As a canon lawyer and theologian, I will recommend for sainthood our beloved Vocation Director for the notification that September 9 is “International Buy Your Priest a Beer Day.” Here is a world wide event that may solve the world’s crises and leave us, at last, in peace; or at least in a stupor. Of course Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Communist and Atheist countries may have a few issues in acquiring alcohol and/or Catholic priests to properly pay due homage to this sacred event. However in us civilized countries, the breweries will be putting on an extra shift to meet the expected high demand on that glorious autumn day.
Who, other than the most blessed, came up with the “International Buy Your Priest a Beer Day?” The Sacred Congregation for Hops and Barley in Rome comes to mind. The new prefect of that Congregation is Most Rev. Harold Cardinal Heineken, and he is a man of progress and ingenuity. The secretary of that august body is the Polish prince of piety, passion, pilsner and piwo himself, Augustus Card. Buschski IV. Naturally there had to be other secular organizations involved. The Association of Allied Atheists for the Advancement of Alcohol may be involved, but to what purpose? Rumor has it that the world wide council for P.I.G. (Priests In the Gutter) is a sponsor. No matter; bless whomever declared this day of joy.
Some priests cannot indulge in the suds for various reasons: medicines, addiction or they preach too long after a few cold ones. To these we say enjoy Sept. 10, which henceforth will be “International Buy Your Priest a New Car because He’s Can’t Drink Day.” For those of us spending the holyday of Sept. 9 as a Solemnity (Churchy note: Solemnity celebrations begin the night before with First Vespers), planning is needed. Counting all of my parishes, I serve about 550 families; on that one day, they’ll all be serving me. It’s best to check the waiting lines for a liver transplant now and have a trustee from one of the parishes hide your car keys. You can never be too prepared.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus gathers with the disciples after they had gone out to preach and asks them to “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” (Mk 6:31) Priests do need to be alone, experience silence and be at prayer; it’s what energizes us to do the work of the Gospel. If there happens to be a cold barley brew there afterwards, it’s a blessing. Thank God and the Vocations Director!