OK Hon, I don’t mean to offend nobody, but listen: I’ve got a degree in Ecclesiastical Haberdashery from Salamanca University and I know what I’m talking about. I was talking to Father Silvester from the local parish the other day, and I say to him, “Father, what do you have those poor kids walking around in pillow cases for?”
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He say, “Mantilla, what do you mean?”
“I’m talking about those cassock albs Father. They don’t do the muchachos any favors.”
“What are you talking about?” says Father Silvester. “The kids like them!”
“They like them? I doubt it. But so what if they like them. They like junk food too. You going to feed them chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers everyday? Look Father.” I say, “The problem is this: first of all they are all dirty. They look the color of old mashed potatoes, and to tell you the truth, the kids look like walking lumps of mashed potatoes. And you know those girls you have doing the altar serving? Well, that’s another topic, but think about them. Some of them are, you know, a little bit plump, and when they wear those cassock albs and have a rope around their waist it doesn’t look good. They look like a turkey trussed up for the oven.”
“Is that it?” He’s getting fed up with being lectured.
“No, that’s not it. The other thing is these cassock albs have cowls on them. They look like Franciscan habits. Why is that? What is the point of the cowl? These kids are not Franciscans or Cistercian monks or something. Why are they wearing something which is pretend monastic? What’s wrong with black cassocks and surplices?”
“I don’t know.” says Fr Silvester. “Why do you make such a fuss over little stuff. What does it matter what they wear?”
By this time I’m about to blow a fuse. What do they teach these priests in seminary anyway? “Father! they wear special clothes because they have a special role in the liturgy. What would you think if they turned up to serve in shorts and a T-shirt? No. You would not approve. But when they do turn up you put them in the cheapest, nastiest kind of polyester dress. What is this? It’s the liturgical equivalent of one of those zip up overalls that factory people wear. No. It won’t do. Let’s throw them out and buy some decent cassocks and surplices.”
“Where am I going to get that kind of money?” says Father.
“Get the servers to do a fund-raiser. Tell them they are serving in the court of the king. They should dress the part. Throw out the old grey polyester. They’ll thank you for it because they’ll take pride in their appearance and like serving for Mass much more. Believe me, hon. I know what I’m talking about.