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January 16, 2006



One time when I was lectoring, I said something about Jesus and followed with His sins when it was supposed to be our sins.

I am not sure anyone noticed but I felt terrible!


Kate P

Oh man, I totally had the "smoking brassiere" thing in mind when the immorality/immortality thing came up in the other thread! And yes, I also heard that "they prostated themselves" before Jesus during a reading of the Passion a few years back. Lectors sure don't have it easy, do they? God bless 'em.

 Other Marc

How about Jesus eating with the Protestants and other sinners.

Kevin Jones

One time mass was said by an African priest from the Belgian congo. After the consecration, whenever he sang "this is the mystery of our faith," his thick accent made it sound like he was singing "This is the misery of our faith...."


Pray without creasing!

(Which makes a bit of sense, if you think about creased brows, since we're instructed in Phil. 4 to have no anxiety at all.)

Rev. Andrew G. Bloomfield

I hate to post this, but a close priest friend of mine has admitted to proclaiming, "And Jordan baptized Jesus in the John." True story.

chris K

Yesterday, our celebrant kept getting Samuel mixed up with Sampson. Later he apologized and said that he was having more senior moments since he just turned 54 last week.

And, Amy, usually it's just the opposite use (of prostate) one usually hears on the MSM... you know, like "prostrate cancer".

Paul Smith

The priest invited the children in attendance to come up during the homily and sit in at the front so he could talk to them about the manger scene. He pointed out the donkey and said it had another name that the kids' parent would normally let them say, but he'd make an exception this time and one of the kids what it was. The kid yelled right into the microphone "A*****e!"

The priest was aghast, but fortuntely most people thought it was funny. After Mass, he was telling people "I've learned my lesson. From now on, I'll ask kids to whisper their answer in my ear before giving them the microphone!"

Catherine of Alexandria

In one parish where teenagers were encouraged to lector, I heard two great gaffes:

On Palm Sunday, during the Passion, the young man narrating the Via Dolorosa made reference to the distraught women "baring their breasts."

And in the same year, possibly All Saints, another lector quotes Jesus as proclaiming "I am the alfalfa and the omega."

Fr Martin Fox (Septimus)

Oh, I have several stories...

When I was in the seminary, communal morning or evening prayer would often be led by a fellow seminarian, and it would also be an occasion for a seminarian to preach.

One slip was so memorable that I cannot recall whether it was one of the prayers, or in his reflection, but he referred to "Jerusalem, that sh-tty city" . . .

This one did come as part of a "reflection": a classmate meant to refer to the "New Testament canticle," but instead, said, "New Cantament testicle."

The "flaming brassiere" made its dazzling appearing a couple of times while I was in the seminary . . .

And now I will confess a faux pas just last night, during funeral home prayers. I meant to say, "be stouthearted..." but for some reason, I said, "stoutfarted" before I caught myself...


It is legend in our parish about the recent heavily-accented appeal for the Fund for Retarded, actually Retired, Priests.

American Papist

At morning prayer, one of the fellows I knew in college misread a prayer intention "Lord inflame our hearts" as "Lord inflame our farts."

It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.

Mary Kay

The poor Philippians. Besides called Filipinos, there's a report that someone once said, "...letter to the Fallopians"

Cranky Lawyer

In college, we used prayer/readings/song sheets typed (this was pre-MSWord) each week. My roommate and I waited anxiously each Sunday for the typos.

To summarize the best (of those I can remember): "Lrod our Ogd, heave mercy on us."

P.S. And on the topic of typos, when will the late, great, beloved JPII be removed from the Eucharistic Prayers?


Or could it be our hearing is failing? Hmmmm


Our deacon once proclaimed that "No prophet is expected in his hometown."

One can just imagine the people of Nazareth, "Hey Jesus, what are you doing here?"

Paul Smith

On JPII in the Eucharistic Prayer, a few weeks after Benedict's election, our associate pastor was praying "and for...... Benedict, our Pope". The noticable pause and heavy emphasis made about half the church laugh.

Zadok the Roman

I think that a good test of a lector is how well they read Romans 6:10 (which in the NAB is rendered)
As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God.

