Holy Crap There Was a Lot of Crying at the Men’s CRHP Weekend!

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Tear flowed like a river, said people on the campus of St. Joseph Calasanz Catholic Church during the most recent CRHP weekend for men.  CRHP stands for Christ Renews His Parish, a spiritual rebirth program that has spread like a crying virus throughout the country.

Observers could not believe how much crying happened.  “The janitor had to bring an extra mop to clean up the floor” after the CRHP brothers left for their closing mass, according to a St Joe’s parishioner.

Outsiders have speculated if readings from The Book of Lamentations, renowned as the saddest book in the Bible, are part of CRHP.  But insiders say no, they generate their own sadness without the help of scripture.

Stories told by redeemed Christians were said to cause the crying.  Although retreat participants were sworn to secrecy, hints of the stories leaked out.  Babies being born and serendipitous meetings with future wives were among the most cry-inducing stories.

“Every time somebody mentioned his kid being born the room erupted in tears” according to one participant who requested anonymity.

Stories about overcoming addiction and dabbling in other religions, although common, did not seem to induce tears.

CRHP participants stay over night on church grounds and are advised to bring several t-shirts because of how wet their clothing gets from all the crying.  Weeping often happens in hugs with other men.

Red-eyed CRHPers interviewed mentioned the ancient Greek notion of Catharsis – a spiritual rebirth caused by the release of emotion through intense weeping, is an integral part of the benefit CRHP brings to participants.

“Sometimes you just need a good cry,” one said.

The women’s CRHP retreat is the weekend after next and is expected to yield at least as many tears as the Men’s retreat.

Mephistopheles upset nobody knows his name

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The demon Mephistopheles has reportedly been in a deep depression lately, sparked by the failure of most mortals to know or be able to pronounce his name.

Mephistopheles, most well known from the German story of Faust, makes deals with humans on a regular basis. His modus operandi is to propose and execute a contract trading the human soul in return for Earthly riches, power, or prestige.

Mephistopheles reportedly complained to friends about a lack of name recognition. “When I show up in a cloud of smoke, everybody thinks I’m Lucifer or Beelzebub,” he reportedly said, referring to other famous demons.

“Even that Rolling Stones song mentions Lucifer”, he said, about to the 1969 classic Sympathy for the Devil. “What, Jagger couldn’t pronounce Mephistopheles?”

Second Collection for Yet Another Building

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Mass-goers at St Anne’s were not surprised when a second collection was announced to raise money for another building on the church campus. “Another year, another building campaign”, said Monty Ferguson, long-time member of St. Anne’s. Parishioners interviewed agreed that the church’s main function appears to be constructing facilities.

Spirit in the Sky Bishops’ Favorite Song

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At the summer meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” was voted favorite song.

Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” was runner-up in the lighthearted poll which was conducted by voice vote during lunch on the second day of the conference.

Other tunes getting mentions included some early U2 works and George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”, even if it is about Hinduism.

Interviews with individual bishops indicated that the industry category of Christian Rock was considered a marketing gimmick and most music in that category was “pretty lame” in the words of one prelate.

Parish Now Serves Fair Trade Coffee; Says This Counts for Social Justice Work

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St Phillip Catholic Church recently switched the coffee served at parish functions to a brand designated “free trade” by international watch organizations. The free trade coffee will be offered after Mass on Sundays and at all formal gatherings and celebrations, according to Mary Beth Perkins, chair of the social justice committee.

Unlike conventional coffee sold at supermarkets, free trade coffee does not involve multi-billion dollar middleman distributors who take advantage of small coffee growers in South America. Instead, the middleman distributor is a smaller multi-million dollar operation that puts a cute little “fair trade certified” logo on the package.

The coffee at St Phillip comes from Ethical Edible Industries, according to Perkins. Ethical buys coffee beans from growers at 11 cents/bushel (in contrast to the 9 cents/bushel that the big companies pay). Ethical grinds and roasts the beans and sells the coffee directly to socially conscious groups. St Phillip members say the new coffee satisfies their obligation to work for social justice.

“It’s mighty good” said Jorge Ramirez, sipping some of the socially acceptable brew after the 9:30 Mass last Sunday. “And it’s fair trade!”

Fair trade coffee, formerly known as free trade coffee, has been growing in popularity at parishes throughout the country.

St Phillip members said they preferred this method of social justice work to directly helping dumb poor in the community, many of whom are lazy and just living off government handouts instead of working.

“I feel better knowing the small farmer is making a decent wage for his labors,” said Jim Fiveash, before getting into his Cadillac Escalade with an estimated 8 mpg.

Easter Vigil Congregation Screams for Freebird

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Holy Angels’ Easter Vigil Mass took on shadings of a 1970s stadium rock concert as parishioners refused to exit at the end the service and instead called for the choir to play Freebird. Hundreds of parishioners die-hard enough in their faith to sit through the 4-hour vigil mass, acted spontaneously as a group in calling for the beloved rock anthem.

