Monday, April 21, 2008


Rich mentions in his post, linked below, that as they were leaving Yankee Stadium and a five hour marathon, a few of our separated brethren took the opportunity to 'pamphlateer' Catholics leaving the celebration.

I share the experience.

World Youth Day, Toronto, in 2002, was a fabulous experience. I attending with another chaperone and nine teens from the parish where I had just completed my pastoral year. (It's mandatory for us in Cinci.)

During the Friday way of the Cross in downtown Toronto, which was open to the public, there were a number of 'pampheteer-ers' working the crowd, so to speak. The other chaperone and I were, in hindsight, a little too lax with our charges, and let them wander about a bit. As they were late in returning, I was getting a little hot under the collar, waiting to tear them to shreads upon their return. (Now I know what my mother felt like all those times my twin brother and I managed to sneak off!)

(As a side note, it is not the custom here that seminarians wear clerics until ordained transitional deacons, so at best I had slacks and a polo or dress shirt on, can't really remember, so I looked like any ordinary Catholic.)

Well, as I am glaring down the street, some poor young, fairly inexperienced, pamphleteer-er handed me one of those ever popular 'Jack Chick' tracts. In an extreme show of a lack of charity, I absolutely tore the young guy to shreads. Well, I tried to tear his position to shreds, not actually him. I had all the objections down pat and was hardly letting him get a word in edge-wise. After about fifteen minutes of this on-going tirade, our truents finally showed up and saw my face and heard bits of the barage I was letting loose on this poor fellow, his eyes now about as big as dinner plates, when I turned and said: "Where have you two been?!?" Turning back to my evangelizer friend, I said: "These are my two lost students, I need to go."

He absolutely took off! He apparently had never come into contact with a Catholic who could answer everyone of his objections and fire back twenty others. Evidently, this conversation didn't go exactly as planned!

Turning around to where the rest of my group was, they applauded me! A couple of the guys looked and said: "I never saw you do that before!" "Wow, the vein on your forehead is popped out!"

On the subway back out to where we were staying, I tried to explain that I wasn't the most charitable in my dealings with this unfortunate youngster, but they didn't have any of it.

I do feel bad for this poor guy, I admired his audacity and courage, but he barked up the wrong tree on that occasion!


Anonymous said...

You GO, Father! Great story!

adoro said...

Father, you're my hero. I can't wait to shake your hand.

Anonymous said...

Father! I am SO proud of you!!! Would that more Catholics could (and would) "give an answer for the hope that is in them," then more anti-Catholics like Jack Chick may find there way to the TIber and cross it!

Kasia said...

Father, I will try to post tomorrow on my experience with the pamphleteers leaving Yankee Stadium...

...but in the meantime, you are SO my hero!!!