Help! The thurible's on fire! A tale of a Benediction nightmare...
  • So we've been livestreaming Adoration and Benediction every Friday evening after the 7pm Mass, and this particular time, after Father imposed incense into the thurible, one of the resin grains caught fire and put the whole thing in flames...

    I ran to the credence and grabbed a water cruet, poured the whole thing in the thurible, and then Father "incensed" the Blessed Sacrament with what was basically steam.

    I was worried his chasuble and the altar cloth would catch fire, but luckily, that didn't happen...

    Enjoy this story!
  • More exciting and amusing in the telling than in the event itself. Thanks.
    Thanked by 1cesarfranck
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,838
    I have told this before, but...

    One Easter Vigil, after starting the fire outside, the ushers brought the brazier still burning into the church and placed it in the center aisle. It smoked out the choir in the loft and left smoke residue on items within the church. The following year, they left the fire outside but somehow set fire to the mulch around the planting beds. After that, the pastor decided candles were safer and only allowed enough fire outside to light candles. If you didn't think ushers can be dangerous, think again.
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 690
    A boy told me that one year the chain broke just at the peak of a vigorous swing, send the thurible flying against the wall of the sanctuary and bouncing across the floor, coals scattering.
  • If it was live streamed, does that mean it is archived somwhere??? That sounds like something that should be archived!
  • Carol
    Posts: 805
    Once, when the celebrant was blessing the congregation with Holy Water, the top part flew off right at my teenage brother who caught it in an amazing display of quick reaction time! As you can imagine, we tried very hard to contain our snickering with only moderate success. My mother and father reined us in with "the look" which has not been perfected by most modern parents.
    Go to "previous broadcasts" after you hit play. The archive probably won't be up much longer as we tend to delete our broadcasts...
  • If any of you decide to record that bit, send it to me!
  • Elmar
    Posts: 484
    That's really a great one (@ 38:00)!
    Seems that it can be downloaded with 'Video Download Helper' as browser-add-on (predicted file size 1018MB, though, for the entire live stream)

    What a pity that you were doing everything BEHIND the altar. Good acolyte: you even cared to bow before running away to get the water, and again after extinguishing!

    The best one I experienced was: an altar bell falling off in action and rolling all the way across the sanctuary (marble floor).

    Reminds me some old youtube finds.
    An old one, still funny:
    Never use a microphone:
    Dangers of communion on the tongue:

    Better read your rubrics carefully!
    "15. Si hostia consecrata, vel aliqua eius particula dilabatur in terram, reverenter accipiatur, et parum aquae in locum ubi cecidit fundatur et purificatorio abstergatur.
    Si cadat super vestes, non est necesse ut indumentum abluatur.
    Si super vestes mulieris cadat, ipsa particulam accipiat et sumat." (my emphasis)

    (Missale Romanum (1962) p.LXVIII; De defectibus in celebratione missae occurentibus:
    X - De defectibus in ministerio ipso occurrentibus)
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • I have four interesting (non-music) anecdotes to share:

    In the middle of exposition and benediction years ago, I heard this crashing noise from the sanctuary. Not the monstrance or thurible: the boat fell and scattered incense grains everywhere.

    Another time I was an acolyte during High Mass and smelled an odd burning from the sacristy. My friend and I went back there and found a hot coal burning into the carpet.

    A few months ago I was serving High Mass and the M.C., just before the preface, had me go scrambling with a sacristan to look for low-gluten communion hosts. We found them just as Father elevated the species. :/

    Last story: I slit my thumb open on a candle lighter before serving a Low Mass and the priest, bandaging it, jokingly said, "Let daddy take care of it." That same morning I burned another finger on hot wax and it left a raised blister.
    Thanked by 3Elmar tomjaw CHGiffen
  • @Elmar - I've been pushing for Ad Orientem, even to go so far as that I'm actually teaching my associate pastor how to say the TLM Low Mass, but alas, the Hamilton Diocese has banned Ad Orientem in the NO...

