Thursday, 20 November 2008

Altar Boy Anarchy

I was given a choice at ten years of age of either joining the boy scouts or becoming an altar boy. I figured I'd be buggered either way (OK - bad joke!) and I'm not sure exactly why (maybe a gentle bit of persuasion from my mother), but I made the decision to follow the holy path of righteousness.

The expression for a priest is that he "says" Mass (a service) and an altar boy "serves" Mass. So my duties involved "serving" Mass at 7:30am once a week and again on Sunday anywhere between 7:30am and 5pm. This duty was handed out like shift work at a supermarket and if you didn't show up for a good reason you had the potential to be damned to the fiery depths of hell or worse.

If you played your cards right you could get the 'golden cow' shift of serving at a wedding on Saturdays where the dizzy couple would leave an envelope with $$$ for all concerned i.e. an envelope for the priest, another for the altar boys (up to 5 punts = u$d10) and another for the sacristan etc.

The problem was, not everybody knew who the sacristan was or what he did. He is basically an admin assistant to the priest and does a fair chunk of the prep work for the wedding. Many times the dizzy happy couple would forget this poor shlep with the magic envelope.

After about 10 of these weddings, young inspector 'Paddy in BA' started to notice a similar pattern in the hand writing of the envelopes for the altar boys. Same handwriting for each one over several months - hmmmm.... same measly donation = 1 Irish punt = approx u$d2 compared to the 5 Irish punt norm.

In true 'Cluedo' style, I deduced that Mr Sacristan was switching the envelopes from the happy generous couple for his own less generous ones in the sacristy with a thieving conniving contempt for us altar boys.

I couldn't contain my disgust anymore. Did these people really think I was giving up half my Saturday for the the good of the holy church? - Hell No! = I wanted KA-CHING baby!

I left three of Mr Sacristans envelopes on the notice board in the changing rooms with the addition of....

p.s. how come the last three envelopes I got, have the same handwriting?"

As many of you are probably aware - Catholics don't take kindly to non conformers (think Spanish Inquisition) and so it came to pass that I was cast out of the holy order of the altar boys (no joke!)

Lucifer himself (with horns and tail) and I meet up for coffee on Tuesdays and Thursdays and reminisce about how - there but for the grace of god - the world was our oyster.

Tags: ..Altar Boy Anarchy..

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a. November 20, 2008 11:54 pm  

you're supposed to tip the altar server at your wedding? shit, I owe my brother at least a 20! Maybe a 50, he did show up at the wedding, then run in his tuxedo after the limo because we forgot the flowers at his house, then get back to the wedding to find my uncle saying, "So, Tom, you're the altar server."

Maybe a hundy even!

Anonymous,  November 21, 2008 12:17 am  

The auld bollix!

Anonymous,  November 21, 2008 4:09 am  

Well, it only confirms yet again the duplicity and hypocrisy of the supreme-being brigade. Being thrown out of the holy realms was clearly no loss whatever.

Miles McClagan November 21, 2008 5:37 am  

I lost my taste for Catholicism when a nun gave me a bollocking for smiling in I watched her craggy old face creaking in the rain, I decided this was no life for me. Oh, and boss Father Jack picture...I love that show...

Baino November 21, 2008 6:34 am  

What? Cast out? And you with the face of an angle (never could get that spelling right) Ac-tu-ally . .I had a mad crush on he priest that did Ray's funeral . .emotional time and all that . .bit bad eh? C'mon he was 27 and wore Franciscan robes. *must not drink when commenting*

Broke But Still Drinking November 21, 2008 9:43 am  

Are you kidding me! Those kids get paid. Here I passed on such things because I thought they were done for heavenly gain, not monetary gain. I'm heading out to get an application right now.

TCL November 21, 2008 9:59 am  

Does tipping the alter boy conform with a particular country's tipping habit? Tip the alter boy in the U.S. but don't tip the alter boy in Germany?

Saw a sign a barmaid in Hong Kong put out:

"Tipping, it's not a city in China."

Anonymous,  November 21, 2008 10:09 am  

I didn't know altar boys got paid. I literally lost my taste for religion years ago. I remember being in Catholic school as a little kid and the nun threw me out of the class for asking if Jesus was Mary Magdalene's husband. I was 7 years old!

If expats complain all the time in blogs, I can only imagine how they are in forums which is why I stay away from those. I can't believe a woman complained about a Maid not washing her car. Poor thing!! Indeed you have to laugh at their ignorance.

Anonymous,  November 21, 2008 11:46 am  

Oh, My god! You were such a smart boy when you were only ten!

But I always think every boy want be an Altar Boy because that's a holy job. Maybe I really don't understand Catholicism.

Ed November 21, 2008 12:29 pm  

Another good reason to elope...

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 21, 2008 6:14 pm  

@ Annie Ha: yep - you owe him big time

@ Primal Sneeze: they don't come much bigger

@ Nick: I look at it as a saving grace

@ Miles: Make fun of a nun - feel the pain - Feck Arse Drink girdles

@ Baino: lol - It was probably all that pent up sexuality he was exuding

@ Broke: there's money in religion - just watch cable TV and you'll see

@ TCL: Once I was cast out I lobbied for non tipping - it corrupted a young soul like me

@ LoN: Jesus was allowed hang out with prostitutes but we get busted if we go within ten feet - what's up with that?

@ iWalk: I still don't understand catholicism

@ VE: Yes - good call on that one

Megan November 21, 2008 11:02 pm  

My brother got out of being an altar boy, because we were in the back room of the rectory with da counting the collection, watching the 49er games, and eating doughnuts. Every Sunday. The coin counting machine was the best. And then after 12:30 mass one of the priests would come in for the "final count."

No, we never gave short count. We knew that the heavens would rain down upon us if we so much as pocketed a dime!

Shaunj November 22, 2008 8:39 am  

Opera upgrade sorts it out :)

Yeah those pesky Sacristans.

It seems they were taking a leaf out of the holy spirits book.
Their hands were "everywhere".

For your sake I hope they weren't everywhere though. :0

Anonymous,  November 22, 2008 4:04 pm  

Ould bollix indeed.
Not in the least surprised.
(btw: my kids loved the fact that you had a picture of Fr. Jack on your blog)

Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 23, 2008 10:05 am  

@ Megan: yep - we had the counting machine for the collection too - i loved that part of the 'job'

@ R2K: You're a man of few words

@ Shaunj: thankfully I avoided the hands on people - glad yer browser is sorted

@ Wandermom: Fr Jack rocks! - like R2K above he's a man of few words

Anonymous,  November 23, 2008 3:42 pm  

That's just hilarious :D
Don't you love the Church for being so.....uh, I think I am missing a name for that here :)
Cheers, Nicole
(coming from Expat bloggers)

Anonymous,  November 24, 2008 9:37 am  

First visit here, loved the story.


Paddy in BA (Quickroute) November 24, 2008 7:09 pm  

@ Nicole: Yes - it's hard to come up with words for the church for many things

@ Argentum Vulgaris: Cheers and thanks for dropping in

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