In these difficult times, I felt we could do with something to cheer us all up!
Contibutions will be welcome – but will only be published at the Editor’s discretion…
20 November – The Pope and The Pony
During his recent visit to Ireland, His Holiness expressed a desire to make an informal visit to some of the more rural parts of the country. He expressly said he did not want the media to be present; he just wanted to see the “real” Ireland and meet some “real“ Irish Catholics – priests and people.
And so it came about that, one Wednesday afternoon, a plain hire car drew up at Father O’Malley’s presbytery in County Mayo. His Holiness walked over, introduced himself to the elderly priest pottering in the garden, and explained his mission.
“Well!” said the astounded priest. “I think I know what to do. My sacristan, Old Michael, lives in the cottage next door. He keeps a Jaunting Car and a pony – Seamus by name; I’m sure he will lend it to us – and I’ll take you for a spin round the parish to meet some of my flock. I’ll just pop over and check that he’s agreeable.”
Sure enough, Old Michael was delighted to help. “But there’s maybe one wee problem, Father. Wednesday is my usual day of rest – and Seamus has a day off too. In fact, I’ve just given him his regular weekly treat for lunch – his special mash with an extra helping of beans.”
“Oh, don’t worry, Michael. We’ll take it easy and not risk upsetting the beast’s digestion. His Holiness is not in any hurry.”
Off they set along the shore road and started up the gentle incline towards the village school. Suddenly there was an immense explosion as the effects of the extra effort combined with Seamus’s lunch and that extra helping of beans.
Poor Father O’Malley was distraught. He was mortified with embarrassment that this should have happened in front of such a distinguished guest. He couldn’t stop apologising to His Holiness.
“Now, now, Father. Don’t bother yourself about a small thing like that,” replied the Pope. “You know, I actually thought it was the pony that did it.”
13 November – Letters
Paddy arrives in heaven and bumps into St Paul.
He says to St Paul; “Excuse me, Sir. Can I ask you a question?”
St Paul replies “Of course you can, my son”.
Paddy says; “You know all those letters you wrote to Timothy, the Thessalonians, the Philippians and the Ephesians?”
“Yes, indeed I do.” said St Paul. “ Why do you ask?“
“I just wondered.” said Paddy. “ Did you ever get a reply?”
08 November – Marriage Guidance
The Parish Priest, Fr O’Malley, had been on a seminar designed to inform the clergy about new ways to stimulate activities for all types of parishioners.
One of the ideas was to encourage the more mature married ladies to get together, think about their relationship with their husbands, build better communications between them, and help to maintain a happy marriage.
And so “The Tuesday Club” was born.
On the first Tuesday, after some preliminary chat, Father O’Malley introduced the first activity he had been taught at the seminar. He asked the ladies if they loved their husband. “Of course!” they all replied.
“But when did you last tell him that?” asked the good priest – and he suggested they all try an experiment. “Take out your mobile phones, ladies,“ he said, “and send you husband a text, please. ”I love you, darling.” is all you need to say.”
With some shocked looks and a bit of giggling, all did as they were asked. When the answering messages were received, each lady was asked to write it on the “Flip Chart”. These are the replies that they received:
“Who is that?”
“I think you have the wrong number.”
“Please give my wife her phone back.”
“Stop messing about; I’m busy!”
“Are you sickening for something?”
“What have you done to the car this time?”
“Surely not another new handbag?”
“I thought we agreed you’d stay off the wine until I came home?”
“Did you mean to send this to me?”
“OKAY! Out with it. How much will it cost?
“What time is your mother arriving?”
The ladies were not at all surprised at the responses each other received.
Fr O’Malley learned a lot about married life!
22 October – The Wall
(Received from a regular contributor – but I believe it is based on an original from Dave Allen! Editor.)
A Rabbi, an Imam and a Buddhist Monk had died and made their way to the Pearly Gates where they met St Peter.
After the usual administrative procedures and checks, they were all ushered through the heavenly portals – where they were astonished to see a 12 ft high brick wall on the right-hand side of the pathway, extending as far as the eye could see.
They stopped and discussed this amazing structure – but none of them could suggest why it was there. They agreed to go back to the gate and ask St Peter what it was for.
“Oh, that’s simple – and, NO! it’s nothing to do with President Trump!” said St Peter with a laugh.
