Well-handled Distractions
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 85
    The thread about noisy work environments reminded me of anecdotes about priests, musicians or others managing to carry on with the task at hand despite strange distractions. Share yours?

    I was in the choir loft when two women in the pews got into a spat that nearly came to blows. No one batted an eye and the Mass went on without a pause. I don't think the priest even looked up, except perhaps in secret (he was the sort who keeps his eyes down).

    Some years ago we had a good organist in to play in a makeshift situation on a holiday: using a cheap digital keyboard. He tore through the music with dramatic gusto on the wobbly keyboard and all at once, in the midst of a very solemn piece, all the binders of sheet music cascaded down onto the keys, hitting a bunch of buttons on the way. All sorts of drum and trumpet sounds began playing, and the organist looked desperately for the on/off switches for things. I was so proud that the little choir didn't miss a single note.

    This one is not mine: a friend once said the only time he ever saw a priest flinch while celebrating Mass was when a chandelier broke loose and crashed into the pews, nearly (but not quite!) hitting someone.

  • Marc Cerisier
    Posts: 377
    When I played for my grandmother's funeral, the toaster/organ "crashed" (early 70s Baldwin), which was surprising, but didn't phase the cantor. The mic he was using was wired, but handheld and had a long cord, so without missing a beat (I guess he had memorized whichever song it happened during), he walked over to the outlet, unplugged it, plugged it back in, and then I came right back in like nothing had happened. It was interesting.

    In the 12 years I worked in Memphis, there are too many odd occurances to even remember—a mentally "troubled" individual walking in during the homily at a school mass, walking to the front of the main aisle, then starting to undress... Countless ambulances called for those who passed out during confirmation services... Legs broken when lectors missed a step coming down from the ambo... Power going out right before the Rite of Election, and having to run around to setup some battery powered speaker/mics and then the MC running from person to person during the liturgy with the one working mic...

    Church work is not without interest...
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,388
    Church work is not without interest...


    It's not for the wimpy, either. I think you have to be pretty strong.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • TCJ
    Posts: 597
    I can think of several:

    1. A girl's hair caught fire while I was singing the introit. A number of people were screaming, I was singing (I didn't stop), and one person had sense enough to actually do something instead of scream. Disaster averted.

    2. People sit in the loft. It's really supposed to be overflow seating, but nobody has stopped them from coming up and it's really not going to change. That in itself is a distraction, but even worse is when parents give their kids keys to play with.

    3. A little kid trying to play with the microphones while I was playing the organ. I gave the parents a dirty look, but I couldn't move from the bench.

    4. Little kids pulling the fire alarms during Mass.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Gamba
    Posts: 91
    An older man, possibly heavily medicated or visually impaired, came in to light a candle during the Gloria. He threw the lit match into a cardboard box full of candle ends, which promptly caught fire in a big way. Father (at the VP altar) was the only one who saw, and trekked back into the sacristy and sent a sacristan back with an extinguisher. He was back in time to sing the Collect, and no one knew until they saw the ashes after Mass.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • VP?
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Gamba
    Posts: 91
    Versus populum; facing the people.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • StimsonInRehabStimsonInRehab
    Posts: 1,326
    We had a protester start shouting about the "abomination of the Catholic Church" at the collect during High Mass one Sunday. Two ushers politely escorted her out.

    The congregation later came out to find their cars decorated with pamphlets advertising "free psychological help" to those who had been violated by "priest predators of the Catholic Church". One of the altos later said she called the number, got ahold of the lady, called her a scam artist (which she probably was), told her where to put her pamphlets, and that if she ever saw her again she would smash her car windows in.

    I love alto spunk.
  • Carol
    Posts: 326
    At one time our church had a big problem with flies near the altar. Msgr. would take the purificator and use it to swat the flies. When he left for another parish, we had a good-bye dinner and my mother presented him with the gift of a set of liturgically colored fly swatters and a parody song that went to the tune of "Sweet Betsy From Pike" with a final line " ...we often would call him 'The Lord of the Flies'."
    Thanked by 1CHGiffen
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 9,388
    We had, a few years back, a street person who came into an early Sunday morning mass looking for trouble. When challenged by an usher - former football player - street bum swung at him. Big mistake. Next thing you know, bum is knocked down, dragged out the door, and being held on the ground with a gun pointed at his head until police arrive. Distracting, but handled well.
    Thanked by 2Carol StimsonInRehab