CINDY THE SACRISTAN...
Cindy and First Communions...
Cindy has had a busy week. For a start she has been trying to contact Molly but cannot find her number in the phone book. Maybe Molly could give Cindy some good advice on church washing? First Communions are in full swing all this month and an altar cloth was found abandoned in the sacristy with a large area of candle wax set into a hard ball plus altar wine stains from the cruets. The little First Communion pets each have a special candle. Someone had removed the placemat Cindy left on the table so the mothers had placed the candles directly on the cloth, lit them and left them there dripping until the children carried them to the altar (leaving drops of wax all the way up the carpet of the main aisle).
The rostered washing woman for the week obviously could not cope with the messy cloth, so just left it hoping Cindy would deal with it. Cindy took it home and with a large amount of brown paper ironed over and over the wax areas until all the wax was soaked up by the paper and removed. She then soaked the cloth in Nappy San to remove all the wine stains. After that it was a good wash in the washing machine. It finally looked new again. Surely Molly could come up with something less time consuming? (Maybe Molly will also know if church washing can be done in the same load as the family undies)?
There were only two chewing gum dramas this week. One large glob had been stomped into the carpet underneath a kneeler. The other has been pushed underneath a seat (guess someone had to get rid of it in a hurry before they went to Communion). So Cindy was down on hands and knees again putting blocks of ice on the floor to harden the gum sufficiently to scrape it off with a knife. After each of the masses, biscuit crumbs were found under and around many seats, along with countless soiled tissues, storybooks and cough lolly wrappers.
After the fourth Mass for the weekend, the 'lost' box had increased by 2 pairs of spectacles, one pair of sunglasses, 2 sets of car keys, a child's jumper, 3 umbrellas, 2 brand new Prayer Books (obviously gifts to the children), one pink dummy, 2 water bottles, a camera lens cap plus a top class digital camera in its bag. Add to all this little pieces of wheat around the main areas of the floor as baskets of dried wheat and artificial grapes were carried forward at the Offertory Procession for each mass.
To add to the workload, family and friends of the children were all given hymnbooks when they arrived in the vain hope they would join in the singing. They didn't of course. Instead the crowds of people (most of whom had never been seen before and maybe never would be again) left the church strewn with hymn books and Sunday parish notice sheets.
Before each ceremony began Fr Cunning nicely asked everyone to please turn off their mobile phones. So far only one has rung during the homily and two while people were in the Communion queue. One guy went outside and the other answered his saying he would ring the caller back as he was in church (this comment accompanied by a chuckle).
During the collection at most Masses, the noise increased in volume to such a point, Fr Cunning almost resorted to ringing the bells to bring people to silence.
At one Mass a First Communion boy and his entire family arrived 20 minutes after Mass had begun. One of the girls was dressed in a backless halter-neck dress, freezing in the winter temperatures. One boy who had been selected to carry the plate of breads in the Offertory Procession, was seen by Cindy eating one of the breads as he waited for the procession to begin.
Fr Cunning was distressed to find the Paschal Candle had negligently been left alight for 5 hours between the last morning mass and the evening mass. It had burned down over an inch but fortunately had not set the church alight.
Yes, it is First Communion season again, only 2 more weeks to go. This is the time of year Cindy knows she has not really retired. There is always one more candle spill on the carpet that needs her attention. Head down, bum up, heaps of brown paper and a hot iron.
It is the time of year for directing people to the toilet though most are happy to use a few bushes at the front of the church for the small children. There is a large tree in Father's side yard that has been used as a male toilet more than once, but Cindy is not supposed to notice such things I suppose.
To add to the week's work, there was one Saturday afternoon wedding accompanied by volumes of rose petals thrown ceremoniously over the bride. So who do you think cleaned all this mess up after the bridal party left?????? Of course, Cindy — who else!!
Well, in the parish of St Michael's, Cindy hopes Molly will offer some good suggestions as to how to clean the twelve feet tall statue of St Michael. There is so much dust around his face, he appears to have potatoes growing from his ears. Fr Cunning won't allow Cindy to use a hose because of the water restrictions and the parish cannot afford professional cleaners since they bought a new whiz-bang photocopier to print off all the thousands of funeral booklets.
Well, Cindy just hopes she can make contact with Molly so they can have a good old chin wag and giggle over a properly made cuppa. Maybe they can have a good discussion over the way First Communions are celebrated in each of their different parishes. Is there a better way? Anyone know Molly's phone number please?? On second thoughts, maybe they could go to the pub for a stiff drink!
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