“Please don’t put your panties in the regular collection” are not words heard often in Church, if at all, but it did happen last weekend. Our Council of Catholic Women (CCW) have been making little dresses for years to send down to Haiti for little girls to wear. Haiti is desperately poor and children literally have little or no clothing. Due to the heat of the climate clothes are not needed for warmth but to enhance self esteem and modesty. The CCW reasoned that if we’re sending down dresses, what about underwear for the little girls? Thus Undie Sunday was born.
The problem for a priestly pastor who preaches providing for the poor from the pulpit is addressing (no pun intended) how to collect such unmentionables from the altar without sounding like a pervert. It is not easy. The ladies came up with the term “Undie Sunday” but left it to the pastor to make the necessary announcements leading up to the day of collection. The priest, myself, is a nonfunctional nincompoop in the area of children’s garments, so the ladies thoughtfully wrote out some suggestions for the announcement of the upcoming collection of little girl’s underwear.
On the designated Sunday I had to remind parishioners to not put your panties in the regular collection but in dresser drawers the CCW had put in the back of the Church. The saving grace of the announcement was that you could donate money to the cause instead of shopping for little girl’s underwear. Here’s a tip: if you see a priest looking, shopping or purchasing children’s panties in a store, call his bishop immediately. Who knew that charity could be so embarrassing?
Adam and Eve could have used some underwear from the first reading of the Book of Genesis for this First Sunday of Lent (year A). With knowledge of good and evil came sin and temptation (and the ability to sew fig leaves together). The devil in Matthew’s Gospel tries to take advantage of the reality of sin and temptation to entice Jesus into serving evil. The Lord rejects the devil and all his empty promises with the simple scriptural phrase: “The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.” It is a saying we can use this Lent and everyday of our spiritual journey when temptation comes our way.