Alternative Liturgy for the Establishment of a Parish Minister Person

Remember: Say the Black Do the Red

The people who are church gather in the shared worship space while singing a suitable hymn, protest song or praise anthem. Suggested music choices are We are Gathering in this Place, We Would Rather Gather, Gather them In,  Bill Gaither’s Trio, Let Us Blather as We Gather, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I Dreamed a Dream, and other suitable songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Oscar Hammerstein.

The Bishop Shall process into the shared worship space with the Parish Minister Person. The Parish Minister Person shall be suitably attired in a soutane of light blue, a surplice and not-a-stole. A saturno of matching hue may be worn by the Parish Minister Person. The Presiding Person (previously known as ‘the Bishop’ shall wear a cope and miter (unless he feels that these garments may be offensive and seem hierarchical to the Parish Minister Person) Other vestments may be worn by appropriate ministers. A procession by as many lay persons as possible is to be desired. These persons shall represent every group and ministry within the parish. When all are in their place in the shared worship space the Presiding Person stands before them.

Presiding Person: The Lord be with you. How are you all doing today? Have you heard the one about the priest who went into a bar riding a camel? Another opening crowd pleasing joke may be used according to the discretion of the presiding person and the liturgical season of the year.

Parish Minister Person: That is a good one Presiding Person, and may the Lord be with you too.

Presiding Person: Brothers and Sisters we have gathered here to welcome N. as your new Parish Minister Person.

All: It is meet and right so to do.

Presiding Person: I am sure N. has met all the requirements of my divine office to be appointed as the Parish Minister Person. N. has completed the training that is set before him/her and he/she subscribes to the same view of church as I do, so I now ask you as the people of God who are church: Do you think that N. is a very nice person and would you like him/her to by your new Parish Minister Person?

All: We do like N. very much.

Presiding Person: N. are you willing to take on the duties of being this Parish Minister Person?

Parish Minister Person: I am willing.

Presiding Person: Do you accept that you are not a priest or a deacon, and that you shall only pretend to be one all the days of your life?

Parish Minister Person: It is meet and right so to do.

Presiding Person: Do you promise to faithfully complete your duties by dressing as a priest, behaving as a priest and doing everything a priest can do in order to deceive the faithful and usher in as soon as possible the new Vatican 3 church that all of us long for?

Parish Minister Person: With the help of God I will.

The Parish  Minister Person then stands before the Presiding Person who kneels and kisses his/her ring thus symbolizing the submission of the Presiding Person and all hierarchical, patriarchal type people to the will of the people of God who are church.

Parish Minister Person: (for he/she is now in charge) Let us all share together the sign of Peace.

The people who are church exchange the sign of peace among themselves while a suitable hymn or protest song is chanted. A liturgical procession/dance may now take place if the local custom and room in the shared worship space allows. The procession/dance should involve carrying the newly anointed Parish Minister Person at shoulder height in the seda gestatoria accompanied by bearers of the peacock fans, but if the parish have not such accouterments they may use a kitchen chair and rainbow banners. This shall be done unless the Parish Minister Person be of overlarge girth in which case he/she may be conveyed in a wheelchair suitably decorated in liturgical colors. During the procession/dance the Presiding Person should lie prostrate. On return to the sanctuary the Parish Minister Person says with arms extended:

Parish Minister Person: The Lord be with You

All: And also with you!

Parish Minister Person: I may not bless you so instead let us all say:

All: May the road rise up to meet us, May the sun always be at our back, and may the Irish eyes be smiling until we meet again, and now may God the Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer be with us forever more. AMEN.

The Parish Minister Person then removes the miter of the Presiding Person and imposes a large amount of ashes on the head of the Presiding Person as a sign of rejection of hierarchy and patriarchy. The Presiding Person then rends his garments (care should be taken that the Presiding Person is suitably attired in discreet undergarments so that the people who are church may not descend into levity) 

The Presiding Person now divested leads the procession to show penitence for being a hierarchical patriarchal sort of person. The Parish Minister Person shall be carried on the seda gestatoria surrounded by the bearers of the peacock fans, or rainbow banners as appropriate to the members there present. At the door of the shared worship space the Parish Minister Person, with arms extended shall say:

Parish Minister Person: All We Are Saying is…

All: …Give Peace a Chance.

  • Dust

    Father L,Waaaay too funny! Amen.

  • Sarah R.

    LOL. Way hilarious and over the top! I could definitely picture this in my head…

  • Alli R

    I laughed so hard I almost choked! If I hadn't just bought 2 of your books today I would send a donation without a 2nd thought.The sad flip side of this is that there is too much truth to it.THank God for the beautiful, reverent celebration of the one holy and apostolic Catholic Church. I would weep if I had to sit through such a "ceremony".

  • prodigalnomore

    Reminds me of the Vatican Rag, by Tom Lehrer. It's so bad but yet so much better. This, likewise.

  • prodigalnomore
  • prodigalnomore

    Argh. Je suis défis.

  • d.v. andrews

    A not-so-subtle omission, Father…not a single red + in the whole thing…, how very very silently telling…

  • Michael

    to the will of the people of God who are church.Brilliant!

  • Evagrius Ponticus

    Fr.,Hilarious, but sadly still infected with patriarchal oppressiveness. "The Lord be with you"?Surely the correct form is:Presiding Person: The Empowerment of the Sanctifier be on us all.All: For we are Church, and Hallelujah is our song.Much more inclusive, diverse, etc., no?

  • thefederalist

    "Meet and right …"??Father, what ineffable meaning are you invoking with the word "meet"? This is way too deferential to the recidivist, hierarchical new translation of the sacred texts soon to be implemented.Otherwise, great work!! Forty years ago, you could have gotten a job with ICEL.

  • gothmog

    At first I laughed, then I thought that folks might read this and take it seriously. At that point I was thinking "Kill it with fire!!!"

  • Jenny

    First laugh I've enjoyed in several days (bad stuff goin on in our local parish–pray for us??!)Thanks, Father, AS ALWAYS, you are a breath of fresh air and a hoot!Love and blessings to you

  • Sonja

    Fr. L, this was my first laugh of the day. You are hilarious and insightful.

  • kkollwitz

    The horror…the horror…

  • Mark G.

    This would be funny, except that I could picture every vivid detail of it playing out in my head.

  • Ygnacia

    Acceptable, except where you refer to the 'Bishop' as a 'he'. You clearly still have some residual patriarchal dust clinging to you.

  • Gail F

    You forgot the giant puppets.Also, in honor of today's release of "The Green Album" (Muppets, not environmentalists) let me suggest "Rainbow Connection" as a song suitable both for children who may be in attendance, Baby Boomers, and LGBT members of the assembly. As well as sailors and frogs.

  • CR_Smith

    Well, Father, after I finished choking in laughter, and cleaned the screen off from my beverage that soaked it, I have to tell you, this is one of the funniest things that I've read in some time.Unfortunately, with the appointing of "Ministers of Parish Life" in San Jose, I wonder if these things might not occur, unless of course, our Bishops remember that these things are not about what is pleasing to us as people, but what is pleasing to God.Of course, it will also help for men to respond to Christ's call to the priesthood. This will occur when families catechize their children properly, and not give into the trappings of the popular culture.Thank you again for a great laugh today, and thank you for service to God and His people.

  • Badger Catholic

    Love it!

  • Christina

    Oh gosh, this was funny. I could totally see this happening, though thankfully not in the diocese where I am for most of the year.

