Monday, July 13, 2015

The Greatest Day?

For publication in the Staffordshire Sentinel 15 July 2015. 

Some might think that the life of a Priest is dull and boring and not a little humourless. Not at all. At least not if you are able to laugh at yourself. 

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Let me explain …
Just a week ago, the second week in July, I celebrated a wedding in our lovely Church of the Sacred Heart, Jasper Street in Hanley.
The Bride is a regular at Mass, and over the time of preparation for their big day, I have come to know the couple well. Just a few days before the ceremony, we had the rehearsal and all was set for this wonderful day. Guests had travelled from as far afield as Zambia, and there was an excited, expectant air in the Church.
The Bride entered (almost on time) to the traditional Bridal March, and there were, during the service, the usual couple of hymns. Bride and Groom also asked for some recorded music, two pieces. The first,a song by Elbow, during the signing of the registers, and the second by Take That, as they processed out of the Church. I try to accommodate wishes if the music doesn’t detract from the prayers and worship itself, which these choices certainly didn’t.
So, fancying myself as something of an expert with technology, and possessing some of the latest devices, I downloaded the music requested, and set up both pieces to play on my smart phone, which I duly connected - by cable - to the Church’s sound system.
Now, my most recently acquired device, which I wear about my wrist, does several amazing things. One of these is telling the time (I know, astonishing isn’t it?). Another is that it acts as a remote control for my phone.
Great, I thought. Rather than walk to and from the sound system, I can control the music for the wedding from my wrist.
So, after the exchange of the vows, we moved to a table, in Our Lady’s Chapel inside the Church, to sign the registers. As rehearsed, I tapped the watch, and the music came in on cue. I could adjust the volume from my Wrist, pause and repeat the track if necessary. It worked perfectly.
After the registers, we returned to the main body of the Church to sing “Shine Jesus Shine”. The weather outside was a bit blustery, but in the Church there were plenty of smiles shining on the faces of family and friends.
The singing completed, I wished everyone well, congratulated the couple, encouraged a generous donation to the work of our Church - all the usual stuff - then gave God’s blessing to all those assembled.
The couple now linked arms, and waited for the Music - ‘The Greatest Day” by Take That - which would accompany their procession out of the Church.
Smiling, I tapped the face of the device on my wrist.
I looked at the watch, grinning a little less, and tapped it again.
Still silence.
The couple smiled, indulgently. I shrugged my shoulders, apologised, and began to walk the short distance to the sound system, where the phone was connected.
There was a low muttering in the Church
And then - the music started to play. Relieved, I turned to the couple. The bride smiled with relief and then together, arm in arm, bride and groom turned to face the congregation and begin their procession.
It was at that point that a voice sang out through the sound system, loud and clear, not Take That, but Band Aid: “It’s Christmas Time …”
My embarrassment was complete, my face flushed, though thankfully the Church rang with laughter.
I rushed to the equipment, corrected the error and soon Take That were restored to their rightful place.

And the moral of tale (not that there need be one)? The Greatest Day? It's Christmas Time!

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