Time for a Laugh


In these difficult times, I felt we could do with something to cheer us all up!

Contibutions – with a “church” theme if possible – will be welcome, but will only be published at the Editor’s discretion . . . 

27 August;  More Fun at School

Father O’Malley was on another of his regular visits to the Parish Primary School, and he looked in on the 11-year-olds, where his special friend , young Tommy, was working.

“And what are you up to, today, Tommy?” asked Father O’Malley.

“Well, Father,” replied Tommy, ” we’ve got to write a report of last week’s special lessons.  We had a Student Teacher with us each afternoon and Mrs Mallarkey wants to see what we learned from him.”

“That sounds interesting, Tommy.  And what was the most important thing you learned from the new teacher?” asked Father O’Malley.

“Oh, I learned how to make babies, Father.  It’s really easy when you know how, isn’t it?” replied Tommy with a big smile.

“I’m not so sure I’d agree with you on that, Tommy,.” said Father O’Malley.  “What did the Student Teacher actually tell you about making babies?”

“Oh Father!  Surely you know.” said the young fellow.  “You just take away the “y” and add on “i”, “e” and “s”.

“Ah, yes, indeed.  That would probably do the job.” said the priest, looking mightily relieved.

23 June; Classroom Confusion

Father O’Malley was on one of his regular visits to the Parish Primary School and looked in on the seven-year-olds who were busy writing essays about a recent “field trip” to a local farm.

As he passed Mary’s desk she looked up from her jotter, smiled at the priest and asked,  “Hello, Father. Please, how do you spell ‘SEX’ ?”

The good priest was somewhat perturbed by the question but didn’t want to make things worse by making a fuss.  “Now, Mary,” he replied, “ What do you want to be using a word like that for?  What is your essay all about, anyway?”

“It’s about some beetles we saw at the farm, Father.  One of them was on his own and looked sad and lonely, so I was writing about how he could get some brothers and sisters to play with.” Mary replied.

“But don’t you think you could use a different word for that, Mary.  Why not try ‘love’, or ‘cuddles’?” said Father, feeling himself getting a bit hot under the collar.

“OH no, Father, that would never do.” said Mary, her voice rising.  “I just want to have ‘SEX’.  Nothing else will do!”

The class teacher, Mrs Malarkey, hearing the commotion, walked over.  “Is there anything the matter, Mary?” she asked the little girl.

“No, not really, Mrs Malarkey. I just wanted help with spelling this word.” Mary replied, pointing to the top of her page.

And there in capital letters was written “THE LIFE OF THE LONELY IN . . . . .”

“I know beetles are ‘INSEX, and I can spell ‘IN’, but I don’t know how to spell ‘SEX’.”  Mary replied.  “And I don’t think Father O’Malley knows much about it either;  he keeps wanting me to use other words, instead.”

23 May; Road Trouble

 Father O’Malley was making one of his regular visits to the local Primary School, next to his church.  It was the first week back at school after the summer holidays and the youngsters had been instructed to do a drawing of something they did on holiday.

Father O’Malley stopped beside little Mary who had drawn what looked like a very busy road scene, with traffic moving in both directions – but with some strange objects alongside the roadway.

“That’s a lovely road, Mary.” said Fr O’Malley, “But what are those things beside the roadway?”

“Well, Father.” said Mary, as if talking to someone a bit simple, “Those white sparkly ones are diamonds; the red ones are rubies; and the green ones are emeralds.  Those little white round ones are pearls.”

“But why have you got them along the roadside, Mary?” asked Father O’Malley. “Where-ever did you see a road like that on your holidays?”

“Oh Father, have you never driven to Dublin?” the little girl replied.  “My Daddy told me it’s a Jewel Carriageway most of the way!”

“Ah now, I’ve been mistaken all these years.  I must have used a different road  when I went to Dublin, last year,” said Father O’Malley.  “Can I show you?”  and he sat down next to Mary and started drawing.

His road looked quite like Mary’s, with lots of traffic.  But alongside it he drew two lines of green objects about the size of footballs, and in the distance, where another road joined in from the left, the road went in a circle, with lots of other green objects, about the size of golf balls, right in the middle.

Mary was amazed.  “What on earth are all those green objects for, Father?” she asked.

“Don’t you see, Mary, this is farming country and that’s a vegetarian road!  In fact, it’s a dual cabbage-way down there, going to Dublin, and in the distance there’s a round-a-sprout.!”

“Oh, Father, You are silly!” Mary replied. “If there was a vegetarian road like that, all the traffic would  catch car-rot and breakdown!”

