In five hours, New Zealand time, we begin Lent — 40 days of prayer, fasting and penance — in the lead up to Easter.
Since this is a humor blog, I will begin my Lent by republishing a favorite about two great priests who were incredibly funny in very different ways.
Archimandrite Stephen was bigger than life and perfect for his ministry in media and evangelization. He could preach up a storm. And he so loved to laugh. Heeheeheehee.
On his generous girth:
“I’m an Archimandrite in the Melkite Greek Catholic tradition. As you can see, we’re rather fluffy. Hahahahah.”
“As you know, your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. So why would you want a little ol’ prayer chapel when you could have a Grand Basilica with a Rotunda? Hohohoho.”
On being the only Catholic in a Louisiana family renown for producing Assembly of God preachers:
“I’m the family black sheep. And I love to tell my cousins that I’m the favorite of our departed relatives because I’m the only one praying to get them out of Purgatory. Hehhehhehheh.”
On Catholic teachings (when a kiwi TV interviewer was beating him up because the Church won’t recognize gay marriages):
“I’ll tell you something even crazier. We won’t marry a man and a woman who are living together in sin unless the stop and go to confession. Can you believe THAT? Hehhehhehheh.”
On being a tad theatrical when speaking to our Auckland Eucharistic Convention:
“I need one of those lapel mikes. I want to be able to walk around the stage and show off for your Bishop.”
And then, there was Father Angland, 75, my first Parish Priest in Auckland.
He was half the size of Father Barham, but equally hilarious in his no-nonsense, Kiwi way.
Once, when he asked me to distribute holy communion at Mass, I declined.
For you see, Catholics believe Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said His Flesh was true food, and His Blood true drink.
“I can’t. I’m not worthy,” I said, prompting Father Angland to lovingly reply:
“Don’t be stupid.
“Of course you’re not worthy.
“But somebody’s got to do it.”
Rest in Peace, Archimandrite Stephen and Father Angland.
And happy Lent to all y’all from Nu Zillans.