While the rest of the nation is focused intensely on the presidential campaign, St. Agnes parish is becoming embroiled in a serious controversy.
It all started when Trudy Smith, longtime extraordinary minister at the Sunday ten o’clock, up and keeled over during the annual parish Quilt-a-Thon last week.
“It just happened so fast,” said Ginny Sitka, who was sitting across from Trudy at the quilting table. “Myrtle McGuire was jabbering away like she usually does, you know, without thinking, and she said something about last year’s winning quilt, which was Trudy’s, being ‘okay, but nothing to dance with the cat over.’ Well, I saw Trudy get this look on her face and I thought for certain I knew what was coming next. But all of a sudden she just made a funny little sound and fell out of her chair. Poor thing.”
Trudy’s passing was mourned by the other parishioners, but their sadness soon turned to rancor as they began to fight over who should replace her in the extraordinary minister line-up.
On one side of the battle are those supporting Gwen Bobbins, current member of the Ladies of St. Perpetua and vice-chair of the Bingo Committee. On the other side are the avid supporters of Harriet Shelby, who leads the Younger than Ever Seniors Rosary Group and placed second in this year’s Holiday Bake Fest.
While no resolution to the conflict appears imminent, the two warring factions have agreed to present the young pastor, Fr. Jake, with a list of qualifications that both groups have agreed the new extraordinary minister should have.
A copy of the agreed-upon qualifications was recently obtained. It reads as follows:
- Must be over eighty. Preferably over ninety.
- Must be willing to wear high heels on the altar to show that women are church.
- Must be able to work effectively within a team of thirty-eight other extraordinary ministers at each Mass.
- Must be able to exhibit visible disgust with people who want to receive Communion on the tongue.
- Must have demonstrated inability give Communion on the tongue without great difficulty.
- Parkinsons disease and/or rotator cuff injury a must (See no. 4).
- Despite arm handicap, must be willing and able to use broad sweeping hand gestures to confer blessings on babies.
- Despite inability to reach upward (see no. 5), must also be completely unable to reach slightly downward to someone who tries to receive on their knees.
- In absence of priest, must be willing and able to preside over Communion service, including vestments and homily.
- Must be willing to correct the pastor if he begins to exhibit any signs of male hierarchical dominance syndrome.
So will it be Gwen?…or Harriet?
The world, or at least St. Agnes parish, waits breathlessly.
Meanwhile, Fr. Jake was last seen calling his bishop to ask for a re-assignment.