07 April; (2)  STOP PRESS! 

A replacement Parish Priest has been appointed to St Benet’s Beccles.

Home visits will be instituted immediately.

Parish Priest 109

“What do you mean?   Who says we HAVE to go to church today?”

07 April; You’re in the Queue

Fr O’Malley was gradually getting to grips with the New Technology – but it was an uphill struggle for a man of his advanced years.

One morning, after a particularly frustrating  two hours of getting nowhere trying to produce a letter to all his parishioners, he was ready to take a break.

He walked over to the church and settled down to a quiet corner next to Our Lady’s Chapel.  He made himself comfortable and just let his mind drift over the morning’s problems and the possible actions he could take.

“Well,” he thought, “I think I’ll say a little prayer to St Jude.  He is the patron saint of lost causes, after all.”

The next thing Father O’Malley knew, there was that well known chime, like his laptop announcing an incoming message.  Startled, he looked around and saw a strange glow pulsing from the other side chapel.

Suddenly, a voice was heard, as though from a long was away.

“Good Morning. Your prayers are important to us.  Please stay on the line, and a member of staff will be with you as soon as possible.

We regret that due to the current pandemic, we are suffering from a shortage of angels in the Service Department.  We are also experiencing a greater than normal level of demand for assistance with lost causes.

Please note that you can always Access our Chatline and FAQs on our website.  We hope to Excel at solving your problems;  You can take my Word on that and brighten your Outlook in every way.”

A discrete cough alerted Father O’Malley to a familiar presence beside him.

“Oh, Good morning, Father.  Did you nod off there, by any chance?” said Mrs Malarkey, his housekeeper.  “I’m sorry to disturb you, but I’ve just brought you a wee cup of tea.”

“I think I must have had 40 winks,” replied Father. “And do you know, I think a solution to my problem may have come to me.  I’ll just transfer the data from the “ACCESS” database  into an “EXCEL” spreadsheet, then do a mail merge of the names and addresses from there into the letter in a “WORDdocument and send it off in a group  email with “OUTLOOK”.

My, my!” said his housekeeper, “But sure you’re getting on fine with your computing.”

“Oh, it’s no credit to me.” said Father O’Malley.  “But never underestimate the power of prayer.” And in a quiet aside, he murmured, “And my special thanks to you, St Jude!”

15 December – Meal Time

Young Tommy and Father O’Malley plodded down to the village after their exploits on Fair Head – recorded on 02 December –  with Rah-Ree.  They agreed they were really ready for their lunch at Tommy’s home. Mrs O’Malley was famous for her skillls in the kitchen.

” Hi, Mum.” called Tommy, as he rushed through the kitchen door

“What’s for lunch, today?” he asked, lifting the lid of the big pan steaming gently on the range.

“Come away, and sit yourself down, Tommy.  And you too, Father.”  said Mother.  “It’s Bean Casserole.”

“Oh, Mum.” replied Tommy.  ” It doesn’t matter what is’s been.”

” What is it now, please?” he added.

02 December – A Rare Find

Father O’Malley’s younger brother, Timothy, had joined the Royal Navy and had a wonderful posting for 2 years to a shore base in Mauritus.  When the time came for his return to the UK, Timothy decided to get his nephew, Tommy,  a surprise present – and he decided to buy a parrot which could speak English.

Timothy eventually got his parrot – but he could only find one which spoke French – and not a word of English would it say.  The salesmen assured him that it would learn, given time and patience – and then it would be a real rarity – a bi-lingual parrot!

Eventually, Timothy made his way home to the UK, complete with the parrot he had named “Rarity”, as he was a real rarity -a  bi-lingual parrot that only spoke French.  Timothy flew over to visit his family on the west coast of Ireland, calling in on big brother Father Patrick and then his other brother Sheamus, young Tommy’s father.

Timothy was really proud of the present he had brought home and he explained how unusual it was – a real rarity.  Tommy was delighted with his present – but got so excited he couldn’t cope with its strange name – the nearest he could get was “RAH-REE”.  Over the summer months, young Tommy spent all his spare time talking in his broad accent to “Rah-ree” who only spoke French back to him.

This went on all summer and poor young Tommy got a bit fed up with Rah-ree and his refusal to speak any English.  Come September, Tommy decided action was needed and he took Rah-ree over to his uncle, Father O’Malley to see if prayer could help.  The good priest wasn’t hopeful, but he did say he had heard that sometimes a bit of a change of scenery might do the trick.

