell you again.

Father Jacob was penalized for five Hail Maries, but an old pro like him knows that's nothing compared to the face that Mike has lost. We're half an hour deep into Mass now and tension is growing. So far there's not been much more than an occasional look between the two, a glare, a grimace. But we all know that someone's going to try to steal the show here. They're neck and neck, but only for the moment.

And here we go! Father Mike places himself directly in Father Jacob's path. Beautifully done there, did you see it, Bob? Jacob goes to the altar boy for the communion goods and Mike slips right in the way.

This is it, folks. Mike and Jacob finally facing one another. Who will be the first to break eyes? Who will be the first to act? To break free of his peer and his opponent and take decisive action.

Father Jacob! He takes the hike from the alter boy, fakes past Father Mike, and dives for the altar. Is it good? Is it? You can hear a pin drop in the church, ladies and gentlemen, as Parish Priest Flanagan goes to check the instant replay. Even the Sisters of Perpetual Responsibility have fallen silent, clutching their rosaries at the front row with anxiety.

We're getting the wave from Father Flanagan.

... Yes! The wafers and wine are now the body and blood of Christ! We have transubstantiation, Bob! I never thought they would've even made it out of the Tabernacle for this one, Bob, but they certainly showed me. Oh, do you believe in miracles! And there the Sisters go, throwing their pom-poms in the air!

Funny that, Bob, I never figured the color combination of their habits and pom-poms would work, but there you have it. Plaid pom-poms. I suppose that's the great thing about habits, Bob, black goes with practically everything.

Whoa! Didn't think sister Mary-Margaret was that spry. 81 years young and still able to do a back-flip. Heh. I didn't know they made grey stocking with blue lines through them. Oh, sorry folks, those were her ankles.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we'll be right back after these sponsored messages from Nabisco, featuring their new ecumenically flavored snack treat, "Cheese-Itz Christ".

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Comments 10 comments

Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

LOL!  You are truly horrible...  Telling on the priests that way!  I thought the rule was, 'What happens at mass stays at mass.'  :)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 7 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

That may be the rule, but the archdiocese never sent me my official Church membership/decoder ring. They don't follow the rules, so why should I? Since they never gave me my ring I could never figure out what the secret messages were in Mass. You didn't think everyone's praying when they're all looking at their hands, do you? :)


Ivorwen profile image

Ivorwen 7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

Decoder ring? And here all this time I thought they were reading the comic book they hid in their Bible.


Jarn profile image

Jarn 7 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

That's just during Sunday School. Not allowed Bibles in Mass; they're afraid you might actually learn something :)


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

That's even better than the original! Kudos.

Maybe I'd better show this to my former pastor... If he were to get some plaid pom-poms for his people, maybe they'd get into things a little more. He'd get the excitement he was always looking for. Split the church into two factions - er, teams - and... Oh, wait - it already was.

Instead, maybe I'll just get my husband to write something up about his Catholic experience as a child. No, no, no - not THAT kind of experience - I meant things like Mr. Days prodding people with a stick until they put something (even a wrist watch) into the offering plate...and how Hubby used to get away with shooting people underneath the table with a wrist-rocket, during Sunday school. Talk about excitement... ;-)


Jarn profile image

Jarn 7 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

That's what I always liked about being a Catholic. Meet anyone who ever went through the same experience and you can swap stories about being in the trenches.

"Well. I was stationed in Gascone for the inaugural nun wars back in '78 as an auxilary. This was back before the ecuminical approach toward uniting the factions of the Roman Curia, of course. Heh. Back then every convent and monestary was looking out for number one in hope of gainin' the Pope's favor. Paddle ya' with a ruler soon as look at ya'. It was like a modern-day colliseum. Anyway, the Sisters of Mercy had been fighting a ground war against the Poor Clares for about a week. No food, whatever water you could scrounge out of waterbutts and ditches that looked clean enough. Disease was rampant, of course. We were always running back and forth to the latrines. Lavie door never stopped swingin'.

Anyway, the Poor Clares had got themselves in a perty tight spot. They didn't watch their salients and the prayer line crumbled in mid-Novena. They retreated and holed up back in an abandoned cannery. Air support didn't seem likely; low-altitude bombers were taken out by Intercontinental Prayer Missiles, ICPMs we call 'em. (You'll really have been to Mass if you caught that joke).

The Sisters of Mercy were right at the threshold of victory. The only problem was that the cannery was posted out in the middle of the street. There was no way of taking their position without crossing in broad daylight.