How a lector reads 'died to sin' reveals an awful lot about whether they understand the sense of the verse and whether they can convey that.

Mary Jane

I heard a lector once refer to the Ethopian "oinch" in reading from the Acts of the Apostles. He didn't think that sounded quite right, so he tried "unch."


Once when we were getting ready for choir, I read the order of worship, and instead of "How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place", our choir director had printed "How Lovely is Your Swelling Place".

Old Zhou

You know, the story goes that St. Antony (feast day tomorrow) was converted and guided by hearing the Word of God proclaimed in Church.

Why is it that in so many Churches and Chapels today the Word is God is proclaimed by so many, in so many languages, so poorly? From the sort of slap-stick comedy reported hear (yes, I can tell stories, too), to the inaudible mumblers, to those who have claerly not prepared at all and either don't know the phrasing or, worse, turn to the wrong page of the Lectionary. Or those who decide to edit the Word of God (for political correctness, gender equity, or modesty). Or those who think it is time to practice all their (melo)dramatic reading skills.

Yes, I have worked with parish lectors, in more than one parish.

I think in many places, your local newspaper is delivered with more respect and reverence that what the Word of God receives in parishes.


In college,

"A reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Romulans"


"Pray without seizing"

Kevin Miller

I once met a Dominican priest who's chaplain at a college somewhere in NY. He told me how he finally had to forbid the lectors from reading "inclusive language" into the texts. The straw that broke the camel's back was when a lector was reading a text about circumcision, and the lector referred to the person being circumcized as "he or she."


I once heard a deacon read the Gospel concerning Jesus' instruction to the apostles who were to go out to the various towns and and spread the Word. And with respect to any town which rejected them they were to "shake the ducks from their feet."

So help me. Believe it or not, I was about the only one to burst out laughing.

Claude Muncey

Yep, heard the "immorality" flub this weekend but didn't have the heart . . .

My best story dates back to my days as an Anglican. My best friend, then an American Baptist pastor, and I were in the back row at my church, listening to a brand new curate (also a friend of ours) preach. He was working on the story of David and Bathsheba, but unfortunately, he switched words, replacing "committing adultery with Bathsheba" (a person) with "committing adultery with Beersheeba" (a town). As these things happened, once he did it, it stuck in his head, so despite what he had typed up, which was correct, he kept using "Beersheeba", over and over again. While everyone else either didn't catch it or was too polite to notice, my pastor friend and I were turning purple, choking back laughter every time he said it.

We cornered the new curate, safely after everyone else was gone, and informed him how much we had enjoyed his sermon about what must have been the wildest party in the Old Testament . . .


The recessional hymn was announced as:
"Crown Him with Many Thorns"

F. C. Bauerschmidt

I have this only second-hand, but a friend of mine swears that he participated in a Stations of the Cross where the women of Jerusalem "laminated" Jesus.

As he commented, "The scourging and the crown of thorns was bad enough, but that hot plastic must have really hurt!"


"A Reading from the Letter of Paul to the Philippines"

I also have worked with lectors for many years. While some irk me by not preparing, most mistakes and slips of the tongue are honest mistakes and slips. No disrespect is intended. The readers that bother me the most are the ones who are very good readers, but draw more attention to themselves than to the reading.

Oh - more more. This is a typo, not a slip of the tongue.
The person who types our bulletin accidentally typed "God's Panty" instead of "God's Pantry" (A local food bank). Lukily, the typo was found before it went to print.


My two favorite:

Judas Escargot (during Holy Thursday Mass)

Phillipines (instead of Philippians)

Another favorite: During Holy Saturday Mass, we were reciting the litany of saints. The missal instructions said something like, "Insert saint name of Catachumens," but it wasn't written quite that clearly. The singer belted out rather modern names, e.g., "St. Tiffany, pray for us. St. Brook, pray for us. St. Skyler, pray for us."

Momma K

When my son was younger (6th grade) he was asked to read right before the Stations of the Cross--without time to practice.

A poor reader, he was beside himself and when the time came instead of "Veronica wiped Jesus's face" he blurted out "Victoria whipped Jesus's face"

My friends still ask if that is "Victoria's Secret"


Advance apologies to all Hispanics reading; many years ago a lector at our parish exhorted us to pray for the spics(sick)of the parish.