    I once cut my hand on an altar bell while serving a TLM Low Mass. It was at the epiclesis so I just had to wait it out until after Communion, when I went to the sacristy and put a bandage on it...
    Another time, the bell fell right off as I was ringing it for the last time...

    One of our priests at the Cathedral has a bad habit of swinging the thurible way too close to the altar, such that he's hit the altar a good 3 times as far as I can remember.

    Then, there was the time the electronic organ started making boom sounds that almost sounded like gunshots, and one of the concelebrating priests hid behind a pole.

    The worst liturgical mishap I've ever been part of took place last August. I had a quartet at my church singing the 11am Mass. We'd just begun the concluding hymn and had sung the first verse when the deacon approaches me and tells me "you have to stop, we need to do the announcements!"
  • Elmar
    Posts: 484
    Your life as an acolyte seems a rather interesting one!

    While I don't see the point in banning ad orientem in the NO Mass - why not just allow for legitimate differences within the rubrics? - doing Adoration/Benediction this way seems rightout stupid to me: the congregation sees even less than when the priest 'turns his back to the people'. I've never seen it done this way here in Holland (if it's done at all...) neither have I in Germany in my youth.
    Thanked by 1tomjaw
  • Schönbergian
    Posts: 1,063
    Elmar, many of us don't see the point in these seemingly arbitrary directives in Hamilton.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • ...resin grains caught fire...
    Humpf. That would never have happened with quality frankincense from an Orthodox moonastery.
    Thanked by 2Elmar CharlesW
  • Elmar
    Posts: 484
    When you swing the thurible at a 60° angle for several minutes as Casavant Organist did, you get the coal hot enough to even burn tarmac. We've got an acolyte who masters even swinging above horizontal! You can see the metal glow in the dark. And he uses the altar bells like a change ringer, with an upper turning point at approximately ear hight... our pastor loves it because it extends elevation to at least (twice) 15 seconds! (OF versus populum, mind you)
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • CCoozeCCooze
    Posts: 1,259
    Did anyone download it? I only see this morning's Mass in the "previous" options.
  • There will be incense tomorrow at the 10am Mass... and the flames were not visible on the livestream. But in any case, I only ring those bells in the manner that I do because they're triple-tongued per each bell. (They also have a tone that I quite dislike...) I recently ordered a new set of bells (Basilica Standing, check Biretta Books if you want to see it). Perhaps they will be better for the more "traditional" way of ringing.

    That thurible likely doesn't have enough holes to get that hot with the lid closed. I ordered another one and it's also on its way. One of my biggest pet peeves has been the coals not getting hot enough. I've been wanting to use "real" charcoal briquettes for a while now (with an electric burner) as was suggested in Louis Tofari's Romanitas Press article. But for now, anyways, to mitigate the low heat level on those self-lighting charcoals, I use 2 or 3 of them each time in order to really get the incense burning. On a livestreamed Mass the visual really matters so I really like to get it going. Unfortunately, those self-lighting charcoals love to explode while being lit, and even still like to flame up during use, so I make do with what I have.

    Thurifers should always have a spare water cruet standing by! I don't know what I would've done if there hadn't been water in the cruet.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • I should also mention that the thurible that I was using - I've had issues with it. The first time I accidentally hit it against the floor, the bottom came off and 3 of the 4 chains broke. A charcoal piece flew out onto the carpet. There's now a mark in the carpet where that charcoal landed. So I've always been very wary about swinging that thing too hard. When my new one gets in I'll probably be more confident with it - as it's used at the FSSP Seminary in Denton, as well as in many other places. The one I have right now was actually an Eastern Rite thurible with 12 bells which I had to cut off.
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 218

    Once, when the celebrant was blessing the congregation with Holy Water, the top part flew off

    Our abbot, at an oblate meeting, regaled us with a similar tale. When he was freshly ordained (this would be in Tridentine Mass days at the abbey, in the '60s), when blessing with holy water, the ball flew off the stem. Of course the monks could barely contain their snickering. As the abbot recounted "I was so angry at the monks for laughing. I took myself FAR too seriously in those days, now I can look back and laugh at it".