Well the Sisters of Mercy figured it was too great a risk; ya' never know when a piece of chalk could come flyin' out of nowhere and take you out, so they waited until nightfall.

That right there was their mistake. The Poor Clares had a working radio. And by nightfall they had called for help. They waited until they could see the yellow-whites of their eyes and hear the clack of metal rulers on bone-hard palms before calling in the artillery support. I was safe on the sideline, but I'll tell you what, buddy: if there's one thing the Daughters of Saint Paul know, it's how to fire off a scathing letter. They scribbled away as fast as they could and shot them off with trebuchets.

Had anyone taken the time to read the letters there's no doubt in my mind that they would've quit the field then and there, regardless of what side they fought on. Of course most of the paper caught fire from the sheer scorn inscribed on all those thousands of strictly worded reprimands, demerits, referrels, and notes to parents. I don't think the letters would've done as much damage as they did if they hadn't been weighted down. After all, letters tend to float around a bit; throws off their accuracy dont'cha know. In any case, the Daughters of Saint Paul ended up being disqualified; not because of the bricks they tied to the letters, that was no big deal, nuns are hard-headed folks at the best of times. It was the fact that they failed to consecrate the bricks before sending them aloft that got up the Pope's skirt.

You go down to any Veterans of Foreign Nun Wars post you like and, if you're lucky enough, you might find a Poor Clare who was there that great day. Buy them a few drinks and they might be willing to tell you about how they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Though you'll end up burning a hole in your wallet, mark my words. Nuns roll deep.

Ask them and they'll tell you that victory was thanks to their tireless good works and good will towards all mankind; except the Sisters of Mercy, of course. A pack of Poor Clares runs across a Sister of Mercy out on her lonesome and she's likely to get curb-stomped before the end of the day. Wimple flying and rosary beads everywhere; not a perty sight. But what can you do?

Oh, those were great days, them. Not like the modern-day church at all. The final nail in the coffin was back when the priests switched from Latin to English. Once we could understand what the heck they were saying it kinda took all the mystery out of attending. But, let me tell ya, Father Frank McGquire up on Winston Road holds Mass like it was way back when we were little. A'course that wasn't always the way of it. Once he had his stroke attendance shot up like a rocket. Can't hardly figure out what he's saying most the time, but as long as I make sure to throw in a fiver every Sunday everything seems alright.


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

I have to admit, spending most of my adult life as a Southern Baptist didn't lead to that kind of excitement.

Of course, now that I've chosen to attend an Assembly of God congregation, at least I get to be part of those controversial issues like speaking in tongues and slayings in the Spirit. Those were major no-no's in the congregations I grew up in, regardless of what the Bible said about them (especially speaking in tongues).

Other than that, I've only been through one official church split, and at least that had a better reason than arguing over the colors of the carpets or walls. ;-)


Christa Dovel profile image

Christa Dovel 7 years ago from The Rocky Mountains, North America

Protestant demons? Didn't know there was such a thing. :)

Sound like you've been through it all. How long were you hunkered down in the trenches, before the Poor Clares won?


Jarn profile image

Jarn 7 years ago from Sebastian, Fl Author

Well what happens in the trenches stays in the trenches, as we had come to say, but seeing as most of the other guys have gone to that great big bunker in the sky, I don't conjure the harm in it.

We were in the trenches for a week before our supply lines were cut. Hunger was pretty bad, but we did what we could. It's amazing what you're willing to eat when you got no alternative. We boiled our boots for the leather, wasn't too bad with a little mustard, but that didn't last long.

A'course the trenches were full up with water. Lotta us guys were standing ankle deep in the soup for over a month. All kinds'a stuff happenin' below the surface. Jim Casters, a good buddy a' mine was the first to come down with Trench Foot. Disease would'a taken him if we didn't take the foot first. Figured it was a bit wasteful to take the foot and leave the leg if he had no use for it.

That's when the whole leg-rota started. We paired off and ate one another's legs. Now before you go yelling at me, calling me sick, calling me a cannibal, just hear me out. According to the Papal Field Guide it ain't technically cannibalism unless you eat the whole person. And I couldn't very well eat my own leg; not hygenic, probably go blind.

And as for protestant demons; are there any other kind? :)


Joy At Home profile image

Joy At Home 7 years ago from United States

I hope you and I are never trench buddies. ;-)

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