March 17, 2010

P is for Patrick, Prettiness, and Other Things

We are fortunate here in the church where I work that our old side altars were never removed or destroyed. They are dedicated to Mary, Joseph, Francis, Anthony, and Patrick. My current pastor usually dresses up the altars for the respective feast days of their saints, which is something I appreciate. So today when I went to church for Morning Prayer and Mass, I saw that St. Patrick's altar had been covered with candles, flowers, and a beautiful cloth. Having some extra time, I took a few minutes to pray there. I tried to pray in gratitude for the Irish and Irish-American Catholics who have been a good influence and a help to me over the years. My heart alighted on one in particular, Fr. Garvey, a friar who was one of our philosophy teachers during the semester when I was alleged to be studying at NUI Galway. A classmate and I liked his lectures so much that we became his disciples and were always trying to get him to go drinking with us or to come over for dinner.

Fr. Garvey was a masterful practitioner of the ancient Franciscan tradition of teaching with earthy illustrations. I remember one spring day when he was teaching us about objects and their qualities:

A quality which is good when predicated of one sort of object is not necessarily good when predicated of another sort of object. Example: "A pretty girl is nice, but a pretty boy is problematic."

When one object derives from another, the emerging object tends to bear the qualities of the source. Example: "Healthy pee, healthy organism."

Here he is, on the evening we finally got him to accept our dinner invitation. That's me on the right.


Qualis Rex said...

Gee. I wish I were Irish so I could have "fallen off the wagon" legitimately during my Lenten fast.

Luck of the Irish, I guess.

Brother Charles said...

You still have the universal solemnity of St. Joseph tomorrow!