  • shadowlands

    I do not like this post, because it (albeit unintentionally)has caught the positive attention of others who take great joy in their alleged call to clean-sweep the Catholic Church of undesirables, e.g. fellow Catholics out of sync with their views (I'm not aware their views have been made infallible yet).The atmosphere I sense reminds me of the way fundamental Protestants constantly used to bash my faith, when I tried to be acknowledged as a fellow Christian, in their company.Now in some catholic atmospheres (not usually yours Father, I just know many who do foster this spirit will be reading), one wonders if the Catholic Church is being infected with this same exclusive spirit(denomic).Or has it crept in, unchecked, with some converts?I presume, one confesses and surrenders such prejudices, that one may have held prior to conversion, as part of one's RCIA class syllabus, yes? To convert, then mock one's brothers and sisters, telling them what's wrong with them and their vision of worship since the sixties, seems a bit off to me. Also rude. I would prefer a bit of settling in, make friends and saying sorry, instead of straightaway continuing to tell us what's wrong with us.It's like being back in the company of fundamental protestants, to be frank. Everyone is STILL out of step except them and their 'yes' men. Is there ever a time in a fundamentalist's life, either before or after his conversions to varying religions, that he is wrong?I expect the world to hound us, but not ourselves.I think that, is truly diabolical, to be frank.I'm gonna have a word with Our Lady about it. She's more used to receiving proddy bashing gracefully, than I am.

  • Jack007

    Hey Shadowlands…LIGHTEN UP!It's parody.Thanks for the levity, Father.Jack in KC

  • Athelstane

    I agree with Gail: Large puppets – and lots of 'em – are essential to complete an accurate liturgical portrait here.

  • Mike Cliffson

    Fr Please!Don't give them such detail , they'll go and do it!

  • terry

    Why no liturgical dance ?

  • Laura R.

    Father L., your post has made it to the origin of "Say the Black, Do the Red," Fr. Z's blog, here:

  • quiddity2001

    Totally not funny as I live in the Diocese of San Jose and we are now in a totally contrived situation of Lay Minister of Parish Life where you can read about it at

  • shadowlands

    Jack said:'Hey Shadowlands…LIGHTEN UP!It's parody.'I just think threads of mockery run deeper in some, than in others. They may see this post as a confirmation, in some way, seeing as Fr L is well known and respected (and loved!). My Father's serving of the church, for many years, is not a parody to me and hopefully not to Jesus either. This mockery is seeping into some quarters, not content with attacking movements that are obviously heretical (because the Pope has said so) their mockery is beginning to extend to faithful catholic laity who have only ever tried their best to be good Roman Catholics, such as Ecumenical Ministers (that's the name I was always taught, now it's something for those in the know to laugh about when other less learned use the term). Isn't there something about 'gentle correction' used somewhere in the bible?I won't lighten up on this matter. I intend to expose it, to the best of my ability, wherever I see it. The devil mocks, not God. Pride causes us to look at our own outward worship and applaud it, not God. He looks at the heart of the one offering the worship, the ministry, the mispronounced or unsuitable term.No man's language spoken on earth, will be spoken in heaven anyway. Cos Jesus said ALL words are going to pass away except His!You cannot do away with a whole generation of Catholic spiritual experience by insulting and abusive terms, claiming hurt feelings endured since vat II as the justification for this attack, when some of the chief mockers/attackers weren't even Catholic or actually born in the sixties. Did God remain silent to ALL laity and non-trad priests as He waited for these truly authentic newbies or converts to be born, converted? Perhaps He was ushering them home to Rome with promises of great laughs when they arrived?Trouble is, that sounds more like a devilish plan than a Godly one. Never mind, let's just pray all the dissenters die soon (biological solution) and then we can really establish our (sorry God's) Kingdom on earth.As for this blog post attracting positive attention from others, I wouldn't feel flattered by that. I would look at the motive behind the link. Are you somehow confirming the linkers thoughts, beliefs, parodies? Then who is being given attention and praise in that?

  • Banjo pickin girl

    Shadowlands is right on two accounts: the nastiness of the internet and the holier than thou attitude of converts. And this is nasty, not funny.