“Why don’t we take Rah-ree for a walk up the cliffs  to Fair Head.  Let him have a fly around and see if that helps.” he said to Tommy.  Off the pair went, and Tommy plodded up the cliff path, carrying Rah-ree in his cage.  He was getting really fed up with this present;  it had turned out to be quite a disappointment for the young lad.

Right at the top of the cliff, they stopped and Tommy opened the cage door.  “Come on out and talk , you lazy, good-for-nothing bird. ” Tommy snapped.  “I don’t know why I bother with you!”  And he leaned forward to shake the cage and get Rah-ree out and flying.

Poor Rah-ree took one look out and saw they were about 200 feet above the rolling Atlantic waves.  This was not his idea of fun at all!  He turmed to young Tommy , cackled twice, and to Tommy’s astonishment, broke into song – in English!

Looking over the edge of the cliff, he sang,

“It’s a long way to tip a Rah-ree, it’s a long way to go!”

“It’s a long way to tip a Rah-ree, that’s one thing I know!”

11 November – Geography for Beginners

Fr O’Malley liked to visit the parish Primary School, where he would sit-in on a  class and sometimes add a “little something” to link the learning with the wider philosophical world.

It so happened that, one day, he joined the  top year for their geography lesson, where Mrs Malarkey was explaining the different forms of land masses – continents, countries,  peninsulas, isthmuses, islands, and the like.

Fr O’Malley decided that ” Islands” were a suitable subject for one of his interventions.

“You know, children, anyone be a bit like an Island at times.  We can feel cut off from everyone else and be terribly lonely.” he said.  “But in fact, there is a lovely saying that contradicts this.  What would you think if I told you that, No Man Is An Island?”

Young Tommy, at the back of the class, immediately shot his hand up.  “Please Father!” he said.  “Surely that can’t be true.”

“Why ever not, Tommy?” replied Fr O’Malley.  “What makes you say that?”

“Well, Father.” Tommy replied.  “Only yesterday Mrs Malarkey told us there is an island in the Irish Sea called the Isle of Man!”

17 September – Train Troubles

Father O’Malley was in the local hospital visiting his  sick parishioners, when he saw young Thomas in the A&E Department, swathed in bandages and with his legs in traction.

“Goodness me, Thomas!” said Fr O’Malley, “Whatever have you been up to, to get in this state?”

“Well, Father it was like this.” replied Thomas.  “I was coming home from Sweeney’s Bar last night, about 11 o’clock, and I took a short cut along the railway track, through the cutting behind the Chip Factory.  Suddenly, along came one of those maintenance trains – the big yellow ones – right behind me.”

“What on earth did you do, Thomas? ” asked Father O’Malley.

” Well, I ran as fast as I could Father, but I couldn’t get away from the beast, no matter how fast I tried to run.” said Thomas.

“But Thomas,” sais Father O’Malley, “Did you not think of jumping off the track and running up the banking?”

“Oh, Father, that would have been silly!” said Thomas.  “If I couldn’t get away from it on the level, I’d have had NO chance going up hill.”

23 July – The Grandson’s Revenge!

The teenagers in  our large Irish families quite enjoyed going to all the weddings, where the different generations got together and swopped the gossip about the various doings in the various branches of the family.

There was just one snag!

The elderly aunts and uncles, and the grandparent too, all insisted on asking the same question, “Have you got a steady boyfriend?”  – (or girlfriend, as the case might be!)

And they would close the conversation – always – with the same sparkling comment.

  “Well, we suppose you’ll be next; Yes, you’ll be next!”

And they would cackle, pointing to the bride or groom of the day.

Young Tommy was soon fed up with this.

Some two months later, Grandad (on his mother’s side) passed away.

At the wake after the funeral, Tommy walked round the room, “Hello Grandma!” he called out.  (She was hard of hearing, you know.)

 “Well, we suppose you’ll be next,  Yes, you’ll be next!”

11 July – A School Selection

Mrs Malarkey was taking her class through the story of Jonah and the whale, and she was trying to explain that some of the stories were not to be taken literally.

“ You see, although the whale’s mouth is very large, its throat is really quite small;  it couldn’t possibly swallow Jonah.” she said.

Little Mary was not to be convinced.  “But Miss, it says here it did swallow him – and when I die and go to Heaven, I shall find Jonah and ask him what really happened.”

“That’s a good idea, Mary,”  replied Mrs Malarkey, “But what if Jonah has gone to hell?”

“Well, Miss, “ said Mary, “In that case you can ask him and send me a note to let me know.”


During the drawing lesson, Robert was terribly busy – with his head down and his arm around his book to prevent any one seeing his work.

Mrs Malarkey stopped at Robert’s desk to see what he was up to.  “And what are you drawing, Robert?” she asked.

“I’m drawing God.” Robert replied.

“But how can you do that?   No-one has ever seen Him.”  said Mrs Malarkey.  “No-one knows what God looks like.”

“Not yet.” said Robert, still  drawing furiously.  “But they will in a minute!”


The class were learning about the Ten Commandments.

’Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother’ seemed to be acceptable to the class – they all agreed we should show respect to our parents.

Mrs Malarkey decided to try extending the concept.

“Can anyone tell me,” she asked, “is there a commandment that tells us how we should behave towards our brothers and sisters?”

Silence reigned until James – the eldest in a family of six – raised his hand.  “Please Miss, is it,  ‘Thou shalt not kill?’


The children were lining up for their School Dinners.

At the first table were dishes of apples, oranges, and pears.  A typed notice said, “Take only one fruit;  remember that God is always watching.”

Further along the counter, after the main courses, there was a table with dishes of chocolate chip cookies, shortbread, and jaffa cakes.  A hand-written notice – obviously torn from a jotter – read, “Take as many as you want; God is watching the fruit table.”


05 July; Old Pals’ Act

Father O’Malley had been away for his regular holiday – meeting up with his “Year Group” from their time together at the Seminary.

On his return, Sister Theresa asked him if he had enjoyed himself.

“Oh yes, Sister, it was grand!” he exclaimed.  “It’s always a pleasure to see all those old faces once again.”

“Mind you, there was one snag.“ he went on, “It did get a bit monotonous at times.  Every time another colleague arrived at the Mother House and joined in the conversation, the first thing we got from him was an “Organ Recital” –  with a “A Joint Report” to follow!”

13 June – Avoid the Queues!

Sister Theresa was welcoming her new assistant, Sister Anna to the little convent and was explaining her duties.

“Now, Sister, as the youngest member of our community, one of your duties is to take the mail down to the Post Office every morning, buy the stamps, stick them on and post them.” she said.  “Is that clear?”

“Oh yes, sister.,” replied Sister Anna.

“ And mind, now!  Don’t you go getting stuck in the wrong queue, will you?  You could end up wasting half the day in that place!” said Sister Theresa.

“But how will I know which queue to join, Sister.  I ALWAYS seem to pick the one where someone has a lot of complicated questions; TV Licence renewal; Driving Licence Application; Passport updates; all sorts of things.”

“Well, Sister, you must make sure you don’t get stuck behind Satan.” replied Sister Theresa with a smile.  “You see, it’s well known that the devil takes many forms.”

04 June Transport Troubles

Old Paddy had been over to Scotland to visit his daughter.  She had married a sailor and settled with him in a tenement flat near The Meadows, in Edinburgh.  After Mass on his first weekend back in County Antrim, Father O’Malley asked him how he’d enjoyed himself.

“It was wonderful to see my girl so happy with her own wee family around her.” replied Paddy. “But the Scots have some strange ideas, and that’s a fact.  I don’t know how they manage to find their way around, at all.”

“What do you mean, Paddy?” asked Father O’Malley.

“Well, Father,”  Paddy replied.  “They seem to paint the names of the streets on the tarmac, and the cars and buses just drive over them.  It makes it really hard to see where you are,  if you’re out for a walk.”

“That does seem a strange idea, Paddy, but is that all it was?”

“Not a bit of it , Father.  Just about every road I saw, had the same name.” said Paddy.

“The same name?  That does seem odd.  Tell me – what name did they give to the roads in Edinburgh?”

“Sure, and it seemed to me they were all called “BUS LANE”, Father.  I don’t know how they managed!” replied Old Paddy, shaking his head.

25 May – Pigeon Pie

Father O’Malley was preparing for the annual visit by his Bishop – who was renowned as a stickler for organisation and good timekeeping.

Father was planning a complete tour of the parish –  a veritable “Procession”, no less – and he needed to know when the Bishop was nearing the parish, so that he could get the Canopy Bearers, Candle Carriers, Thurifer and Pages out and lined up in good time.  He also wanted to know whether the Diocesan Press Officer was with him, and if there was a photographer, so that he could get everyone into position in good time.

