Fr. Andrew Burns the Hymnbooks

After the two priests had been removed from our Newfoundland Diocese, his Excellency sent Fr. Andrew to our little church by the North Atlantic. Father announced that we were all expected to sing from our official green hymnals

approved by the Canadian Bishops. We had lots of these books, neatly lined up in our pew racks.

The parishioners did not like these hymnals. One lady refused to open hers, because the introduction was written by Raymond Lahey, the disgraced, jailed and defrocked Bishop who had formerly been a Bishop in Newfoundland.

Another member said the type in the books was too small, and one gentleman objected to some of the hymns , which were written by Protestants !

The members had their own Hymnbooks, which they enjoyed singing from. They were called the Parish Hymnbooks; hymns that had been photocopied from older Hymnbooks of the 1960s and 1970s.

“Make me a Channel of your Peace” was one of the favourites. ” Amazing Grace ” was sung often, regardless of the liturgical season. After all, that hymn sums up the whole message of Christianity!

Fr. Andrew grew increasingly disappointed with his flock. Finally he lost patience with us after the music leader sang a Kenny Rogers hit called : ” Mary Did You Know? ” around Christmastime one year. Father gave us a stern warning, that by singing such hymns ,we could get in trouble for breaking copyright restrictions.

One Sunday, the Parish Hymnbooks were gone from the pew racks. Father did not tell us what happened to them. He told the Sacristan to tell us that he had burned them. Indirect communication, called triangular communication, is common in Newfoundland. This is when one person tells a second person to deliver a message to someone. It is always an ineffective form of communication. Direct communication is best !

One Parish Hymnbook , however, escaped its firey end.

It was rescued by an unknown parishioner, and its pages were promptly photocopied again. We continue to sing : ” Make Me a Channel of Your Peace “.

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