  • jaykay

    Shadowlands, you need to watch the beam in your own eye. So Fr. Longenecker's gently humourous post: "…(albeit unintentionally) has caught the positive attention of others who take great joy in their alleged call to clean-sweep the Catholic Church of undesirables, e.g. fellow Catholics out of sync with their views" The only logical conclusion that can be drawn is that those whose "positive attention" has been caught are those who have expressed their appreciation of the post in the combox. You then go on to insult them by stating that they wish to "clean-sweep" the Church ofthose who don't agree with them. How can you know this? It's merely your own wild assertion.Ironically, the rest of your post is a diatribe against those who aren't in sync with YOUR worldview. And you then go on to characterise their views as demonic, no less. Is that an example of your own infallibility? You seem to have trouble in distinguishing between mockery or prejudice and genuine humour.

  • gothmog

    Read this comment by St Augustine, then go back and re-read Fr L's post:Heretics are those who entertain in Christ's Churchunsound and distorted ideas and stubbornly refuse, even when warned, to return to what is sound and right, to correct their contagious and death-dealing doctrines, but go on defending them.-St. Augustine "City of God" (Bk 18, c. 51)

  • JFM

    " Suggested music choices … I Dreamed a Dream…"ROFLOL!

  • John

    This post is spot-on. It describes the Episcopal Church.

  • shadowlands

    JfM said;"The only logical conclusion that can be drawn is that those whose "positive attention" has been caught are those who have expressed their appreciation of the post in the combox. You then go on to insult them by stating that they wish to "clean-sweep" the Church ofthose who don't agree with them. How can you know this? It's merely your own wild assertion."Wrong!!!!!!You don't read enough blogs. I was referring to another person's blog, who mentioned this post actually. Believe me, the crowd that gathers to blather over at the blog I mean is very intent on the removal of the unsuitables, (unsuitable)in their opinions.As for calling my comment a diatribe, well, maybe you have a point there.I prefer to think of it as a declaration of defiance, to those who would rubbish the positve legacy left behind by faithful Catholic laity over the last forty years plus.And! For the last time, I do not mean Fr L, and 'blather as we gather' is very funny!!!

  • jaykay

    Shadowlands: that comment was me, not jfm. And I do actually read quite an amount of blogs but how could one possibly be expected to know what blog your comment referred to without a link? Do enlighten us.

  • Gail F

    Shadowlands: Sorry you took it that way, but that does not mean everyone does. I think this post is hilarious and pokes fun at how very seriously the people who do this stuff take themselves, when in reality it is so incredibly silly. I don't see what it has to do with your father, or any minister sincerely trying to follow Christ. And I have no desire to "cleanse" the Church of anyone, I think we are big messy disagreeing bunch — just like the apostles. Sometimes I wonder why people who have no desire to be in the Church won't leave it; but I'm not taking names and checking people's Catholic cards. I don't think it's at all mean. I have been around women's ordination folks and it would be very easy to be savage and mean about what they say — some of which is very dangerous stuff — but this isn't.

  • Gail F

    Oh, and let me add that I am studying to be a lay pastoral minister. So if anyone should be offended it would be me.

  • shadowlands

    jaykay.Don't worry about who it was, they know who they are. I am sorry for upsetting anyone here though. Gail.Thanks I am interested to learn you are becoming a lay Minister. I didn't know we could, as women I mean, in the Catholic Church?

  • shadowlands

    By the way, I'm not Gail, that last comment was addressed to two people, I'm Ros.

  • C Crino

    First, I was sort of mad and sort of amused that you didn't post my last comment.And I have certainly been at some questionable liturgies in my time.But, you are painting people with a harsh and bitter brush.Most of the lay women and men who give their lives in service to the church do so out of love for Christ and often at great personal sacrifice. There is loopy stuff out there. We've all seen it. We've had to grin and bear it.But, it is possible to be a lay woman (gasp) who is theologically educated, teaches in accordance with the magisterium and only wants the Gospel to be preached. This is not a rarity – and thank God – for it is a great gift to the church.Disparaging the ministry of women like this is just mean. Seriously.

