Monday, April 13, 2009

Winner of the 2009 "Red Badge of Courage" Award: Easter Sunday Ushers

Chicago, IL: An informal association of lay Catholics--calling themselves "Ruby's Religious Regulars" after the diner next to their parish--have awarded the "First Annual Red Badge of Courage Award" for underappreciated laypeople who work the Easter season.  This year's winner: church ushers.

"Deciding the winner was a cinch after we talked to the ushers at St. George's last year's Easter Monday," said self-appointed "Combo #5 and unofficial spokesperson" Jim Zilinski.  "First, they had to explain to people coming 15 minutes early why there was no space in the church to sit.  Then they had to slap some chairs together in the foyer area in two minutes flat, and keep people from grabbing them out of their hands while maintaining an attitude of Christian charity.  Then the Mass started, and they ran out of worship guides, and these folks coming in really needed them, unfortunately.  When communion began, the balcony and the foyer began feeding into the communion line like it was rush tickets for a Tom Jones concert.  Finally, as everyone left, a woman fainted dead away and a boy ran straight into a pew and took out his eyelid, and an ambulance had to be called.  One of the ushers still had the shakes from it all," he concluded.  "We bought them a round of Ruby's Chocolate Malts at the time, but felt we needed to honor them more directly."

The organizer of hospitality ministries at St. George's Catholic Church said that they were "surprised and humbled" by the award.  "Everyone thinks ushering is the soft service to give the Church," said Lorraine Wojda.  "It's a lot tougher than it looks; it's more than smiling and handing out worship guides.  No pain, no gain.  You need faith.  You need grace under pressure.  You need 911 on your cell speed dial.  You need someone to pinch you and remind you it's time to collect the communion baskets."

Ruby's Religious Regular Tom Loppard, also known as "Combo #3," said "We know there are lay people who make the high Holy days work, and ushers are the top of the list for me.  Just remember, the only thing standing between us Catholics and a Moonie revival is a faithful usher.  I like to think so, anyway," he said, wiping Ruby's BBQ special off his usher lapel pin.

--I.C.


1 comment:

Allen's Brain said...

Heh. I especially love the "a.k.a. combo #3" et al.