I couldn't make this up if I wanted to:

A visiting priest from Sri Lanka invited all the teens in the church to come to the altar so he could speak directly to them about the immorality of American culture, especially the sexual permissiveness. In addressing them, he admonished them about the sinfulness of using, "What you say in America...condos?"


Inexplicably, during the Eucharistic prayer a few weeks back we prayed for "our Holy Father, Pope Gregory". Not sure what happened there...


Mistakes are legion, even among the most learned and well prepared. In addition to the gaffes above, I have heard:

of Abramham "my father was a wandering Armenian" instead of Aramean.

describing a good wife in Proverbs: "and from her earings she plants a garden" instead, of course, from her earnings.

and from the half awake priest at a 6 AM Mass, following the consecration "we remember your glorious resurrection and ascension into heaven," except that two letters were missing from the rising from the tomb.

The worst bulletin mistake, fortunately caught during proofreading, should have said that the parish would have "public adoration." What a difference the one missing letter 'l' would have made!


I've heard so many readers who can't distinguish between Calvary and cavalry.


I'll admit that I made the gaffe this weekend on the first mention, but immediately corrected. I spend a lot of time reading through to make sure the words are clear to me before I proclaim the Word, but for some reason my head just froze when I was reading on Sunday.

Henry Dieterich

I've heard the story of the Wandering Armenian twice. Then there was the priest who, in the course of the nuptial blessing at a wedding, informed us that marriage was "the only blessing not fortified by Original Sin or washed away by the Flood."

Hunk Hondo

We once had a pastor--a fine man, now with God--who, though an American, had some odd. idiosyncrasies about pronunciation. For one thing, he would always preface our Savior's name with a short of gasp--"Ajesus" rather than "Jesus". He also had a peculiar rendition of the word "Lord"; he always pronounced it "lurid". It was aggravated by the fact that he never referred to Him simply as "Christ"; it was always "our blessed Lurid Ajesus Christ."
But that wasn't the worst. Once there was a priest from Colombia who was studying at Vanderbilt and who would help out at our weekend Masses. His English was good, but very heavily accented. At the end of every Mass he celebrated, he would say quite clearly and in perfect innocence: "The Mass is ended; go and p**s." Nobody ever had the heart to talk to him about it. Pobre hombre!

Cheeky Lawyer

The thick accent of a priest friend of mine made it come out sounding like, "Bless These Asses."

I also said prostate instead of prostrate once when reading something.


This is the reading of the passion. When Peter is asked if he knew our Lord he responded, "Not I." Well the lector thought the "I" was an exclamation point so when Peter was asked if he knew the Lord, he replied, "NOT!"

Fr. Seraphin

I shudder to recall it but: "mary wiped the hair of Jesus with her feet". In my defense, it was 6 in the morning and the Sisters didn't seem to react....at first!

Fr. Phil Bloom

On Holy Family Sunday one of my lectors encouraged people to "instruct and abolish one another."

But, then, I have told them that not only will the person who exalts himself be humbled, but that "he who humbles himself will exhausted."

Sometimes, like Balaam's ass we unwittingly speak the truth.

Sherry Weddell

This didn't involved reading something wrong but it certainly lingered in the minds of all who witnessed it - for years.

Picture this: My first Easter Vigil as a Catholic, I was serving. During the singing of the Exultet by candle-light, I was stationed in the sacristy, listening to the service through kind of intercom but with no view of the church itself. I did not have a text of the liturgy with me and only had a marginal idea of what to expect.

I was told, "just wait until the cantor stops singing, then switch on the lights." He stopped singing. I turned on the lights. Then he started singing again. So in a panic, I switched off the lights. Then he stopped again. So in desperation, I switched on the lights again.

At this point, two wild-eyed Dominicans showed up breating fire. I mean, how was a wet behind the ears 4 month old Catholic to know that the cantor always stops singing momentarily during the Exultet?

It's a kind of immortality, really. A sort of perverse: "wherever throughout all the world the Good News is proclamined, what she has done will be told also." Certainly no one who was there has ever forgotten - or let me forget!


