Ours is a “mixed” household:

  • One (1) Catholic husband (me);
  • One (1) agnostic-Jewish wife (Beth, a.k.a. the C. S. O.);
  • Three dogs (Sophie, Precious, and Joy);
  • Four cats (Uriel, Fluffy, Chloe, and Zoe).

     (The cats sacrifice to Bastet. I have no idea whom the dogs worship. Possibly Dick Van Patten.)

     The consequences have included some humorous moments, especially since the onset of the “pandemic.” (If you haven’t yet tumbled to the essential falsity of this farce, check your pulse: you may have died and not noticed.) My parish, St. Louis de Montfort of Sound Beach, panicked as completely as most such. What followed included mask mandates, “social distancing” rules, an awful lot of awkwardness at Mass, and the elimination of holy water from the holy-water fonts, which are now filled with…brace yourself…hand sanitizer.

     This has irritated many members of the parish. A couple of weeks ago, in response to the rising tide of requests, our pastor, Monsignor Christopher Heller, made holy water available in an unprecedented form:

     Not exactly a conventional way of dispensing it, as the Catholics among our Gentle Readers will surely agree. But any port in a storm, as they say, and St. Louis’s parishioners were generally glad that holy water was available again, even in such an unorthodox container.

     Beth caught sight of the little bottle on my desk and asked about it. I told her that I was in search of a more appropriate container into which to decant the holy water, so that embarrassing mistakes might be obviated. She nodded and returned to her previous activity.

     I did acquire a more conventional bottle for holy water:

     …and poured it full from the little plastic bottle provided by the parish. Beth, who was a step behind this development, saw the new bottle and made a long face.

CSO: Aw, that’s pretty.
FWP: Thanks. I thought so myself.

CSO: I guess you won’t be using the bottle I made for you, then?
FWP: Hm? You made a holy water bottle?
CSO: Oh yeah. One second…

     Beth hurried away and returned a couple of minutes later with this:

     Words failed me. Truly, Gentle Reader, words failed me.


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    • Hoagie on January 20, 2022 at 11:07 AM

    Wow.  Your family sounds like mine.   Growing up my sister and I were taken by my Baptist mother to a local Episcopal (low Episcopal) church.  We lived in Center City Philly and could have gone anywhere why she chose Trinity Memorial I have no idea.   Anyway, my father was a Catholic, my step-grandfather was a Jew and grandma was a Presbyterian.   On Pop’s side they were all Catholic.  
    Then my marriages began.  My first wife was a Jew and introduced me to Jewish “cuisine” via gramma Goldie.   My second wife was a Korean and Buddhist.   My third wife was a Japanese and Shinto.   My current (and final) wife is another Korean Buddhist.   
    My sister married a Russian Orthodox but they all went to an Episcopal church till……   After the Episcopals went nuts in the 60’s I became Presby.  Till they went nuts in the 70′, then I became Methodist.  Till they went nuts in the 80’s.  Then I settled into Lutheranism for a while.  Long enough to become a Deacon anyway.  Then one day I walked into Gloria Dei Lutheran Church  in Huntingdon Valley, PA and found the “Aids Quilt” pinned to the wall and a new female minister.  Twas then I realized no protestant sect was actually Christian any longer I just became non-denom.
    BTW, my first wife (the Jew) found Christ, was born again and now goes to Calvary Evangelical (also in Huntingdon Valley, PA) and she is an Elder.   My second wife also Saw The Light and is now going to the same church as my first (Irony).   My Japanese wife has joined her ancestors however she never converted and neither has my current wife. 
    It’s been an interesting journey.   I guess it is for most of us lucky enough to have been born in a Formerly Free country where we were free to try any faith we wanted.   I don’t think God is amused, though.   Especially now. 

    • Amy on January 20, 2022 at 11:27 AM

    Your new bottle is a work of art. Beth’s bottle is…very funny. 🙂
    I wonder if the parish has blessed the hand sanitizer in those fonts. Is it possible to have holy hand sanitizer?
    Now that reminds me of one of John De Chancie’s Castle Perilous books, in which Incarnadine, the Lord of Castle Perilous, is also a mob boss in one of the castle’s many worlds, which resembles 1920’s New York City, but with magic and demons. When a demon shows up at his bar and doesn’t want to leave, Incarnadine grabs a bottle of seltzer and approaches one of his regulars, a Catholic priest, for a favor. Then he forces the demon to leave by using his new weapon against it…a big spray of holy seltzer. 😀

    • Weetabix on January 20, 2022 at 11:59 AM

    We had a lot of that same sort of panic.  We got our Holy Water back in the fonts quite a while ago.  Never had the sanitizer in the font, though.
    Sanitizer appeared to become something of a sacramental several years ago, and I really hate it.  The Extraordinary Ministers all standing behind the altar trying to rub it in at the same time just annoys me.  I have an immune system – as long as you’re not picking your nose or scratching inappropriately before you distribute, we’ll both be fine.

    • ASM826 on January 21, 2022 at 8:25 AM

    Dogs worship Og the Cave Man. Og is the first man to feed them and allow them to sleep around fire, which lead directly to sofas, comfy beds, and bacon. Dogs appreciate and remember.

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