He decided it would be ideal if someone could be stationed at the cross-roads, about 5 miles away, (where the ”B“ road to the village left the main “A” road between Dublin and the south-west). That would give enough time to get ready.

But there was a problem!  There was no house near the junction and the mobile phone signal was notoriously unreliable out in the country areas.  Father called a meeting of the PPC to discuss the problem.

Up spoke old Michael!  “That’s no problem, Father.” he said.  “Don’t you remember I keep some of the best homing pigeons in all Ireland?  I’ll wait at the cross-roads and send you back a message when we see the Bishop’s car turning onto our road.”

“That will be great, Michael,” said Father.  “That’s a real weight off my shoulders.”

Come the big day, everyone was on tenterhooks.  Then the cry went up, “There’s Michael’s pigeon, now!” Old Michael’s son, Peter, rushed up to the loft to get the bird – and dashed back to the church.

“Quick Peter, quick,” cried Father.  “What’s the message?  What does it say?”

“Oh, it’s the same as usual,” replied Peter.  “It just says COO! COO!  COO!”

14 May – The Procession

Fr O’Malley was slowly but surely getting himself into the computer age.

He had found an experienced IT specialist in the parish, who was organising the Parish Website  –  and who was always singing the praises of computers and the Internet.  He was a very convincing speaker, and the good Father began to believe that the parish laptop could make life easier for him.

Now, the time came for the annual visit of the Bishop to the parish.  Fr O’Malley was determined to put on a good show, to convince the Bishop that he was really on top of things.  He determined to escort the Bishop on a tour of the parish premises, even though it was a little damp and muddy underfoot!  Round the Church, of course, down to the churchyard, up to the presbytery, then the primary school across the field next door, and down the lane to the little – but grandly named – “Convent” where the two Sisters lived.

Not content with a tour, he decided to turn it into a grand “Procession”.  Thurible in front, a canopy overhead, borne by the four fittest altar boys in the parish;  four other altar servers, with candles, at the corners.  The final touch was that the Bishop would be wearing one of the parish treasures-  a beautifully embroidered cope, decorated by the first nuns, over 200 years earlier.

The original Parish Priest had been a fine figure of a man – “a right broth of a boy” – as he was known, far and wide, and he had been at least 6ft 3 inches tall.  Now this threw up a real snag.  You see, the bishop was, to put it politely, “vertically challenged”-  and he was known to be extremely sensitive about it.

Fr O’Malley had a brainwave;  he’d get some of the youngest lads from the school and use them as attendants, two per side, to hold the edges of the cope off the ground.  But how should they be dressed?  They couldn’t be Altar Boys; far too young!  What could they wear?

He suddenly remembered the IT expert telling him how he could type any question into the laptop, press “Enter” and the answer would be back in seconds.  Off he went, into the parish office, and typed in his question.  “I want a procession with four young boys to hold up the edges of the celebrant’s cloak.  Where can I find out how to dress them?”

Yes, he got the answer in seconds – but OH, the disappointment!  It wasn’t at all helpful.  It read, “ERROR 402 –  PAGE NOT FOUND.”

30 April – The Grand Master

Fr O’Malley quite fancied himself as a chess player.  He’d beaten all of the other seminarians – and even most of the staff too – in his time under training.

Now he was well established in his own parish in the wild west of Ireland, and he had few real competitors.  So, he was delighted when Tommy, the parish IT specialist, told him that he could download an “app” that would take him on at Chess – and maybe even give him a run for his money.

Fr O’Malley could hardly believe that such a thing was possible – but he agreed that Tommy could do the magic on the machine and leave the laptop ready for when Fr O’Malley returned from the meeting of the Catholic Mothers’ League that evening.

Next morning, Tommy received an urgent call from the presbytery.  The laptop was not very well!  Off he went, up to the presbytery.

“Whatever happened, Father?” Tommy asked.  “How did all this damage occur?”

“Well,” said Father O’Malley, “You were right about it being a dab hand at the Chess.  Beat me four games, straight off.”

“But what about the damage, Father?” asked Tommy.

“Ha!  It might be good at chess, but it’s no match for me at Kick Boxing!” replied Father O’Malley with a smile.