“It’s just that we keep the Catholics on the other side of it. It keeps them happy, you know; they like to think they’re the only ones up here.”
04 October – Which is the Greatest of Us All?
Bro. Michael OSF, a Franciscan; Bro. Edward OSD, a Dominican; and Bro. Ignatius SJ, a Jesuit were debating whose order was most important to the Faith. After months of arguing, they decided to wait until they had died and then to ask God in person.
Years later, they met in heaven and went to God’s throne-room to resolve their old disagreement.
God seemed a bit puzzled and told them that their question deserved serious thought and contemplation and indeed consultation with a number of official heavenly bodies. They would have to be patient – but they would receive a reply in writing.
In due course, they each received an answer from God’s e-mail account – which, of course, was kept on a cloud-based server.
It read as follows: –
Please stop bickering about such trivial matters.
All of your Orders are equally great and good in my eyes.
(Editor’s note: M.C. = Missionaries of Charity, the Order of Nuns founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta …)
27 September (2) – OSTEO-ARTHRITIS
(As told by a staunch Presbyterian Minister… so it must be true!)
A young Irish curate was sent to assist Fr. MacGregor in his parish on one of the Hebridean islands. The older man could be a bit difficult to get on with, as he was very set in his ways and didn’t like to admit there was anything he didn’t know – whatever the subject!
One Sunday afternoon, the curate was reading the Scottish Catholic Herald and leaned across to ask Fr MacGregor, “Excuse me, Father, but can you tell me, please, what exactly is “Osteo-Arthritis?”
Father thought for a minute, but he was stumped. Then inspiration came…
“Well now young man, you don’t want to be bothering your head with that sort of thing.” he replied. “It’s not for the likes of you to be discussing around the presbytery table. Sure ‘tis all caused by an excess of drink and consorting with loose women.”
“Oh, dear!” responded the curate. “That’s a real shame. It says here in the Herald that the Archbishop has had to stay in bed for a fortnight after catching it!”
27 September – Did He Visit England?
In a seminary in Ireland, two young priests, studying for their theology examinations, were discussing the hymn “Jerusalem” and the verse that begins,
“And did those feet in ancient time,
Walk upon England’s mountain green?”
There was much learned debate, but they were unable to reach agreement on what it meant. Just as the debate began to turn heated, a venerable priest, on retreat from his parish in the west of Ireland, walked past. He stopped and asked what they were discussing.
“Well, Father,” said one, “we were wondering if this hymn meant that Jesus had visited England 2,000 years ago.”
“Oh, my children,” replied the priest, “surely the answer can be seen in any of the wonderful artistic depictions of Our Lord during his time here on earth.” He paused, “Just look at his feet, to see the answer!”
The young theologians ran into the college library, loaded up the Internet – but came away, none the wiser. They found the elderly priest and asked him what it was they were meant to see.
“What was Jesus wearing on his feet?” he asked.
“Sandals, of course, Father.” answered one.
“Nothing else?” asked the priest. And he was assured that was in fact the case.
“It’s obvious, then,“ the priest said with a smile. “If Jesus had been to England, he would have been wearing socks with his sandals. They all do, over there!”
14 September – Who Started It?
A surgeon and an architect, both English were joined by an Irish politician, and all fell to arguing as to whose profession was the oldest.
Said the surgeon; “Eve was made from Adam’s rib and that surely was a surgical operation”.
“Maybe” said the architect “but prior to that, order was created out of chaos, and that was an architectural job”.
“Shure now” interrupted the politician, “but somebody created the chaos first, and that’s where we come in!”
10 September – Remember Your Manners
A newly ordained young missionary priest, on taking up his duties in Uganda, was walking the five miles across the scrub-land to his church, when he suddenly came face to face with a lion.
Remembering his faith, the young priest knelt down, put his hands together, closed his eyes and prayed to be delivered from the jaws of the lion.
Several minutes went by, so he looked up and saw the lion with paws together in prayer.
In relief, he said to the lion,”Thank God , you must be a Christian lion.”
“Yes,” replied the lion, “I am a Christian. And the missionaries taught me to always say grace before meals!”
07 September – It’s The Way I Tell Them…
A parish priest decided it was time to have the outside of the church painted. He accepted a very competitive quote from a painter and decorator who happened to be a parishioner and work started almost immediately.
