You have to realize this seminary is very, very, formal. No one “talks” before Mass, during Mass, or after Mass. The seminarians wear black clerical garb except on the weekend. Also many of them shave their heads and look more like monks than future parish priests. So when I am entitling this episode “When even Long Hairs Clap and Laugh and Dance” I mean long-hair in the sense of classical music lovers.
I glanced at the faces of some of the seminarians who I know were hippies before their reversion, which included Gregorian Chant having pride of place. Their eyes looked winsome. I thought, “heh, even if the Tridentine Mass is beautiful, it doesn’t mean that there was nothing wonderful about parts of that hippie culture!”
Next came a love-song on bended knee by a seminarian in a cassock addressed to one of the soon to be leaving for another post, Filipino Franciscan sister who cooks for us. He crooned about his undying love for the cheeseburgers that come every Wednesday noon. The audience of faculty, staff, other seminarians and lay students were laughing until we almost pee-ed in our pants.
Other acts included PDQ Bach songs with our professional organist John Cantius seminarian guys in playing exquisite pieces by Bach accompanied by our guys in Western cowboy costumes bleating out ditties about Leo and Lion, or, I am told, the famous Oedipus Tex with coyote calls.
The double climax was accordion dancing music by our Irish seminarian, Br. Declan, from a new order who will do parish missions to encourage 24 hour adoration. A space was made in the packed cafeteria for people to dance as everyone clapped to the music. A few younger seminarians, all in black clerics, got up to dance. Seeing that none of the young lay women or the Vietnamese Sisters or the woman faculty seemed willing to join in the fun, I heaved up my old 77 year old body and joined them to applause from those who probably never thought I could even walk without a cane.
I thought, so, at least these magisterial Catholics aren’t sour-pusses!
One of the priests who teaches here was happy, yet also so sad, to see 3 of his spiritual sons off to be ordained. He wept when they sang their farewell song. I wrote him this prose-poem, hoping I had picked up what he was feeling and might have written to them himself:
Tears of your Spiritual Father
If Jesu were not,
the joy of my desiring,
I could not send you
out of the womb
of this seminary
each to your destined crucifixions!
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia”