- Go to Mass every week and sit in the third or fourth pew.
- Make an effort to receive Communion from him, and not the Eucharistic minister to his right, even when it causes a minor traffic jam.
- Stop and say hello after Mass is over, shake his hand, and wish him a good week ahead.
These are all excellent ways to get to know your pastor and, at the same time, allow him to familarize himself with you too.
But of course, if you really want to make yourselves stand out, there's always the "show him where he made a mistake" route.
See here's what you do ...
Have your 11 year old son walk right up to Father after Mass and ask about the mistake that was made - not just this week, but last week too!
Oh. My. Goodness.
All I can say is, I am so thankful our pastor is very good natured!
I feel I must explain, however, lest you think Bookworm was being fresh - he was honestly just checking his facts out with Father. Bookworm is a boy of information, and when the facts don't add up, he sniffs out the truth like a bloodhound.
See, last week at Mass, just as we began to say the Gloria, Bookworm leaned over to me, brow furrowed, and pointed to a line in his Magnifikid (which is a kid's version, word for word, of the liturgy). Where he was pointing it said, "We don't say the Glory to God prayer during Advent." And here we were, as a congregation, belting out the Gloria.
I smiled at Bookworm, gave him a "I have no idea" kind of shrug, and left it at that, knowing full well I would hear about this later.
And sure enough, in the car on the way home, Bookworm said to me, "Mama, how come Father Mike had us say the Gloria when we're not supposed to during Advent?"
There was a pause while I considered my answer, and then Bookworm answered his own question.
"Oh, I guess he just made a mistake."
But Crackerjack would have none of that.
"Priests don't make mistakes. They're perfect!"
So of course a whole conversation addressing this sweet but inaccurate remark was necessary. And that was the end of the Gloria issue ...
Until today at Mass, when we once again said - no sang, this time - the Gloria - and Bookworm tugged violently on my elbow and held up his Magnifikid, shaking it a little in obvious consternation. Again I shrugged but this time I followed it with a tap on his book which he knows means "back to the business at hand, buddy."
So 45 minutes later, we're all heading out of Mass, and as usual Father Mike is surrounded by many parishioners, chatting and catching up. We began to make our way toward the car when I realized Bookworm had hung back - and had caught Father's attention and was (oh, dear me) showing him his Magnfikid! He was showing him the notation about the Gloria!
I can only imagine my face was as pink as my hand-knitted scarf, as I headed over to join the tete-a-tete, ready to apologize, or at the very least explain, but Father in his usual kind and jovial way was laughing and looking over the book with Bookworm!
"You know, I was wondering about that myself!" he said. And then he turned to me and said (with a smile), "You know, he's going to make a great priest someday!"
We all laughed, and though Bookworm looked a little confused, I could tell he was relieved to have brought this to Father's attention. Father shook his hand, looked once more at the Magnifikid and thanked Bookworm for paying such close attention at Mass.
I, Mother of the Burning Cheeks, was proud, embarassed and highly amused all at once! I was most appreciative that Father took it all in stride and I commended Bookworm for having the courage to speak to Father, and ask his question, and for doing it so respectfully.
Next week when Father opens our Christmas card I am now more than certain he will recognize my boys at once - by face and thereafter by name too!