Saturday, 1 July 2017


We priests sure do get some weird requests for prayers!   Keep a straight face? Difficult but necessary!   They are desperate! No laughing for them -though it may be for us! They need help; help we must give!
So there was, I, a recently ordained priest - still ‘wet behind the ears;’ I’d just left England and had arrived in Grenada in the W. Indies. For me this was a new culture, totally different from the one I’d left.  I expected it to be full of surprises.
But nothing prepared me for the unusual prayer request from the man from River Road, a suburb of the capital, St. George’s.    Having nothing better to do, his mates had thrown him into the nearby river.   Not much harm in that.   In the hot tropical sun he would soon dry out and may even have welcomed the cool water.   So, why take the trouble to seek my prayers?
His was an unheard-of problem. When he was pitched into the river he had a good Grenadian accent…and was proud of it! With this he mixed well with his mates, his rum-shop drinking partners!   Was he vexed, was he amused,  when he climbed out of the river? Neither! He was startled, horrified! As soon he had hurled a few colourful abuses at his mates he realized had a posh, ‘plum-in mouth’ English accent -the kind which wealthy parents pay a fortune for their youngsters to acquire.
Pity the man from River Road! This sign of exalted social status made him feel an alien among his friends, an object of ridicule. The river had washed away his identity!     Desperately he begged, ‘Wash me mout,’ Fadda.’
Quite honestly, I did not know what to make of the poor man’s predicament.   Realising I was completely out of my depth, I placed the poor man in the Lord’s hands as we prayed together.  What is certain is that the man wanted Jesus to remove the posh accent barrier which isolated him. Strange to say, reaching out to the despised and rejected, removing the barriers and making them welcome, sums up Christ’s work of salvation, and the mission of the Church.  If the rest is history, I have no idea whether or not my prayer was  answered. We’ll leave it there.’
I’ve another crazy tale to share with you, about a chicken hawk, but I’ll save that for another time!
Isidore O.P.

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