Attached is a blog book I wrote as for a church fundraiser. It’s funny. Take a read and send a donation. The Lord will bless you.
Other Funny Blessings
This book is dedicated to the Blessed Mother
Hello and Welcome to my little book of blogs created as a
St. Anastasia Church Fundraiser. I thank you for the purchase and if you are reading someone else’s copy you can make a donation to our church building fund at the following address:
St. Anastasia Catholic Church
5205 A1A South
St. Augustine, Florida 32080
We take credit cards!
I hope the blogs bring a smile to your face and maybe even a laugh.
Who Am I?
I am a Catholic born and bred in the faith and a newbie to the St. Anastasia Parish. While my faith has been my rock I admit to straying at times and not always being perfect in my practice. That is between God and me. I’m sure God has that ledger in the sky ready for me and when he calls my name but I’m confident he will let me in.
For 61 years I have followed the faith and though I may not agree with all its tenets I adhere as best I know how. Getting to this age I was grateful that I am no longer required to do the Lenten obligations. I no longer give up chocolate at Lent but instead I have tried to be a better person.
During this season I think less evil thoughts about the dogs barking in the condos around me. Since their sharp pitched bark can trigger ringing in my ears for as long as four hours this is quite a sacrifice. How I wish it was Lent as I write this passage.
In reading the church bulletin I scoped out the vast and varied offerings St. Anastasia Church had for the volunteer. While I fit almost every job title I decided to pray on it and make some calls and email others. Since I heard from the religious education gal first I decided to jump at the chance to be around young ones.
Anxious to make a good impression as my volunteer effort at another unnamed Catholic Church in the area was unsuccessful I contemplated what to wear for the interview. I decided on a knee length navy blue dress with pearls and pumps as I had googled the appropriate fashion for this type of interview.
As fate would have it I got the job and I will be working for the Lord and a 17-year-old young man with eight 4th graders. I’m finally employed again! Praise the Lord I have purpose.
I have always been uncomfortable speaking with priests. Since you tell them all those awful things you do in confession it’s a bit disconcerting. And now with confessing face to face they know it’s you that did that awful deed. No longer do they wonder was this the voice of the gal that cursed too much??
Since I wanted to write this blog book I knew I had to speak with Father about it. While in Adoration I “heard” it was time to go so I went. Low and behold who do you think I met on his rounds to check out the progress of the new building? You got it..
Why I Like Father and Our Parking Lot
I like our pastor a great deal. He is funny, keeps your attention during the homilies and is not afraid to say he’s forgotten one of the three announcements. The updates on the new building and especially the parking lot saga has been intriguing.
During one of these witty remarks regarding the parking lot debacle I recalled a parking lot situation at a former parish. While during mass all were reverent once out the church door a war like situation occurred with cars edging out other cars. This became particularly scary at Saturday night mass when cars dodged about parishioner’s in darkness.
The pastor finally intervened telling the parishioners to make sure their holiness continued into the church parking lot. I’m grateful that at the time of this writing our parking lot is almost completed.
Choosing the wrong pew
The other day at mass I came to learn we have assigned seating. While we don’t take a number or ticket folks tend to stay in the same pew for years. This must be one of those Florida rules I have not yet learned.
When I lived in the New York City area I loved to sit in different parts of the church. With the varied views of the altar this gave me a different perspective on mass. Nowadays I tend to stay in the front of the church as I usually forget my glasses for distance and I like to see everyone’s face on the altar.
It was to my dismay that at this mass I sat where someone normally sits. While they were gracious I have learned that seniors know how to get their point across so I moved. I escaped to the Adoration Room to continue my prayers in silence and shut the door as the social banter before mass can be deafening. I understand that social need.
Since the Adoration Room has a sign on the door saying to close the door due to air conditioning concerns I welcomed this rule and did so. Shortly into my praying a woman opened the door and the social banter blew in to the Adoration Room. When I asked her to close the door she walked over to my pew and wrapped her arm around me. While this was a “friendly” gesture I knew I would not win this one.
Another Florida lesson learned. Two in one day, maybe I’ll learn them more quickly this way.
The Sisters of St. Joseph were a brave order of women who came to St. Augustine from France in the 1800’s and they continue to serve our community today. Those who arrived in the 1800’s taught citizens regardless of sex, race, and ethnicity and are buried on the grounds of La Leche Chapel, one of the most beautiful and peaceful places on the face of the Earth. This is a wonderful tribute to their service.
We in our parish are blessed with our founding sister. She is from Ireland and a true delight. After attending many masses and attempting to decide if this was the place for me she introduced herself, signed me up and I met several parishioners within 10 minutes. The Holy Spirit was giving me a shove through her actions.
As I watch this woman I wonder at all she accomplishes. She knows people by name, can recall their living situations and where they would be a good fit for the parish. She is a one woman show and did I tell you she can even sing. 😊
Church Volunteers: The Deacons
Another volunteer opportunity came about in this week’s bulletin. It is saying the rosary before 10:30 mass. I decided to check out this mass before calling the coordinator and will have to give up my Sunday Morning show to do this, but, I need to learn how to DVR anyway. On this show, I learned that Jim Gaffigan is a comedian. He is quite funny however I was only familiar with him through church documentaries. Interesting.
Back to 10:30 mass… Since I am a parish newbie I am unfamiliar with the names of the Deacons. When I am unaware of or can’t recall names, I give people nicknames according to what I know about them. There is Deacon West Point and Deacon New York but at 10:30 mass I see another Deacon. I decide to call him Deacon Three Children as that is what he spoke of in his very entertaining homily.
Kidding aside, I have watched the service these men give to the parish and I am amazed at their contribution to God and the church. They are truly a holy group and are a blessing to our parish and such an asset to Father. In viewing my Groupon specials, I see Jim Gaffigan is appearing in Jacksonville, and after hearing Deacon Three Children discuss his wife’s childbirth in today’s homily I think there is a place for him in Jim’s show.
Senior Activity for the Week: I will learn and remember the Deacon’s names. The second part will be the hardest, perhaps I’ll need a jingle for recall, but this time I’ll keep it a secret.
As I arrive late to mass I notice everyone else is also. I have to attend 10:30 mass more often as it gives me an extra 5 minutes. This will be especially helpful when the bridge gates are up.
Walking in are families speaking of Asian tongue and I reflect on my days in Fort Lee, New Jersey where 60% of the population were Korean. I am hopeful this is the English mass. Taking a breath I step back, re-read the bulletin and see no mention of mass being in an Asian language so I am okay. This is especially good to know as it is the last mass of the weekend and I don’t want to miss it.
There is much diversity at this mass and I am thankful for the “Family Room.” Over thirty years ago not all churches had this and it was such an embarrassment for those of us with children. Without these rooms little of the mass was heard and while others around you smiled I knew what they were thinking. Now children can joyfully color and prance around as their parents hear the word of the Lord.
The homily is entertaining and speaks to our labors and the need for fertile soil. I believe the word of God has fallen on my fertile soil and I decide I will attempt to say the rosary before 10:30, (or 10:35) mass.
Saying the Rosary
As I drive to church I am nervous. Prior to my departure I saw my neighbor and wanted to relay my ear situation and thank her for keeping her dog quiet. Once I said the word dog she got loud and I knew this wasn’t a win so told her I’d pray for her and walked away.
Arriving at church I walk in and realize I have forgotten my envelopes, then realize I forgot my back pillow. I have made 3 trips from the parking lot however the greeter at the door pretends she doesn’t notice and smiles each time. We make conversation regarding the dark sky and pending storm.
Once settled in church I cannot find the choir director to get the microphone to say the rosary. I decide to begin and introduce myself however tell them my name is Lois Jones if they have complaints about me to Father. No laughter comes from this comment. I ask for volunteers as I explain I feel the rosary is a community prayer but no one volunteers. I now know I am in trouble. Can they fire me for saying the rosary?
Into the second decade a senior parishioner hands me a microphone, calls me dear and wraps her arm around me. As stated earlier I don’t like to be hugged by strangers. I recently found out neither does Jerry Seinfeld, I am in good company. I try the microphone, it is very loud and my ears begin to ring. I continue without it.
As I say the third decade, Descent of the Holy Spirit, loud rain begins to pour onto the roof of the church. I say the Holy Spirit is with us today. While I didn’t consider it a joke, I get glares.
After the rosary the woman who has been in the second row loudly saying the rosary supporting me tells her name is Janet Jones. We share a laugh but I think I best stay with religious education.
Another Florida lesson learned.
The founding Father of St. Anastasia Church is conducting 10:30 mass. He is an 80 something Irishman with a wit second to none. It is never dull with this holy man and you always leave with something to think about.
Today’s mass begins with a recount of his 20-hour flight from his homeland where he returned from last night. It was dry in Ireland and he was hoping for the same in Florida. As I said in the previous blog all h-ll broke lose during the recitation of third decade of the rosary, Descent of the Holy Spirit. There was heavy, loud rain, thunder and crackling lightning.
As he continues to talk he tells us he is wet down to his underwear from walking to church from the parking lot. He further states he considered removing all these garments as no one would notice under his robe. However, he decided against it because if anyone ever found out he’d never live it down. The congregation begins to howl knowing the celebration has only begun.
When I evacuated during the hurricane to Foley, Alabama I found a beautiful, simple church and often went there to pray. I made a deal with God saying I’d buy the church fundraiser, (a former church roof tile with an angel painted on it), if he protected my home. I bought the tile and upon return to St. Augustine I found he answered my prayer. This tile now stands in my garden as a fond remembrance to my journey and the people of Foley who were so kind to me.
It is always interesting to attend other churches. As I attend a different St. Augustine church this morning I see a diverse crowd. There is a young seminarian at mass. He is praying ardently and I think, “God, you got a good one!” and smile. There are also some sisters present and I acknowledge them grateful one doesn’t need a hearing aid as my hello is getting loud.
When the priest arrived at the altar he begins to speak. English is not his native tongue so God has thrown me a curve ball and I’ll need to pay close attention. He (God) must want me to really hear what the priest has to say. What he discusses hits to the core. I’ve gotten the message.
Since I am in the first pew I think the Deacon notices me. I tried this church and was unsuccessful but in this return trip a healing has occurred. You never know what you get in those curve balls God sends you. Get up to the plate and select your bat.
Note to Father: We must have an artist at church and some church tiles. ? Fundraiser.
Dress Up for Church
As I watch British aristocracy I recall the hats we gals used to wear in church. While this phenomenon died in the 60’s it certainly was a noteworthy one. I even recall one Baptist minister’s wife in Albany, New York having a closet just for hats. After hats we went to lace manilas then handkerchiefs then nothing on our heads. I don’t recall a Papal decree for that last change but we did it.
While hats are gone I long to see people dress up for church. I remember one woman saying she dressed up as she was going to God’s house and wanted to honor him. This made sense to me so I decided to change my get-up. Now when I go to church I plan my outfit for my visit. I am not always able to look as good as I want especially if I am coming from an unplanned event such as the beach, but I try.
I have wondered if he’s noticed that I changed my style when I visit. The other day a woman I had never seen before in a store told me she noticed me at mass. Perhaps that is his way of saying he has.
My Flower Garden
I have a small flower garden outside the sliding glass doors of my condo. If anyone read my golfer story you know I fiercely protect it from those fellas as I love it. I have even applied Feng Shui techniques to it and found my life has improved with these tweaks.
I read in my Feng Shui readings that if you place a rose bush on the path to your home prickly neighborhood situations arise. Alas, I had found the reason why I haven’t yet assimilated in Florida society and quickly made plans to move the bush.
In doing this I went to the source, that being Google, and sadly found this wasn’t the season for replanting rose bushes. Determined to beat the odds and maintain the $29.99 bush, (yes, I blew the wad on this), I did it anyway.
Upon replanting I placed my Blessed Mother statute firmly next to it and promised her the future buds. I figured she could do a rose bush as she kept my condo secure during Hurricane Matthew.
With the daily heavy Florida rains the bush quickly hydrated. During this time, I moved Our Lady indoors but she still was watching her potential flowers. The bush is now 4 feet in height and Our Lady has been richly rewarded. Even the neighborhood seems a little less prickly. There is a God.
Late for Mass Again
As I walk into mass they are singing the entrance song, Here I Am Lord, well everyone knows I am and they see I am late. I had forgotten my back cushion and returned to the car to retrieve it. How I wished they finished the job rather than only doing cushions for your bottom. Perhaps it would increase attendance if they invested in back cushions.
It is a weekday mass so I sit in the front of the church. With the better lighting, I can see the hymnal so I sing. I like to sit by our organist as when I sing off key his voice drowns me out. I am gleeful to be in the front row.
Today’s mass celebrates St. Kateri Tekawitha. As a former upstate New York native, I have visited her shrine. It is rustic and beautiful, Indian like as she was an Indian. She was known as the Lily of the Mohawk and I discovered Father is well versed in her life as he gives the homily.
As I listen I glance down and notice the color of my blouse is different. It is lighter and as I look further I notice the outside hem is facing me. Laughing to myself, I pray no other parishioner is in the seat behind me and if they are wonder if they are silently laughing as they have done the same. I have put my blouse on inside out.
After receiving communion, I escape to the bathroom in the Adoration Room and quickly change the blouse so the tag is no longer exposed. Returning to my seat the mass concludes with the hymn Praise to the Lord and I am especially thankful my tag has not been discovered, or has it?
Florida Church Lesson Taught: The Urge to Go
There is something that happens to us women after 50. We always have “to go” and I won’t elaborate because you know what I mean as do the husbands reading this.
When this occurs in church it is problematic and as much as we plan ahead of time this evil culprit always seems to arrive unplanned. Then the next problem surfaces, “Where is the loo?” For those who haven’t been to England it is the bathroom but I always use this term because it is more delicate and I like it.
It can be very difficult to find the loo in older churches and often it is hidden in the front of the church. This can be particularly disconcerting as who wants to step around the altar to use it especially with everyone watching knowing where you are going and what you are going to do.
Once the location is found the next step is timing. Personally, I like to make my departure while everyone is standing so I am less noticeable. I recommend walking with a brisk yet firm step staring straight ahead so as not to catch the eye of neighbors and fellow parishioners.
Florida lesson taught.
I Just Write what I’m thinking
Willie Nelson was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning. He’s 84 now and still doing over 100 concerts a year. It was interesting to see his transformation from 60 years ago with a short haircut to his present-day state with braids and a head band.
While his outer appearance is unconventional it certainly does not reflect his inner values. He repaid his IRS debt of $34 million dollars saying simply you pay your bills and when asked how he comes up with his songs he said I just write what I’m thinking.
I’ve never been a Willie Nelson follower but I certainly like what he said. As you turn the page to my final blog I hope you like what I’ve said as well.
Enjoying the Moment
During one of my bleak early retirement days in Florida while working in my garden I left my screen door open. There were birds making all kinds of noise however I ignored them. Upon completion of my duties I entered the porch, closed the door and sat in my lounger.
As I placed my feet on the lounger I noticed I had a guest in my porch. A bright red cardinal had perched on my bike and was looking at me. He began to sing me a song then flew around the enclosure. It was magical experience.
Knowing he had completed his set I proceeded to open the screen door and he exited stage left. He continued to sing outside and I tossed him several slices of bread. He began to sing again and the wife arrived. They began to eat together. It was like a scene from a Disney movie.
Since that magical experience I have tried to recapture this occurrence. I have attempted to time the tossing of the bread, watched for the cardinals, and shooed away the squirrels. I am always amazed at what thieves the squirrels are and how they can take an entire slice of bread in their mouth running away with it. There should be Olympics for this.
The one day the cardinal did appear again the squirrels and black birds who now arrive in flocks chased them away. I eagerly ran out to rid the others so the cardinals could have their visit but I was unable. I have rarely seen them again but I continue to toss bread out to the birds daily.
I think the moral to this story is to treasure the magical moments, take the time to watch them unfold and enjoy them when you have them.
Thank you for purchasing this book for our fundraiser.
Thanks to Fran Keiser, my mentor and friend
for her assistance with this book.
Always patient, kind and right.
For further blogs read me on Word Press
Copyright 2017 Kathleen Caulfield