Poor Boxes

by Charles McGrath


I knew and old Irish priest who shared the following with me.

Many years back he was assigned to an inner city church not unlike Sacred Heart Vailsburg. At that time there were no Eucharist Servers as we know them today. The host was given only by a priest. Remember we had to go to the front of the alter and knell down to receive the host?

To be time effective they had an intercom set up between the Church and the rectory. The priest in the rectory would listen for the portion of the celebration of Mass where he was needed. He then would go to the Church and assist the other priest in giving Communion. This normally worked out very well with no surprises.

As I'm sure you also remember years ago most Catholic churches never locked their doors. At night the primary lighting in most was provided by the votive candles. The incandescent lighting was tertiary or secondary at best. It was very hallow and quiet place to say the least.

Late one Sunday evening the old Irish priest went into the office portion of the rectory. This was the room where the intercom was located. When he entered the office he heard two guys talking. Someone forgot to shut the intercom off earlier that day. When he listened to what they were saying he realized that they were robbing the poor boxes in the Church.

Without thinking his latent Irish humor kicked in. He switched the intercom from receive to send. Next he lowered his voice by two octaves and said the following very slowly.

"Thou- Shall- Not -Steal"

He tuned the intercom to the receive mode and heard the following;

(1) Two guys screaming.

(2) The sounds of running feet.

(3) The sound of a closing door

(4) Total silence!

That was a true story from many years ago.


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