What a joyful noise you have been making! This is certainly a spirit filled celebration! I don't want to damp down your enthusiasm, but I've got an extra-long homily planned for today [wait for laughter]. Seriously, there are just a few things I'd like to touch on.
First of all, Maryann talked me into reading this book called "The Lord of the Rings." At first I thought it was a book about telemarketers [wait for laughter] but it turns out it's a book about these people called "Hobbits" who live in this place called "the Shire." And boy! Is it a neat book! I've only just started it, but let me tell you something. Those Hobbits are Church! You can see it in the way they live in common with nature and the environment. It's really cool. I can't wait to read more about them. So far, all I can tell is that there's this really bad wizard named Gandalf, who kind of represents the Pope. You know, all the Hobbits are happy and being church together, and then this tall guy with a pointed hat shows up and starts telling them what to do. I hope that this Gandalf guy isn't in the book too much, because it would really wreck it for me.
On a related note, my campaign to be the next Bishop of Knoxville is going really well. Ché has designed a neat poster, which you can see all around the walls of the church here. We'll be selling the posters and bumperstickers after mass, or you can purchase one during the offeratory. The suggested price is $25 per bumpersticker, but we'll take more if you're willing to give. Let's remember that I'm not running to be Bishop for myself, but for you, so that I can bring the Spirit of Vatican 2 to the rest of the diocese.
Also, I'd like to thank you for your warm reception of Dr. Thomas, who has been making a real impact here at SOV2. He seems to have taken an especial liking to Ché, but I really think that the biggest impact will come from the many discussions he has been having with Maryann. Look forward to some new and innovative things in the liturgy!
And speaking of the liturgy, I was reading all about the Dark Ages before Vatican 2, and I found out that priests used to celebrate the mass with their backs to the congregation, sort of shutting them out from the whole mass. Well, the Spirit got that turned around, and now the priest and the congregation face each other. Here at SOV2, we've got it even better, because with a "Church-in-the-round" design, the body of the congregation also "faces itself." But I realized that we're not all the way there! The parishioners in the front row have their backs to the parishioners in the second row. The parishioners in the second row have their backs to the parishioners in the third row. And so on. Do you see what I'm saying? We're still turning our backs on each other.
So I've asked Clyde to help out with a new project. I'm going to turn the first row of seats so that it faces the second row of seats, and the third row so that it faces the fourth row. And so on. That way, while we're having mass, we can really all look at each other, which is super-important to having a really good mass and focusing on the real meaning. We should have all the seats rearranged by next Sunday.
Whew! I'm just getting started [wait for laughter]. There's also another issue of all the people we've had to ban and kick out of the parish. As you might expect, a lot of them are really desiring to get back in. Some have suggested that we have a special "re-entry" procedure whereby someone can get prayed on and can be church with us again. I'm going to put this to a vote. All in favor of such a procedure say "aye." [wait for ayes] All opposed say neigh [wait for neighs]. OK, the ayes have it. we'll set up something in the next week or so.
Before I wrap this up, I'd like to encourage you all to join us in the special prayer service this Monday. As you know, one of our faithful communitarians, Keith, is going under the knife for stomach-stapling surgery. Please join us for a prayer vigil so that we can send warm thoughts his way.
Also, I would like to let you know about something really scary that happened this week on my 'blog. We've been getting a lot of attention for our Spirit and our Churchiness, but sometimes this interest is not very good. Just this week, we've drawn the attention of a group of Pre-Vatican II terrorists who call themselves Totus Pius and all take the names of Popes. They're making some sort of threats to blow up our beautiful Church building. I would like you to keep an eye out for anyone wearing priest clothes or looking really stern, and let the parish office know immediately. So that you don't feel unsafe, I should let you know that Dr. Thomas Al-Fakkir has offered to get some of his friends to stand guard on the parish. They will be the ones with the white robes and hats, or with the checkered head scarfs, or the black cloths over their faces. Anyway, they have asked that during the hours that they are present, that no womyn show their faces. Frankly, I'm a little upset about this and to protest this blatant discrimination, I would like all womyn and myn to wear full "burkas" while they are on parish grounds. That will show these necessary bodyguards that while they may discriminate between myn and womyn, we do not! The burkas are available in the vestibule for $75 each. To economize, I ordered special "Plarvik for Bishop" burkas that have the same logo as on the posters. I would also like to say please don't complain to Dr. Thomas' friends about this discrimination, because they are just being Church in their own way - we can't judge them. It's not like they are Christians or something civilized - they just don't know any better. Anyway, this should be a temporary measure, since I've asked Fr. Kane if he can send down a couple of vans of the Brothers of Love to help protect the faith community.
Oh - I almost forgot. Dr. Thomas's friends also asked us to take down any crosses or crucifixes we might have on the grounds. Fortunately we don't have any, but please be considerate and if you do have one of those pre-Vatican II necklaces or rosaries or something, make sure it stays hidden.
Hopefully this threat will pass without serious incident, like the threats we've faced over the last couple of months. In the meantime, thanks for all your help on my campaign, and let's all relax and get ready for the Faith Community Picnic!
Finally, and I mean finally [wait for laughter], I'm happy to announce that we've acquired a new rectory to replace the one that got exploded. This one is off of the parish grounds. We wouldn't have been able to afford it if it were not for an anonymous donation by Dr. and Mizz Argot. How about a round of applause for Dr. & Mizz Argot? [wait for applause and probably standing ovation]. Thanks! You guys are the best! Since Me and Maryann and Todd and a few others will be moving off of the F.C. grounds, we won't be quite so available as we have been in the past. I hope this doesn't cause too much inconvenience, but we think it will have the added benefit of giving us time to start the practice of eastern meditation, which Maryann is all into.
Now let's get on with this mass! [wait for applause]