St Clement's Gun Carrying Mass
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”.