Humor in Church : LUSENET : Catholic Pages Forum : One Thread

Sometimes, we just have to have a sense of humor at church and not take things so seriously. Like our priest said when instructing all the alter servers and readers how to line up for the entrance procession, "If you stumble a little, turn it into a curtsy and keep going."

So, I just had to share a couple of humorous moments with you. One is a story from my grand parents in Hong Kong. They are very devout Roman Catholics and take mass on Sunday very seriously. Well, their serious demenor was sorely stretched shortly after Vatican II. See, all the poor priests in Hong Kong had to learn Chinese. Being a tonal language, this is a difficult language to learn. Still, everyone knew the readings and could follow along in the missal, so it didn't matter if the priests mispronounced something. Give them credit for doing so well with such a difficult language.

Well, one day, for the Gospel, the priest was bravely reading from the Chinese bible about the transfiguration of Christ. He got the pronunciation right but messed up on the tones. Would have been better if he messed them both up. As it was, instead of describing how the face of Jesus shone, he accidently said that Jesus had the face of a dirty alley cat! Well, everyone *knew* what he *meant* to say...which only made it worse! My poor grandparents struggled so hard to choke back their laughter!

Another cute incident was during the Easter celebrations a few years back. The air conditioning wasn't working, the church was packed, and everyone was wilting. Into the second hour, the priest was incensing around the alter, swinging the incense back and forth as he walked around the alter. Half way around, he swung it full circle. A small chuckle rippled through the tired congregation as he went back to his stately swing. Well, we all wondered where that came from. Just before the final blessing, he explained, "I just wanted to check to see if you were still awake...and my acolytes bet me that I wouldn't do it!"

Anyone else with some fun church bloopers?

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998


I think God wants us to be cheerful (He wants us to be able to give an account of our hope and our joy -- so we have to be hopeful and joyful!) But, we also have to be reverent and have "fear of God". There's a happy medium there, and often reverence can lead to cheerfulness (Mass usually plants a smile on my face without Father having to crack jokes in his homily).

God bless, Paul

PS. Mind you, it's incredibly endearing when the Holy Father makes a humorous off-the-cuff remark. But it would send people into a tizzy if he did it while he was incensing the altar!

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

I am a Roman Catholic Seminarian and disagree with your proposition. I belive the church has greatly suffered from the lack of seriousness in the mass. With the loss of the dogma of sin being preached, and the loss of reverence I am against any palying around at the crucifiction of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mass is only one to two hours a week for those people who only go to mass on the day of obligation. People should be more serious than amused at mass they can turn on the T.V. anytime let the mass for the total worship of God. I'm not saying that there are not mistakes that happen at mass but they are to be avoided not accepted and agreed with. As for the statment that the priest swung the incense to joke around at the incensing of the alter, that was not right in my opinion, because he should be taking the task seriously. Yes God has humor, but let's leave it out of the Sacred Liturgy! Remember that's just My opinion!

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

Esther, I agree with you. No one is saying "let's yuck it up" at Mass but sometimes our humanity, which we unfortunately drag with us even in our most profound prayer, demands spontaneity and humor. Recently one of our Lectors had an enormous problem getting the words out...he apologized and said, "this is live, not tape". We all laughed and appreciated his gaffe and his comment because that was loveable, human and forthright and in no way demeaned the sacredness of the Mass. One of the holiest priests I even had the good fortune to know always began Mass with a warm, witty remark, which put everyone at ease, although no one I have ever seen was more reverent, particularly during the canon and consecration. I don't know how amused I would have been at the spinning incense, but that is just because I am in love with ritual that is well done and I said, I'm a floor kisser! :-) I don't think I would fault the priest at all for trying to wake people up in a hot two hour mass, though. We need to find the happy medium that does exist between too little humor and too much. My opinion (and it's somewhere up there in the thread, I think regarding when Jesus walked the earth) is that Jesus had a great sense of humor, and little patience for "stick in the muddism" - I don't think Jesus much liked the kind of "holy men" who had their sense of their own "holiness" up their butts. A cousin of mine who is a Capuchin priest has told me that the last thing his community has any tolerance for is the novice who takes himself too seriously. I am always reminded of the rule of St. Benedict, wherein Benedict himself says that the rule was meant to bend so as to not break or bruise the reed. There is a place between reverence that all but suffocates and irreverence, but like everything good, it's probably difficult to master.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

I can accept that we all have some moments that we remember. I have been the Master of Ceramonies at a few Liturgical functions and let me tell you it is not a job for the weak in spirit (or shot nerves for that matter) When looking back some events are funny, but even that candle that would not stay lit believe me was not funny at the time, and to interject humor into the Sacred Liturgy is wrong.

-- Anonymous, July 09, 1998

well we had an unknown leak in the ceiling, and when it started to rain, our preist was reading his text, and after awhile,the water started to drop all over and he couldn't read it so he said: and since I can no longer ead this I will have to make it up as I go along .... Laura

-- Anonymous, July 10, 1998

I think Humor has a place in Church just as well as seriousness. There is a time and place for everything....No one is going to make a joke about the Passion of Our Lord during mass, thats just insane to even consider it in the same vein as making a mistake into a chuckle. God, afterall , gave us a sense of humor...I only wish Scripture reflected this better. My students used to ask me if Jesus had a sense of humor since Scripture never says that he laughed or joked. I do believe he don't think watching Peter sink wasn't funny? I think humor in church is used gently and certainly is not like a comedy club so why must the most joyful of occasions...the Holy Liturgy not reflect this joy. Christianity suffers from too many folks who look like the Good News is not.

-- Anonymous, July 11, 1998

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