Not something heard in church but over the airwaves. In October of 1978, the election of JPII had been announced. The announcer reading the late afternoon news on our local classical music station (WFMT in Chicago) stated that the Church had elected the 1st non-Catholic pope in 450 years. A bit later, in response to a deluge of phone calls, he provided a somewhat more nuanced statement, namely that the 1st non-Italian pope in more than 450 years had been elected.

Fr Martin Fox (Septimus)

About saying "John Paul" during the Eucharistic Prayer...

In the days after we lost our previous holy father, in the "interregnum" if we call it that, the practice is simply to omit that phrase from the canon, as we have no pope.

I did pause at that point at several celebrations of the Mass, and I choked up, to be honest. (That Sunday after our beloved pope died, I put a post-it note over that part of the Eucharistic Prayer, because I really, really did not want to make that mistake that day.)

Later, when I slipped and said John Paul rather than Benedict, I did notice folks smiling.

The sadness came back rather suddenly, and I was mortified. Some chuckled, as if for a run-of-the-mill slip, where my own reaction was to feel a stab of sorrow that I could no longer mention our late, beloved pope in the canon. It just felt bad, and the reaction of others at that instant seemed so incongruous.

It occurs to me, upon further reflection, that that part of the Eucharistic Prayer is particularly "personal" to a priest: as I speak it for everyone, it means a lot to me to proclaim that I am in union with the pope and his bishop -- that's an essential part of a priest's identity.

Henry Peyrebrune

Slightly off topic - but in a music class, a classmate giving an oral report made not one, not two, but three references to "Porgy and Breast." We almost broke our necks straining to try to see who he was distracted by.

James Kabala

I once heard a letctor repeatedly pronounce "Job" like the word "job."

Sherry Weddell

breating fire, huh?

Some of us just have a gift.


Why? It's funny, but it's not funny.

I too got the immorality for the immortality. I wondered if the man had prepared the reading the day before. This mistake might not have happened, probably wouldn't have happened, with adequate preparation including reading it aloud several times even at home. His mouth would have been set right and his brain set right no matter what trick his eye might have played on him .

And readers slow down. That doesn't mean drag, but just slow down. The brain and the eyes work more quickly than the choir of articulators in your mourth.

And insist on being given well printed material from which to read. Not the newsprint pamphlet.


``The announcer reading the late afternoon news on our local classical music station (WFMT in Chicago) stated that the Church had elected the 1st non-Catholic pope in 450 years.''

I heard that one too, Ed! :-) (Ah, such memories as it brings back - newly married, newly pregnant, the roachy little apartment-over-the-bar on Melrose St....)


At the end of a homily, a beloved pastor wanted to thank the many volunteers who had set up a special event that was going to follow the Mass, complete with food, and he wanted us to take time and consider the behind-the-scenes work that goes into such events.

"Do we ever ask ourselves who did all this work? Who ironed the linens? Who bought the flowers? Who went to the bakery? etc. etc etc. "

and then he very loudly asked ---

"Who cut the cheese?"

My daughter and I just lost it!


The best example of a liturgical "spoonerism" (inadventent transposition of consonants or vowels) I heard happened was a nervous deacon uttering

"The ass is mended, go in peace."

The priest said he was hearing confessions for nearly three months from people who said they never laughed so hard at Mass before or since.

Mark Shea

Back in my Evangelical days, I knew a couple of pastors with a sad penchant for slips of the tongue and spoonerisms. One of them render Isaiah's text in a sermon as "You shall rise up on ings of weagles!"

Better than this was the glorious moment in which the other pastor, in the midst of a dramatic sermon on the glories of the Body of Christ, declared, "The Church is not just a group of people who meet on Sunday! The Church is not just an 'organiziation'! No! The Church is a living orgasm!"

He paused for dramatic effect, only to realize what he had said. Then he strived to master himself because he was half-mortified and half-afraid he would burst out laughing.

There was a micro-pause as the words sank into the consciousness of several hundred eager, pious, charismatics. They looked at him. He looked at them. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked....