31 March – Typography Rules

This selection has come from one of our regular contributors.  I hope we avoid similar entries in our bulletins.  Apparently, these sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced at church services!-  Editor

  1. The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
  2. The Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
  3. The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water”.  The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus”.
  4. Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale.  It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house.  Bring your husbands.
  5. Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
  6. Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  7. For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery in the Parish Hall.
  8. Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir.  They need all the help they can get.
  9. Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church.  So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  10. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
  11. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’  Come early and listen to the choir practice.
  12. Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  13. Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
  14. The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
  15. Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.
  16. The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind.  They may be seen in the Parish Hall on Friday afternoon.
  17. This evening at 7 PM there will be hymn singing in the park across from the Church.  Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
  18. Father O’Malley would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
  19. The “Low Self Esteem Support Group” will meet Thursday at 7 PM.  Please use the back door.
  20. The Primary School will be presenting Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in the Church Hall on Friday at 7 PM.  Parishioners are invited to attend this tragedy.
  21. Weight Watchers will meet at 7.00 pm at the Presbyterian Church.  Please use large double door at the side entrance.

07 March – Old Habits Die Hard

A Franciscan,  a Dominican, and a Jesuit were walking along an old road, debating the greatness of their orders.

Suddenly, an apparition of the Holy Family appeared in front of them, with Jesus in a manger and Mary and Joseph praying over him.

The Franciscan fell on his face, overcome with awe at the sight of the Son of God born into such poverty.

The Dominican fell to his knees, adoring the beautiful depiction of the Holy Family.

The Jesuit walked up to Joseph, put his arm around his shoulder and said, “So, young man, have you thought about where to send him to school?”

14 February – A Heavenly Pastime

Like most of us, Fr O’Malley sometimes wondered what it would be like when, as he hoped, he was eventually admitted into Heaven.

One day, while enjoying his usual Wednesday “day off” on the local golf course with parishioner Michael MacGregor, their casual chat turned to this very subject.

Together they wondered:-

  • Would every week see yet another a meeting of the Heavenly PPC to discuss “The Way Ahead”?
  • How many Diocesan and Deanery Committees would there be to sit on?
  • Who would be responsible for maintaining the “Fabric and Fixtures”?

And then :-.

  • Would there be any time off ?
  • Would there be any sports facilities?

They solemnly agreed that the first one to “go”, would contact the other, to tell him what to expect.

Sadly, the next week, poor Michael was called to meet his maker, and in 24 hours, Fr. O’Malley got a text message :-


“Heaven has replicas of all the great golf courses in the world. You can play any course you want, as often as you like, all day, every day!”


“You’re playing for the Benedictines against the Franciscans for the “Archangel Gabriel” trophy, next Tuesday. Tee-off at 08:15.  See you then.  Best wishes, Michael.”

30 January – Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

St Peter was getting a bit frazzled with the time it was taking to get applicants through the admission checks that were necessary to ensure only suitable candidates were allowed into Heaven.

He decided he needed to update the administration procedures but thought he should have some advice and guidance from recent successful applicants – so he set up a Consultative Committee to look into the options for the future and to recommend a way forward.

In due course, the Committee’s recommendation for a new, state-of-the-art Computerised Data-Base system was introduced.  The first stage involved applicants for admission being invited to attend for an interview with St Peter, to check their suitability.

On the first day of operation, a Priest, an Imam, and a Rabbit appeared outside the Pearly Gates.

St Peter looked a bit confused and sent for the Chairman of the Committee.

“What’s the meaning of this ?” St Peter demanded.  “How come I’ve got a Rabbit trying to get into Heaven with a Priest and an Imam?”

“Oh no!” cried the Chairman.  “I told the Secretary to disable the spell-checker and auto-correct functions, while he was writing some “funnies” for the Heavenly Website, but it looks like he forgot.”

St. Peter looked really worried.  He paused,  then added in a shocked tone, “Now where do you think we have sent the Rabbi?”

23 January – A Month is a Long Time

Father O’Malley was well known for having a sweet tooth, and the highlight of his week was the dessert after a well-earned “Sunday Roast”, all cooked by his house keeper, Sister Theresa.

One Wednesday afternoon, Patrick, one of his parishioners saw Father O’Malley and Sister Theresa coming out of the Cash-and-Carry with their trolley piled high with tubs of ice cream, cases of tinned fruit, bottles of raspberry sauce and cartons of wafers.

“Stock-piling for lockdown, are you, Father?” Patrick called across the car park.

“I suppose you could put it like that, Patrick, for I think it’s going to be with us for a good while yet.” replied the priest.

And Sister Theresa added with a smile,  “But Patrick, I just see it as preparing to self-isolate for a Month of Sundaes!”

13 January – Help Yourself!

Father O’Malley had a long and positive relationship with the local Magistrates who served on the Bench of the Juvenile Court.  He would often be called upon for a Character Reference for a teenage transgressor, before sentence was passed.