  • Fr Longenecker

    C Crino. the combox is open. I don't cut anybody. You must not have posted properly.Also, the post was not about slamming women's ministry. Where did you get that idea?

  • Wade St. Onge

    This was an excellent piece of satire – and I say that because those who are of a more "liberal" persuasion would find it humourous as well (considering they have the ability to laugh at themselves at times). To C Crino: I don't know why you found this disparaging to women. Fr. L. kept saying "he/she". Here in Saskatoon, we have a lot of "Parish Minister Persons" – some are women and some are men.

  • john paul 79

    very funny, but somehow eerily accurately shows what kind of church modernists wish to usher in,as for crino getting offended i think father if theres a whole bunch of comments attached to a post some people like to draw attention to themselves by crying wolf, in this case pretending to be offended by something thats not even there,thus making there post stick out and drawing a reply from the blogger, classic attention seeking behavior,and it worked 42 comments and you only replied to her,s ,she hooked you father lol (oh and sorry about the long post)

  • C Crino

    Sorry about the comment about the comment that was not posted. I thought it was moderated and didn't post. So, since it was my error, I was doubly in error.That comment, however, was about the previous post. I read the two together, and the previous post was about women's ministry. That combined with this is what I was commenting on.There are a lot of us out there, women and men, who try our best to serve the church. Every once in awhile, one gets this blowback along the lines of "People like you are destroying the true church." Which, after a twelve hour day slogging in the vineyard is a little hard to take, to tell the truth. I might have been more sanguine with more sleep.I've read a number of things out there this week about how women's ministry and even girl servers are why there are few (answered) vocations to the priesthood. I've been hearing this as long as I've been in ministry. However, the decline began long before I showed up, and I daresay, it might have a different cause.In the meantime, those of us doing the work in the parishes, either running them (in comparatively few cases) or as pastoral associates or in other positions, get a tad testy when our response to a genuine vocation is classed as "dangerous to the church." It just wears on one. OK, I can tell that I really do need more sleep!

  • shadowlands

    I found this on "The Little Way blog" “Ah! Poor women, how they are misunderstood! And yet they love God in much larger numbers than men do and during the Passion of Our Lord, women had more courage than the apostles since they braved the insults of the soldiers and dared to dry the adorable Face of Jesus. It is undoubtedly because of this that He allows misunderstanding to be their lot on earth, since He chose it for Himself. In heaven, He will show that His thoughts are not men’s thoughts, for then the last will be first”. St. Therese of Lisieux

  • John

    Hi, Fr. L.I am a Lutheran. Following is my comment to a Lutheran blog that posted a link to your post:"Blogger John said… I read Father L's post and had a great laugh. I loved it. I grew up in an LCMS congregation. All of my many relatives on my father's side of the family were/are Roman Catholic. I have, accordingly had many opportunities to attend Roman Catholic Mass. I was impressed with the authority held by the priest on the Chancel. I realized that my pastor held the same kind of authority. The Chancel was his! I watched as the priests gave up their authority to the laity and any Tom, Dick or Harriet could do many things on the Chancel that once belonged only to the priests. No time to laugh, though. One can walk into many LCMS congregations, today and find the same thing. We find laity who believe that they're qualified to do most anything that their pastor does, and, sadly LCMS pastors who are willing to agree, and allow such things. Let's consider vocation for a moment. How many of the doctors, teachers, CPA's, janitors, police officers, firefighters, bank tellers, lawyers, chefs, soldiers, etc, etc, etc that LCMS pastors allow to do what they're called to do would allow those same LCMS pastors to do any part of their callings? I don't pretend to know what the answer is for the congregation in Rooster Poop Junction that can't get a pastor to accept its call, or to have a seminary candidate assigned. What I do know is that I don't want my dentist to read the Epistle, this Sunday. Neither do I want my pastor to do my dental X-rays."

  • Alli R

    John,great post! it made me laugh.Thank you!

  • Jackie Parkes

    I'm with Shadowlands..perhaps it's an English thing? I don't find it funny either..