However, it was not long before the contractor realised he had grossly underquoted and so the only way to stretch the materials enough to give him a profit was to add thinners to the paint.
The end result looked OK but during the first lot of adverse weather, the paint started to wash off. He was horrified and knew he was to blame and so he went into the church, knelt at the altar rail and asked the Lord just what he should do as a penance.
A voice from above was heard to say: “Repaint and thin no more”.
30 August – A Sailor’s Approach
Two sailors were discussing religion.
“So,” said the first, “you mean we should keep the Ten Commandments?”
The second replied that it would certainly help.
“Well, I see them a bit like the exams we had at university,” the first countered. “Do you remember the heading on the exam text? This paper contains TEN questions; you should attempt any SIX of them.”
“What’s that got to do with it?” asked the other.
“That’s how I’d treat the Ten Commandments – and I already know one that I’d miss out!” he said with a knowing grin…
So you can see why discussions about religion might not be very helpful on a warship!
22 August – Payment By Results
A Parish Priest, Fr Murphy, and one of his parishioners, Mr. Johnstone, a consultant surgeon by profession, died on the same day and made their way to the Pearly Gates.
St Peter welcomed Fr Murphy, checked his C.V., his Record of Service, and his Annual Confidential Appraisals completed by his Superior. He asked a few questions for clarification, made a couple of phone calls, and jotted an entry in his ledger.
St Peter went through the same procedure with Mr Johnstone, the surgeon. All his records, his personal assessments and reviews by his patients were considered in detail, and double checked.
“Right,” he said, turning to a waiting angel. “We’ll put Father Murphy in one of the stone cells; the ones without any door or windows, facing north,” he said. “His clothing will be sackcloth and ashes. And his diet will be bread and water.”
“Next,” said St Peter, “Mr Johnstone will go into the 5-Star Hilton Wing, in an en-suite room, of course, with satellite TV and limitless videos. He can choose his clothes from the Moss Bros catalogue. And he can eat and drink in any of the restaurants run by our Celebrity Chefs.”
The priest was astonished at this. “But why?” he wailed. “Why am I being treated so poorly compared to Mr Johnstone?”
“Oh!” said St Peter. “Didn’t you know we work on a “Payment by Results” basis?”
“Every time you preached a sermon, your congregation fell asleep.”
“But whenever Mr Johnstone carried out an operation, his patients stayed awake and prayed all the time.”
14 August – It Matters where you are….
A photographer on vacation in Cornwall was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read ‘£100 per call’.
Being intrigued, he asked a priest who was strolling by, what the telephone was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for £100 you could talk to God. He thanked the priest and went along his way.
Next stop was in Salisbury. There, in the cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it. He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Cornwall and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was. She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for £100 he could talk to God. ‘O.K., thank you,’ he said.
He then travelled to a variety of large cities the length and breadth of the UK. In every church, he saw the same golden telephone With the same ‘£100 per call’ sign under it.
The photographer’s next stop was Ireland and he was eager to see if they had the same phone. He arrived in Dublin, and again, in the first church he entered, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read ’40p per call.’
He was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign. ‘Father, I’ve travelled all over the UK and I’ve seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I’m told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but in Great Britain the price was £100 per call. Why is it so cheap here?’
The priest smiled and answered, ‘You’re in Ireland now, son … it’s a local call.’
09 August – Faith or What?
Today’s gospel, about Jesus walking on the water and calming the storm, reminds me of the three Benedictine Brothers who were sent to do missionary work in Suffolk. It just so happened that Bro. Patrick was an Irishman; Bro. Gordon was a Scot; Bro. Boris was an Englishman.
On a day off, they got together, hired a boat, and went exploring the quiet upper reaches of the River Waveney. They fell to discussing this gospel and the fact that St Peter’s faith seemed to have failed him.
Bro. Patrick was adamant that his faith was strong enough to allow him to walk across the river to get to the Locks Inn – so off he went and got safely across.
Bro. Gordon was not to be outdone – and he, too, stepped out of the boat and made it safely to the shore, and the Inn.
Bro. Boris really had no alternative; he braced himself, stepped out of the boat and immediately sank in the mud.
Bro. Patrick turned to Bro. Gordon and quietly said, “Shall you show him where the stepping stones are, or shall I?”