It came as no surprise, then, to be asked by the Chairman of the Bench, for his opinion of one of the local lads – Michael McLaughlin, an Altar Server no less – up before the bench for the first time.

“It’s an unusual situation, Father.” said the Chairman.  “You see, he’s been accused of shop-lifting.  He admits doing it – but his defence is that you told him, in church last Sunday, that it was God’s will that he should do it.”

“I’d better come down and have a word with Michael.  He’s not the brightest of the Altar Servers, but I’d say there’s no harm in him.” said the priest.

Later that morning, in a room at the court house, Father O’Malley met young Michael.  “Now, Michael, what’s all this I hear about you saying I told you to go shop-lifting?” he said.

“Surely you remember, Father; you even put it on the parish website, last week.  You told us the story about your accident when you were skiing; and how you dreamt you’d heard God telling you off; and  you didn’t accept the help he sent you; and you didn’t do enough to get rescued; and you just sat waiting to be rescued by Him; and all because you had faith in Him.”  said Michael – all without pausing for breath.

“Yes, Michael, you’ve remembered my sermon very clearly.  But what has that got to do with your going shop-lifting?” asked Father O’Malley.

“It was what you said at the very end Father.” said Michael, with a sob.

“You said, {Remember, the Lord helps those who help themselves.}  I remember hearing you say those very words.” he added.  ”So that was what I did; I helped myself; and now I’m in trouble with the police.  They say I was shop-lifting and it’s all your fault.”

06 January – Help Is At Hand!

Father O’Malley went on a skiing holiday one spring and by the third day he was tired out.  An early night was called for and he was soon deeply asleep.

The next thing he knew, he was away again, this time “off-piste” on a cross-country expedition. Unfortunately, he lost his way, slipped down a gully and was caught out in a severe snow storm. The snow steadily built up around him and he was soon trapped, unable to move, buried waist deep in snow.

The good old priest was sure, in his own mind, that his faith would save him – even though the snow continued to fall.  By mid-morning, two skiers came by and offered to help him.

“No thank you. “ he replied.  “I trust my faith in God will save me.”

By mid-afternoon, with the snow well up his chest, a ski-mobile motored across the snowfield to offer help.

“No thank you. “ Father O’Malley replied.  “I trust my faith in God will save me.”

Still the snow fell, and with night drawing on and the snow up to his neck, a helicopter clattered into view.  The winchman dropped down and offered a lift.

“No thank you. “ he replied.  “I trust my faith in God will save me.”

Night fell; the snow built up; soon Father O’Malley was completely buried.  In due course he went to meet his maker, and soon he was at the Pearly Gates  where God came down to welcome him.

“It’s lovely to see you.” said Father O’Malley. “But I had hoped to be saved and to have a few more years to finish my work on earth.  And after all, I did put my trust in you to save me, didn’t I?”

“So you said, my son.” replied God.  “But I sent you two skiers; then a ski-mobile; and finally, a helicopter.  What more did you want?

“You’ve got to do something to save yourself;” God continued, “You can’t leave it all to me you know!

Suddenly, Fr O’Malley heard a knock at his bedroom door.  “Good Morning, Father.” called Sister Theresa.  “I heard voices; I think you were dreaming.”

“I think I was, Sister.” said Father O’Malley.  “Now I wonder what I should do about that message.”

23 December – “Say CHEESE for Christmas”

On the run up to Christmas, and much concerned about all the pressures and problems in the world, and their effect on his parishioners, Father O’Malley decided to try a new style of Homily – one with a touch of humour in it.  “After all,” he thought, “Jesus always used parables to get His message across – why not try using humour?”

So, at the first Mass of Advent,  he announced he had a story to tell.

A cheese manufacturer had developed a “Seasonal Range” of cheeses for the Christmas market. He was proud of his products and the packaging. To see what the public thought of them, he offered to host a parish “Cheese and Wine Party” just before Advent.

Everything went well;  he described each cheese in the range;  gave out samples; and invited purchases.  Most of the products proved really popular and sold well.

But there was a small round cheese, about the size of a golf ball, with a wax coating to keep the actual cheese in good condition.  Almost every member of the audience found something to criticise about it.  They recommended he drop the small cheese from the range.

“But I can’t do that!” he cried. “It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Baby Cheeses!”

There was a shocked silence from the congregation! Then the whispers,  “Baby Cheeses!” “Did he mean,  “Baby Jesus?”  “What a thing to say!”  “Was this not blasphemy?”

