Saturday, January 17, 2009


I love hearing people from the East Coast bring interviewed on the news. There was a plane that ditched into the Hudson River last Thursday. I'm sure you heard that all on board survived. There will now be endless interviews of the survivors but one in particular caught my recovering Catholic ear.

I know I've written a few things about growing up Catholic and please bear with me because there is another one coming up this week.

Anyway, all good Catholic knows their prayers. There is the sign of the cross, there are Hail Marys and Our Fathers. Those are the main stay, rock solid prayers. They are given out as penance and said when one goes to bed or finds any reason to pray. It isn't just say it once and you're good to go. These prayers are said in repetition. As penance you are sentenced to say five Hail Marys and ten Our Fathers for major offenses.

There were times in the Mass when parishioners said prayers like Hail Mary in unison and if you've never heard it before it sounds like the Borg on Star Trek talking in the voice of the collective. "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated."

Prayer is so ingrained in the Catholic psyche that it becomes a reaction to many forms of stress. It used to be common to see a batter in a baseball game make the sign of the cross before stepping up to the plate. Anytime something went wrong with the TV or the movie projector when I was in school, the nuns would start reciting prayers until they remidied the problem.

So, I'm watching CNBC on Thursday night and there was an interview with a guy who was describing what was going on in the plane as it was going down. He said in a Long Island accent, "We knew we were going down and everyone on the plane was like saying five Hail Marys!"

I couldn't contain my laughter. In my imagination I could see all the passengers saying the hail Mary in Unison. He was totally assimilated in the Catholic Borg Consciousness.

If you are interested here is the prayer:

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of death.



Blogger Donna said...

As I was growing up, Catholics were like someone from Mars: I never knew a single Catholic in my little town, and the only time I heard them mentioned was in Church, where the pope was presented as the Anti-Christ.

Which is why it's so funny that I discovered Mother Angelica on EWTN and absolutely learned to love hearing her and the nuns saying the Rosary. I sent off for the CDs, and when I spend a night back at my cabin, I fall asleep listening to the nuns. My mother probably turns over in her grave.

Oh yeah, I have a rosary, too. Just because.

I'll bet lots of Protestants do.

4:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah...okay...Hail Mary's work but lest we forget, another important Bible guy is Moses, whose real name was Charlton Heston. Moses led the Israel Lights out of Egypt and
away from the evil Pharaoh after God sent ten plagues on Pharaoh's
people. These plagues included frogs, mice, lice, bowels, and no

And of course there was Jesus who had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Republicans. Jesus also had twelve opossums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus. Judas was so evil that they named a terrible vegetable after him. Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards and even preached to some Germans on the Mount.

But the Republicans and all those guys put Jesus on trial before Pontius the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead. Anyways, Jesus died for our sins, then came back to life again. He went up to Heaven but will be back at the end of the Aluminum. His return is foretold in the book of Revolution...


4:30 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I think prayer as an instinctive reaction to stress is a good thing – whether you actually believe or not. Prayer can have a calming effect, like a mantra. It certainly beats wringing your hands and lack of focus.
I memorized the Hail Mary as a kid. I’d have made a good Catholic - but would I have stuck with it?

6:53 AM  
Blogger Auntie said...

You left out one part of this story which was when I was talking to you on the phone yesterday afternoon, for some reason I had my "decade" rosary (I call it my quickie rosary) in my hand and was silently meditating Hail Mary while we were speaking. I love that I can do my HM's while doing another task. NOt that talking to you is ever a chore, however......

6:57 AM  
Blogger g said...

this reminds me to say the rosary more often.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember at the end of confession, we are told to say a "good" Act of Contrition?? Was there ever a situation where a "mediocre" Act of Contrition would have sufficed? And now can we address Catholic guilt? Nothing else like it...

(Have a wonderful sunny weekend.)

12:55 PM  
Blogger richpix said...

There's a Catholic church a few blocks from me. I've never set foot in it. All I know is they make traffic a pain in the neck several times a week.

On the other hand, there are other religions:

2:48 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Donna, you have a CD of nuns praying? I just don't know what to say...

Moose, that is exactly the way I understood it when I was growing up. Don't forget the "Lead us snot into temptation." And yes I was an alterboy as well.

Beth, was the Hail Mary recited in your non-Catholic church?

Auntie, you were two timing me?

g, please never run for office again.

Cyn, I forgot about that. There were other acts as well, but I never learned them, nor understood their purpose.

Rich, two nights of bingo can clog up the transit system. Too funny that Youtube thing. Sad but funny. That was not a family from a Reform Temple.

5:27 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

No, it was recited by a young girl who discovered it on her own and who found it fascinating and lovely.

5:35 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Good thing you never converted, especially if you've ever heard what Frank Zappa had to say about Catholic Girls.

9:56 AM  
Blogger g said...

you have my word.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Hahn at Home said...

Never hurts to have a little insurance and use that prayer when needed, just in case.

11:21 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

g, wheeew!

Lori, Superstitious?

5:25 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home