Random Meditations and Questions for a Self-Directed Retreat

Does anybody else get lost in those labyrinths that are popping up in Catholic venues all over? If you once were lost, have you been found? Why are they called “corn maze labyrinths”? Couldn't they just call them “maizes”?

Other than young mothers hoping to prevent their children from being distracted by other children, what does it take to get a Catholic to sit in the front pew? Are all the rest really afraid of being caught up front on the Sunday when the Gospel reading is from Luke 14? (By the way, this is an open book question.)

Has your pastor ever moved the lighting of the Easter Vigil fire inside to the church vestibule because of rain? Did he forget the newly installed fire and smoke alarm system immediately overhead? That was my daughter's first Easter Vigil. Does your first Easter Vigil still ring loudly in your memory?

Why is it that the only thing harder to train than an aspiring altar server is the pastor's dog? For help on this difficult question you are allowed one lifeline call to your parish deacon.

Parishioner A sits in the fifth pew and Parishioner B sits in the tenth pew. Parishioner A's stride is six inches longer than Parishioner B's. There are three feet between each pew and there are twenty rows of pews. The distance from the church to the parking lot is 25 yards. Assuming they both wait until the end of Mass, who will get out of the parking lot first? I haven't worked this one out myself yet so there is no answer even in the back of the teacher's edition.

This is an essay question for those who journal. Why do most places have dress codes for men at work, but are fearful of attempting to codify a dress code for women, and even more so at Church? Perhaps this task should be assigned to Mr. Phelps. And why might Mr., Mrs., Ms., or even Sr. Phelps chose not to accept this mission impossible? Don't even think about asking Fr. Phelps.

Parents are still willing to pay to see nuns in habits, but now they have to go to the box office instead of the schools. Why is that?

Here is another essay question for those who journal. The young won't really get this one because it is intentionally skewed to the advantage of Baby Boomers, but they can try blogging their way through it.

This multiple choice bonus question, under the heading of cultural sensitivity, is based on a true story. Some years ago we were invited to the 25th anniversary celebration of my aunt's vows as a sister. The event was held at the order's motherhouse adjacent to St. Mary's Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia. When we arrived the afternoon before the formal celebration our large extended family was put up in a wing of the enormous convent. My brother was sent out to pick up some snacks and a few cases of beer. As he was checking out at the liquor store the clerk said: “Looks like you're having quite a party. Where is it?”

What was my brother's response?

A. St. Mary's Convent.

B. You wouldn't believe me if I told you.

What answer would you have given?

How many of you would have made up a lie because you weren't quick enough to think of answer B?

Final question: How many ushers does it take to…? Never mind, we see these guys every week and they usually tend bar at our church socials. We want to stay on their good side.

(Stephen Pohl lives in Woodlawn, Maryland with is wife and daughter who encourage him to write during his free time in the vain hope it will keep him out of trouble and out of their hair. They all are members of St. Gabriel parish.)

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