    I can imagine very upright monks of the Solesmes Congregation laughing at a Tridentine Mass. It must have been quite the sight!

    Thanked by 2Carol Elmar
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 1,131
    At our church, there are free standing pillars in the altar area. one day during choir practice, an older lady was goin up to the altar and leaned on the one of the pillars. It fell, missing the grand piano by inches and the top missed me by about a foot.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 690
    I've never seen it happen, but every Advent I spend Mass keeping an eye on the Advent Wreath, which I am sure is going to catch fire at any moment. Too many candles near too much decorative foliage.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • canadashcanadash
    Posts: 1,487
    Nice to see you here Casavant! I was just thinking about you and how you are doing. Glad all is going well.

    I didn't see the video... booo! That would have been good.

    Best wishes!
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • ...which I had to cut...
    I can hardly believe that you cut the bells off your Eastern thurible. This is awful! Not only are they there to be pleasing to us, they are also there to please God and to frighten evil spirits away.

    One year when I was playing for the Easter vigil at St Basil's Chapel at UST we had a ruckus over a toppled Paschal candle. The choir and organ console in Philip Johnson's chapel are in an enclosure near the ambo. During one of the readings, the candle (placed near the ambo) fell over, hit the low wall of the choir enclosure, flinging hot wax onto the organist (me!) and the great keyboard. Not surprisingly, this caused quite a stir. The candle was replaced, I survived, and the organ, with nicely waxed keys, came through beautifully.
    Thanked by 2Carol Elmar
  • It was not a very ornate Eastern thurible. I'll probably get a proper Eastern thurible some time. This one is really low quality and it was to fulfill a quick need since the single chain "simulacra" was burning my hand every time I wanted to open it.

    I'd have loved to keep the bells on it but unfortunately this was the best I could do...
    Thanked by 1M. Jackson Osborn
  • Well, okay.
  • This is what I'd love to get. It's beautiful.

    I'm sure I'll find the cash for it someday...
  • Nice!
    Thanked by 1Casavant Organist
  • I have three stories, all dealing with different Priests' first Mass:

    1. When I was in eighth grade (1968) at a Catholic grade school there was a deacon who I absolutely adored and he considered me as a friend and treated me as an adult. At the time I wanted to go into the Convent and he knew it. When I went to his First Mass he said, “The Body of Christ, Sister-To-Be”. I was so stunned, all I could say was “Thank You”.

    2. Later on I moved to Sarasota, Florida. There was a deacon from Ireland who was ordained at the church I attended. I went to his First Mass and everything went well until…the Final Blessing. He blanked and the congregation could see his eyes get large and quizzical. He quickly recovered his composure and after we said our “Thanks Be To God” we gave him a big round of applause.

    3. I have a cousin who was ordained a priest and I went to his First Mass. Everything was fine until Communion. I received the Body of Christ and as I headed back towards my pew I coughed. A tiny bit came out and fell on the floor. I was able to grab it right away (I know, I shouldn’t have touched it) and put it back in my mouth. It didn’t meet the definition of the “five-second rule”. I don’t know if anyone saw it happen (except God, His saints and His angels) because no one said anything.
    Thanked by 1Elmar
  • Elmar
    Posts: 484
    I received the Body of Christ and as I headed back towards my pew I coughed. A tiny bit came out and fell on the floor. I was able to grab it right away (I know, I shouldn’t have touched it) and put it back in my mouth. It didn’t meet the definition of the “five-second rule”. I don’t know if anyone saw it happen (except God, His saints and His angels) because no one said anything.
    That's exactly what I would do as well. Our church cleaning team is so efficient that you can eat from the floor indeed. If anyone had said anything, it would have to be how much you care about particles of the host in any circumstance!

    Speaking about particles: our corona rules stipulate that concelebration has to occur at 5ft. distance with one paten per priest and intiction by the concelebrants. Purification is a bit tricky and seems not to have priority... what did our former chaplain do, concelebrating with the bishop? He wiped over his paten and then licked his finger - on life stream of 'cathedral-TV'!
  • Advantage of covid: floors cleaner that they used to be.
    Thanked by 1Elmar