Meditating with Fr. Fritz

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll remember when Nicole mentioned a certain secret workshop that she wasn’t allowed to talk about… but I am! It was actually a not so secret workshop in Dublin on meditation and children. One of the goals this year for the parish team is to begin implementing school wide meditation for the children. The workshop covered the spirituality and practice of meditation, especially with children. It also covered the physical benefits of regular meditation from a scientific viewpoint, citing several studies as well as providing stories and reports on the fruits of this program in England. By the end of the day I was convinced of the benefits of this spiritual discipline and have been trying to practice it ever since (trying being the key word there).

The highlight of the week for me was definitely on Thursday, when Nicole and I went over to the Franciscan Friary in Wexford for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the founder of the Franciscans (in case their name didn’t give it away for you). We provided some musical support and led the children of a nearby school in hymns and songs as the Mass was celebrated. Bishop Denis presided alongside several friars and priests, including our very own Fr. Denis. Of note as well was the visit by a Coptic bishop who, while unable to con-celebrate a liturgy according to the Roman Rite, was nevertheless in attendance to join the community in prayer.

Now, you might be wondering who “Fr. Fritz” is, since I mentioned him in the title of the post. Well friends, he is one of the oldest priests in Wexford, a Franciscan Friar, and more importantly, the source of a great story from that Mass. After communion and the announcements, Fr. Fritz was invited to come up to the microphone and say a few words to the children. Now, Fr. Fritz walked with a walker, and so by the time he came to the microphone all eyes were on him. First, he told the kids about some of the pets he had as a child (pets were mentioned earlier in the Mass due to St. Francis), which included a baboon, four blue monkeys, and a python. He then asked the children if he could sing them a song that he learned when he was a boy, which he called “The Graveyard Song.” Unfortunately, I was unable to find the lyrics online to post here, but the chorus was to have the children sing “ooooooo” and then “aahhhhhh” after a line or two of Fr. Fritz singing. As the song progresses, we hear the story of a little boy who decided to visit a graveyard late at night and found that all the corpses had come back to life. As Fr. Fritz sang he got quieter and quieter, and so did the children, until he came to the last verse: “You’ll look like us when you’re dead” AAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!. And the kindly, old Fr. Fritz let out scream that caused the children to jump back a foot in their seats and scream out in fright. If you haven’t guessed yet by the title and last lyric, it was a Halloween song, and rather morbid with talk of corpses and ghosts, but the children absolutely loved it, and so did we.

Next week, we’ll hear from Molly as she talks about the weekend and our formal commissioning as ministers within the Diocese of Ferns.