23rd Sunday in Football Time

No, there’s nothing “ordinary” about it at all, at least, not for born and bred Melbournians. I, of course, am excluded from that category. Having been born in South Australia, where at least (acc. to Victorians) they play the right kind of football, I missed out on that multi-faith upbringing which enables Christians in Melbourne to practice two religions at once: The Faith of Jesus Christ and the Faith of Aussie Rules Football. Even former Archbishop Little was a “bi-ritualist”, declaring allegiance to both religions simultaneously.

But why is it assumed, when we go to mass in Melbourne, that all Melbournian Catholics offer oblations at both altars?

At the vigil mass in my parish on Saturday night, football was the first subject raised following the invocation, leading neatly into the examination of conscience and Kyrie Eleison at the beginning of mass. Then, after the communion, the silence was cut short because “I promised I would get mass done quickly tonight so we could all get home to watch the game”. Finally, when next week’s baptismal candidate was brought forward to be presented with candle to be lighted next week, there had to be further comment about the fact that the neophyte was dressed in Collingwood’s colours…

But I stuck it out. The final straw came when the closing hymn used the Tetragrammaton for the name of God. I walked out.

Needless to say there was none of that nonsense at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Box Hill the following morning. But that’s because none of the clergy there are born and bred Melbournians. Very few Lutheran clergy in this country are. Rather than a positive sign of orthodoxy, it could well be just that the Lutherans still are not entirely enculturated in Melbourne.

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0 Responses to 23rd Sunday in Football Time

  1. matthias says:

    The other reason that AFL may not have been uppermost in people’s minds at St Paul’s Box Hill ,might be cause the senior pastor is an Adelaide crows fan and they had just been given a hiding by the Magpies.
    Incidentally i remember about 10 years ago when there was a football match between the Lutheran congregations of Greensborough versus those of Ringwood and Lilydale.

  2. Schütz says:

    Right you are, Matthias – it was a topic of discussion over lunch to celebrate our children’s first communion that day!

    You are a knowledgable chap – which “Matthias” are you?

    No, better not say – after your “I would convert to Catholicism” comments in the previous blog!

    Anonymity is welcome here at SCE!

  3. Past Elder says:

    Reminds me of a day some years ago which put Boston into fits, with three major religious celebrations all falling on the same day — Good Friday, Passover, and opening day of the Red Sox season, and a good many of the people in town needing to observe at least two of them!

  4. matthias says:

    I was once at a Anglican wedding at a Anglican church in Mulgrave-now a MacDonalds. The vicar hurried through the service ,because he was wanting to go to the First Semi final .No sanctity,no usual Anglican sense of orderly worship,just a half hour . So I know the frustration that you experienced on saturday night.

  5. Peter says:

    i remember about 10 years ago when there was a football match between the Lutheran congregations of Greensborough versus those of Ringwood and Lilydale.

    Good grief! I played in that match, was it really 10 years ago?

  6. Mike says:

    I have to say that I think that walking out during the closing hymn is quite a daring gesture, and will certainly show that priest – if he notices you amongst all the others hurrying out to watch the game!

  7. Sharon says:

    Geez, fr has to show that he is one of the boys – none of that sissy reverence or worship stuff for him.

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