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St Clement’s Gun Carrying Mass

June 7, 2009

I bet you all wish you lived in Louisville, Kentucky, so that you could get to New Bethel Church for the service where the Revd Ken Pagano (thank you, Lord!) is encouraging his parishioners to come wearing their guns with pride like all red-blooded Americans should do.

But never fear: those of you who live near St Clement’s, Philadelphia will have an equal (if separate) opportunity to attend a similar service. I am in the early stages of composing it, but it will far outdo Mr Pagano’s round-up.

Being St Clement’s, of course we shall have a rousing Marian hymn to start the Mass, but instead of the usual milk-sop verses such as “Shall we not love thee, Mother dear” or “Oh Mary, I could weep for joy” (both clearly suitable only for quiche-eating surrender monkeys) we will have a rousing version of “Pistol Packin’ Mama”. The anthem will be “O Magnum Mysterium” and the Offertory hymn will be to the tune “Winchester”. I hope to get as our preacher the former Presiding Bishop, Ed Browning.

Stetsons will take the place of birettas, but on the other hand, berettas will take the place of maniples. Sanctuary slippers will be replaced by cowboy boots, and “The peace of the Lord be always with you” will be replaced by  “You carryin’ your piece?” to which the response is (being St Clement’s) “Yea, verily”.

The relic of St Barbara, Patron saint of Artillerymen, will be exposed and venerated after Mass, not with the usual soppy kiss but with a volley of shots from as many different kinds of guns as we can get together (St Clement’s being, after all, an inclusive church).

So, as you can see, we will far outdo New Bethel, Louisville, in praising the Lord of Armies. Their minister may be an Italianate form of a Pagan, but St Clement’s has a genuine Scottish Can(n)on.

I forgot to add that next month on St Anne’s day, instead of our usual rather weak chorus:

“Holy Ann, God’s Gran, pray for us”(though that does uphold family values)

we shall have excerpts from “Annie Get Your Gun”.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. fragrantgrass permalink
    June 7, 2009 10:54 pm

    “The peace of the Lord be always with you” will be replaced by ”You carryin’ your piece?”

    That’s hilarious! The New Bethel Church service will seem downright Yankee in comparison.

  2. Fr. J permalink
    June 8, 2009 8:19 pm

    I just keep thinking of the Holy Hand Grenade from Monty Python and the Holy Grail

  3. Bromartin permalink
    June 8, 2009 9:01 pm

    SO!…a display of lethal weaponry in the church?
    I think a certain lack of character is shown, what with high security and ammunition free pieces. Why not bring properly fortified weapons in, and exercise a rage of firepower, perhaps at the offertory?

  4. June 17, 2009 2:14 pm

    I don’t know if I agree with all this gun stuff. It seems entirely unnecessary and a bit gauche. Guns do not belong in an Anglican parish. *Everybody* knows that Anglo-Catholics are trained in the deadly arts of the ninja class. Guns just get in the way when we practise our deadly (and liturgically correct) mad ninja skillz.


  5. LibraryJim permalink
    June 30, 2009 1:16 pm

    With all the infighting in congregations, I would be extremely wary of attending a church where members of both ‘factions’ are “packin'”. I might get caught in the crossfire. It would make the gunfight at the OK corral seem like a Sunday school picnic.

    hmmm, gives new meaning to the warning about ‘sitting on the fence’, however.

    BTW, I’m with fragrantgrass in loving the “peace/piece” exchange.


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