Monday, June 21, 2004

Yesterday was "Father's Day."

But did you know that today is "Fathers' Day" - the sacred holiday when Catholics list off their assorted priests and share tidbits about them?

And... go!

1. Father George
TENURE: St. Joseph's (1986-1994)
NICKNAME: Georgey-Boy

It's Fall 1993 and I'm in the sixth grade. Me, my pops, and a group of fellow rock-n-rollers (including kindly Father George) head to St. Louis to catch a few Cardinals' games. The major highlight? Since we're "on vacation" and no one wants to go to boring, old church... Father George holds mass in our hotel room! The 5-minute ceremony consists of a brief opening, an even briefer homily, and a ramshackle communion ritual where we pass around travel-sized wine and hosts (Father George happened to bring them in his luggage).

2. Father Cosgrove

TENURE: St. Joseph's (1994-1999)
NICKNAME: Cozzey-Coz (pronounced Cahzee-Cahz)

Spring 1998 and I'm a sophomore at Gehlen Catholic. My friends and I are chillin' on some benches after lunch (it's not recess, okay?! it's, like, a recess... for grown-ups!) and we're talkin' to Father Cosgrove (who lived in the rectory which was a stone's throw - or casted stone? ha - away from the school).

COSGROVE: How're you guys spending your summer?
US: We're acting in a production of "Jesus Christ Superstar!"
COSGROVE: That'll be nice.
US: You gonna' come?!
COSGROVE: No. (beat) I've read the book.


3. Father Mark
TENURE: ???? (1988-????)
NICKNAME: Father Mark

Father Mark wasn't a priest at my church, St. Joseph's. He was in one of the, you know, "far-away rural churches." Consequently, you didn't see him every Sunday at mass and double-consequently, you didn't get to know very well (i.e. he was kind of weird). The only times you did see him is when they needed extra priests at the large all-school reconcilliation assemblies or... when he came into your classroom during the first grade to play the host of his own religious "TV game show."

OFFICIAL GAME RULES: Father Mark stands at the front of the room and you and a fellow classmate face-off before him - battling to see who can be the first to answer a Catholicism-related question. Questions included: "What are stained-glass windows?" or "Who is your pope?" or "Why on earth does Father Mark subject us to this?" He was great though. He'd get into the game like a genuine TV game-show host - like if kids got too loud, he'd say, "Quiet on the set, everybody. Quiet on the set." What?!

ANYWAY: In case you didn't know, the reason your parents had more kids than you is so brothers and sisters can exchange school-yard gossip and class-time doo-dah. In this case, my older sister Anne and her class would also be blessed with Father Mark's game-show presence. Apparently, two of her classmates grew tired of this game and let it be known. Anne joyously related this story to me:

(FATHER MARK is conducting a game when suddenly BOY #1 stands up from his desk, flipping it over)
BOY #1: This game sucks!
(BOY #2 also stands up, flipping over his own desk)
BOY #2: No shit!

This story tantalized me to no end.


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