The Ash Wednesday Idiot

By Peter Darcy | On Feb 13, 2018 | No Comments | In Humor

On Ash Wednesday, the pastor of a large parish was getting ready to begin the Mass with the distribution of ashes to his parishioners but he found himself in a bind: his associate was away and none of the ministers who were commissioned to distribute ashes had shown up.

As the church began to fill up he became desperate and realized that he had to deputize the sacristan for this purpose, a man who was not known to be the sharpest knife in the drawer. Still, the sacristan was willing to help distribute ashes so the priest taught him the simple formula that every Catholic has heard on Ash Wednesday – “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return”. He then taught the man how to make the sign of the cross on the forehead with the ashes and assumed that his simple instructions would be sufficient for the task.

However, just before he went out to Mass the sacristan ran up to the priest and said, “Excuse me, Father, but could you tell me those words again?” “Okay,” replied the priest, annoyed. “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return. Got it?” “Yes, Father,” the man said, and the priest walked out to begin the Mass.

Just after the first reading the sacristan discreetly approached the priest again and whispered, “Father, I’m sorry, but I forgot the words. Could you remind me again of what to say for the ashes?” The priest said tersely, “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return. Got it?” “Yes, Father,” answered the man again.

After the homily and immediately before the distribution of ashes, the sacristan sheepishly drew near the priest again and said, “Father, I’m sorry but I need you to tell me one more time the words for the ashes.” At this last impertinence, the priest was totally exasperated and yelled, “Oh, you are an idiot, and you will always be an idiot!”

Soon after that, the sacristan was heard telling parishioners, “Remember that you are an idiot, and you will always be an idiot,” as he placed ashes on their foreheads.

Written by Peter Darcy

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