“So!” said Father O’Malley.  “What is the message of that story?”

From the front row, Sister Theresa replied, “To be sure, Father, is it that “There is many a true word spoken in jest!”

“Yes indeed, Sister.” said the smiling priest. “And isn’t it also true that we should forget all the worldly problems we are facing, and focus on what really matters at this time of year?”

“Remember, it wouldn’t be Christmas without The Baby Jesus, would it?”

And all through the rest of Advent, and through-out the coming year, in Tesco’s. ASDA, Co-op and the rest, whenever one of his parishioners passed the cheese counter, and saw the little red golf-balls of cheese. they  thought :-

“The Baby Cheeses? – The Baby Jesus!”

 “Now doesn’t that make it all worthwhile?”said Father O’Malley. 

12 December – Emergency!

A red-faced Scotsman was rushing through a train.

At every carriage he shouted : “Is there a Catholic Priest on the train?  Is there a Catholic Priest on the train?”.

Father O’Malley, travelling on his holidays, thought there might a serious emergency requiring his services.  He called out, “Yes, my son.  I’m a Catholic Priest.  How can I help you?  What’s the emergency?  Is someone dying?”

The Scotsman replied: “Oh no, Father.  It’s not that.  We’re just looking for a corkscrew.”

12 December – Three Wise Women?

Continuing our up-dated view of Christmas, I came across the following.

It has been suggested that things would have been different if the Three Kings  might actually have been “Three Wise Women”. –  (Three Wise Men being a contradiction in terms!)

What would have happened??

Well, first of all, they wouldn’t have gone off chasing a comet across the sky;   they would have asked directions and arrived in time to be of some use.

Second, they would have brought some practical gifts, like a decent cot and some clean blankets and towels.

Third, they would have organised the hot water, cleaned out the stable and got rid of all those animals – and their useless minders.*(see below)

Fourth, they would have been able to do something useful when the baby actually arrived. (One of them was sure to be into embroidery and would have had a pair of scissors handy!)

Fifth, anyone not actively involved in helping with the birth, would have been organised into making a casserole, some sandwiches and a pot of tea to refresh the other visitors and well-wishers.

  • Incidentally, if the sheep had shepherds with them, why did the oxen not have some cowboys?  That would liven up the Nativity play!

03 December – The Visitor!

Fr O’Malley and Sister Theresa were driving home from a day spent at the local Market – and, it must be said – an evening enjoying a well-earned meal  and a wee refreshment at the local hotel.

Driving home they passed through a small but dense area of woodland.  Suddenly, an amazing figure jumped out in front of the car.  It was grotesque! Like a cross between a large man and a small horse, it had cloven hooves, flaming red eyes, long fang-like teeth – and it carried a trident, dripping with blood.

The good Father slammed on the brakes; blessed himself; called on all the saints to preserve them – and shouted to Sister Theresa,

“Sister, Sister, it’s a vampire.  Show him your cross!”

Quick as a flash, Sister pressed the button to lower her window.  She released her seat belt and leaned head and shoulders and arms out of the car.



The vampire took one look at the irate figure, tucked his forked tail between his legs and scurried back into the woods.

“Well done, Sister.” said Father O’Malley. “But when I said, “show him your cross” – I meant you to hold up your crucifix – not to show him how annoyed you were!”

(With thanks to the Vicar of Dibley!)

28 November – The Blind Man

(With apologies to “The Vicar of Dilbey”)

Sister Theresa had been posted to a specialist convent in the midlands of England, providing nursing care to disabled ex-servicemen.

Every Wednesday, she was allowed the afternoon free from her duties on the wards, to attend to any personal matters.  This particular Wednesday – having just completed her week’s spell on night shift —  she felt in desperate need of going to the Nursing Sisters’ quarters for a long soak in the bath and then some sleep.

In due course she was luxuriating in the bath, enjoying some relaxation with a good book, when there was a loud knock on the bathroom door.

Being a convent, there were no locks on any of the doors!

She called out, “Who’s there?”

A male voice replied, “I’m the blind man!”

Relieved, Sister Theresa answered, “All right. Come in.”

The man entered, smiled at the Sister, held up the roller blind he was carrying and asked, “Which is the window you wanted this new blind for, Sister Theresa?”

With a scream, Sister Theresa submerged beneath the scented bubbles.

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: –

My Sons,

Please stop bickering about such trivial matters.

All of your Orders are equally great and good in my eyes.

Yours sincerely,

God, M.C.

(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?”

%d bloggers like this: