Thursday, December 23, 2021

Holy Communion with an Omicron Chaser

If you're the kind of person who gets mad when people make fun of religion or you have strong opinions about the coronavirus being a hoax, you may want to stop reading here. Unless of course you are also the modern phenomena type of person who reads things that you know will piss you off just because that's your preferred state of mind. Either way, you've been warned. 

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a religious man. Spiritual? Yes. Religious? No. However, in the interest of going along and getting along (I do try sometimes), I have somewhat willingly spent my fair share of time in places of worship. And not just hungover in a tuxedo with the bourbon sweats silently praying that the vows aren't loquacious and the organist is an up-tempo guy. 

I've weathered at least all of the basics . . . baptisms, bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs, first communions, funerals, etc. Shoot, I was even president of a church preschool board for three years (I wouldn't recommend it). Over the past 20 years, I've danced with the Episcopalians and even the kooky Unitarians before settling into a very infrequent pattern of attendance at the local "progressive" Catholic church which is what has led us to today's topic. 

As you may have heard, there's been of a bug going around this season and by "bug" I mean a deadly virus and by "this season" I mean as long as most of us can remember. Today the Baltimore Sun ran the following headline: “hospitals prepare for more COVID-19 cases as omicron threatens to overrun Maryland.” So hospitals are filling-up and some guy having an eggnog induced heart attack tomorrow will suffer a needless death while waiting in the emergency room but, more importantly, playoff fantasy football rosters are in complete disarray. The situation is rapidly spiraling out of control. Again.  

"I'm smart. Not like everyone
says. Like dumb. I'm smart.
And I want respect!"*
Which makes the email I received from the Catholic church this week eminently more in need of mocking and ridicule (see what I did there?). What follows is an unedited version of their top ten reasons to attend mass in person this Christmas Eve. To this I have added approximately 100 words purely for the sake of enhancing their message. I was tempted to include the original email in a footnote but you're smart. You'll figure-out where the witty upstart church media guy ends and the FGR begins.

By the way, I tried every combination of COVID-19 related words with "communion" to come up with the title of this post and the best I could come up with was "Holy Comunavirus-19." Clearly the FGR's editorial staff continues to be hit hard by the labor shortage.   
(I swear I didn't mess with the title)
10. It will be fun and festive to get dressed up and see everyone after missing Christmas Eve last year. The experience of coming together, praying together, singing together and infecting MeeMaw and PeePop with a potentially deadly virus will be good for the soul.

9. You can save as many seats as you would like in any of our video venues for friends and family (any venue except the main floor of the Sanctuary which we expect will be packed to achieve maximum super spreader effect).

8. The Pavilion will offer family-friendly seating for families who choose to keep their little children with them. There will be a play area adjacent to the seating where kids can move around and freely transmit the virus through the seasonal sharing of mucus and drool.

7. The Vision CafĂ©, with a huge LED screen, will require masks, offering a more comfortable environment for those concerned about crowds. Please don't refer to them as freaks. Unless you're in the Sanctuary where anything goes but remember, what happens in the Sanctuary . . .  

6. In the Theatre, we’ll be inaugurating amazing new technology including 3 LED screens, creating an incomparable experience. This will be the first time our newly renovated Theatre will be open to the public because nothing says "happy birthday Jesus"** like three new flat screens. Also, Father Tim (fictitious priest name) has a dozen NFL/NBA cross parlays going on Saturday so we need to road test the system on the flock.

5. Each venue will be beautifully decorated, staffed with host ministers and a venue MC, helping to create engaging and welcoming environments for all viral mutations. Come one come all!

4. There will be live music and entertainment in each video venue as part of our “Prelude” to Christmas Mass. Our musicians also do funerals. Just sayin’.

3. The All-Stars program will be available for little kids (6 weeks to 6 years) and Jingle Jam (Children’s Liturgy of the Word) for school-age kids will take place live on our campus. Your children and grandchildren will absolutely love it! Even if it may be the reason they never see you again.

2. Let’s face it, the State Fairgrounds “Cow Palace” was a video venue and mad cow disease is so yesterday’s news.

1. The number one reason to join us for Christmas Eve is the most obvious one: Holy Communion. You can attend Mass and receive Communion this Christmas. Duh.   


* I feel you Fredo. Respect is hard to come by these days. Let's discuss when you and Al get back from fishing.     

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