Bishop Edward Kmiec, local ordinary for the Diocese of Buffalo, New York (home of the INCREDIBLE Buffalo Sabres hockey club) has issued a directive to all parishes that Holy Communion distributed in the cup is suspended until further notice. He has also asked (not a directive) that the shaking of hands during the Sign of Peace should be avoided as well. Of the two, the congregation of our church seem to understand that in receiving Jesus in the Eucharistic host we are receiving Christ fully. The latter has propelled the “happy huggers” of my parish into touchy-feely withdrawal complete with sweaty palms, nervous twitches, and a bevy of unfulfilled needs. Some resorted to “elbow touching” during the Our Father. I withheld. I sneeze in my elbow.
My beloved wife allowed my eldest son and I to attend the Sabres game tonight (facing the hapless Leafs, who played like a desperate hockey team). It was an impulse decision, she acquiesced, and we had a bang-up time watching the Leafs fans stream out of the arena disappointed. Again. As a reward I intend on sitting quietly with her in Panara’s Bakery Café sipping coffee and eating bagels tomorrow morning. Will we discuss the weeks events? No. Will we plan our weekend? No. Will we share our thoughts and feelings at all? No. We will be sitting at a booth with our laptops enjoying computer time without interruption. No crying children, no fights over who’s turn it is to empty the dishwasher, no requests for snacks, money or extensions of curfews. Just bagels and wi-fi. Life is good.
Speaking of children, I never thought I would utter these words: My daughter is in a long-distance relationship with a Merchant Marine. There. I’ve said it. Actually, he’s a rather nice young man. It just sounds like a set up for a Cosby episode.
A local health care agency generously donates free seasonal flu vaccines every year for the men and women in the community surrounding the Mission and for those sheltered in any of our houses. The big day for vaccines was to be tomorrow morning…unfortunately, most agencies in the state have run fresh out of vaccines, including our generous benefactor. Apparently New York policy-makers didn’t take into account the fact that if you mandate every health worker to get a vaccine you won’t have any left for the at-risk in our state. Small matter. We’ll just have to step up on the sneeze in your elbow thing. Unless you plan on touching elbows at Mass, in which case you may sneeze in your belly button.
I got the H1N1 vaccine last week and survived, as did every one of my colleagues. Some amazingly outrageous claims have been made regarding the preparation of the vaccine, but none have been proven worthy of reporting here. Everyone came through with flying colors and no side effects (we can’t be sure if the hair that grew on our tongues was related, nor is there any evidence that the skin sluffing or unusual tail growth eminating from our buttocks had anything to do with the shot, either). While many vaccines can have side effects, and some can be quite serious, the nervous inner-turmoil, lack of sleep, and institutional anger and rebellion exhibited by those torn apart with worry over the H1N1 vaccine seems to have been the most serious complication to date. After all that, they ran out of vaccines. Oh well. Back to work.
I’m not sure if I mentioned it earlier, but the Sabres won tonight. I was there with my son. Club seats, first row, posh. The club improves to 8-1-1, and the Leafs continue their slow spiral to the septic tank of the league. Buffalo’s close proximity to the city of Toronto brings many Leafs fans to HSBC, where the average ticket price is about one hundred and fifty bucks less than in their own city. And we’ve got Sahlens hot dogs, far superior to anything our Canadian neighbors have to snack on. Except for those McCain Superfries. Man, those are good. Anyhoo, we beat ‘em. In attendance tonight were five beer-drinking penguins and a dancing bear. Gotta love Halloween.
The bishops are asking our help to stop passage of the health care bill as it is. They’re right. We are not consequentialists; the ends do not justify the means. We cannot allow funding of abortions even if it means delaying the provision of government health care to those in need. Patrick Kennedy, D-RI railed against the Church and charged that the Church’s actions are in defiance of a pro-life stance. Hardly. Each and every day Catholic hospitals, health care agencies and providers throughout the country provide free and affordable care to those most in need. We’ve been doing it for centuries, long before Obama, Medicaid, or the United States for that matter. We will continue to do so. Killing innocent unborn children is an abomination. We won’t pay for it, we won’t condone it, and we darn well aren’t going to do it. Join the fight.
Thank you to our gracious host! Sorry so late...did I mention I was at the Sabres game? Yeah, it was cool