Many in the pews held candles issued before the liturgy began. A large number of people held up the lit candles and chanted “Freebird!” according to Deacon Sandy White who witnessed the event.

Freebird, written and first recorded by the 1970s rock band Lynard Skynard, has become a shibboleth for concert-goers in the years since, many of whom ironically call out for it at rock concerts.

The congregation was feeling anything but ironic after the Vigil mass according to those in attendance. “The Holy Spirit was moving the people to cry out for FREEBIRD” said Veronica Henderson.

Choir director Wes Stodden said neither his vocalists nor his guitarists and drummers knew Freebird well enough to perform it, and the Holy Spirit did not seem to work the chords and lyrics through them.

As a result, the congregation exited the church frustrated until they got to the parish hall and saw all the food and drink prepared for the new converts.

Vatican II unpopular, but implementation of Vatican II gets high approval

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A nationwide survey shows that the implementation of Vatican II is much more popular than the actual Council itself.

Catholics in all age groups in all parts of the United States say they don’t much like Vatican II but they love the implementation of Vatican II, according to polling done by Dayton University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate.

Vatican II, a series of meetings in Rome from 1962 to 1965 resulted in creation of 16 documents, most of which are rarely read by lay people. Heralded as a renaissance at the time, the council is now regarded with skepticism by conservative Catholics.

The skepticism has grown beyond just the self-styled Traditionalists to the church at large, according to the survey, which found most American Catholics take a dim view of the Council.

In contrast, however, most American Catholics give high marks to the implementation of the Council.   The implementation is rated higher than the Council itself, with large majorities of Catholics across all demographic groups rating it “good” or “excellent”.

Vatican II naysayers have long complained about the disparity between the Council and its implementation.

“People don’t understand this, but there was nothing in the Vatican II documents about mass in the vernacular or turning the priest toward the people or hiding the tabernacle down the hall” said Paul Vincent, a well-known conservative blogger and critic of the USCCB. “And that’s to say nothing of extraordinary Ministers of the Holy Eucharist or female altar servers.” Yet the survey shows that these changes to the liturgy are among the most popular with American Catholics.

“I’d just as soon see them announce Vatican II was all a mistake” said Melanie Johnson of Covington, Kentucky. “But don’t take away my liturgy in English and guitars during the exit hymn.”

“I certainly don’t want start using communion rails and have the priest turn his back on us during the Mass,” said Mark Swanson of Denver.  “I am against Vatican but we need to keep the Spirit of Vatican II.”

Most American Catholics were born after the council ended.

National Singles Conference to be Televised Next Year

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The National Catholic Singles Conference, operating since 2005, joins Reality Television as next year’s conference will be broadcast on ABC. Mike Fleiss, producer of the Bachelor franchise agreed with conference organizers to create a show inspired by “Bachelor in Paradise”. That popular show features attractive singles at a bungalow on Mexico’s Pacific coast. The new “Single Catholics in Purgatory” show has a similar premise. Each week 12 to 14 women and men will flirt with each other before the climactic Rosary Ceremony. Any single who does not receive a rosary goes home in a limousine and is encouraged to cry on camera.

Attendees at this year’s conference said they think the weekly culling of the contestant pool will focus everyone’s mind on marriage. “My main reason for marriage is to help my spouse get to heaven”, said Phil Williamson of Kansas City. “And did you see the bikini on that blond!”

Participants on the show will be between the ages of 24 and 35 and free to marry within the Church. Fleiss expects applicants from throughout the country. “We’re setting up a website where hopefuls can upload selfies and devotional prayers.”

Conference goer Mollie Henderson said the new show will give viewers “a healthier view of relationships” than other Bachelor franchises. “And will generate fewer STDs, I hope.”

 

National Catholic Singles Conference

Bachelor in Paradise

Knights of Columbus Emerge from Obscurity

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Mystified parishoners at St Augustine Church are confused by references to the Knights of Columbus in the bulletin. Are the Knights a para military organization? A para church group? An insurance company? No, says Grand Knight Jose Cruz, they’re a fraternal organization of guys who like to dress in funny outfits, much like Renaissance Fair participants.

Parishoner Robert Flannigan joined the Knights for the community and because he was liked the uniforms. “On the Flintstones, Fred and Barney were in the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes” he said. “The Knights are like that, only with more impressive hats”.

St Augustine mass-goers leaving the church are often approached by Knights looking to sell $10 bags of pecans or $15 bar-b-q plates. Raising money is part of the duty of a Knight, members say.

Knight Paul Graystone acknowledges the Girl Scouts are rivals for charitable dollars exchanged for food but he scoffs. “Sure those cookies are good, but what are a bunch of girls going to do with that money? A jamboree?” he asked. “The Knights are having a bash down at the Polynesian restaurant and the adult libations will be flowing all night”

Graystone also stressed the Knights’ insurance business as a ministry. “Whole life insurance policies are the best investment in uncertain times” he said, “no matter what that Suze Orman lady says.”