Dave Pawlak

Many years ago, I helped with the imposition of ashes at two Spanish-language Masses, both SRO. After a while, Acuerdete que eres polvo, y el polvo volvera (Remember, you are dust...) slurred into Acuerdate que eres Cuervo(Remember, you are tequila...).


I heard "immortality" at 3 of our parishes 4 weekend Masses, and at various times in other places I have heard "flaming brassiers" (more than once,) as well as Pauls' Letter to the Fallopians, Phillipinos and something that sounded like "Flippin's," and "go in piss."

But the best I've ever heard of is second-hand. I have a Baptist friend, a PK, who swears he heard someone try to say that the Israelites pitched their tents, and come out with they "pinched their tits."


About fifteen years ago during Mass at the local college center: Student lectors usually didn't practice the section of the lectionary they were supposed to read during Sunday Mass. The title of the reading said: 'Jas.' So my friend got up in front of everyone and read: " A reading from the book of Jasper."
Needless to say, we never let her forget it.


At a conference at Franciscan University of Steubenville several years ago, Archbishop Chaput read about the sending of the apostles in Luke. He read that Jesus sent them "as wolves in the midst of sheep." There was no reaction in the crowd that I saw; evidently respect for the bishop was too great.

Tim Ferguson

My favorite:

The response to the psalm was supposed to be: "Fill our souls with hope, O Lord."
The lector announced: "Our response today is: Fill our holes with soap, O Lord."


This is not quite the same thing, but once at daily Mass the priest started to laugh during the penitential rite. He later explained that he was trying to learn a new liturgical option that day, and had a piece of paper with the text on it. Some prankster had replaced it with one that said:

Lord Jesus, You said the Pharisees were full of dead men's bones....

Lord, have Mercy.

You called Your best friend 'Satan'...

Christ, Have Mercy.

You made a whip out of cords and hit people with it...

Lord, Have Mercy.

Actually, he only told us the first two. I'm guessing as to what the last one was.

c matt

..., y el polvo volvera

two fer one in that one - and the dust will return. You probably meant "y al polvo volvera". Although, "You are Cuervo, and the dust will return" may have some special meaning for many.


This is not really a funny gaffe, but it was certainly a cringe inducing moment. During the homily for my uncle's funeral mass the priest kept mis-pronouncing my uncle's last name. It's Medeaglia, and the g is silent as it is an Italian last name. But he kept pronouncing it Muh-dagg-leeu-uh. Finally, my cousin (uncle's son) just shouted, "It's Muh-dahl-ee-uh." The poor preist really didn't know what to say or do, but he managed to finish the homily.

Fr Martin Fox (Septimus)


"The Church is a living orgasm!"

Not an utterly indefensible statement, in light of the Incarnation, Bridegroom Christology and Ecclesiology and the "Theology of the Body," but a rather intense way to say it, I daresay...

It reminds me of a joke I heard in the seminary.

Two professors were having a theological discussion as they walked through the hall of the dorm at the seminary. Suddenly, a voice rang out from behind one of the doors: "holy s---!"

One professor turned to the other and said, "Now there's someone who understands the Incarnation!"


Has to be the petition in the prayer of the faithful:

"For an increase in respect for all human life, from contraception to natural death."

B Knotts

This isn't a misreading, but a rather humorous flub nonetheless...

One Sunday, our deacon introduced the final blessing thusly:

"Now, bow your heads, and pay for God's blessing."

Wolf Paul

When my wife an I werw living in the US in the late eighties someone reading from one of the epistles of Peter spoke of "abdominal idolatries". My wife and I looked at each other and I whispered, "Is this a reference to those whose god is their belly?" To our utter astonishment we later realized that no-one else had noticed.

Concerning "pitched his tents": absolutely true and not apocryphal. I have a 2.9Mb video file of the scene if anyone is interested.

American Papist

"fill our holes with soap" i've also witnessed. amazing spoonerisms...


I was once introduced as the "crucifier" rather than the "crucifer."

Melissa Wiley

I know a small child who misunderstood the words of the Act of Contrition she was learning. She was saying, "Oh my God, I am hardly sorry for having offended thee..."


It was a student mass when the fifth grader, while doing the prayers of the faithful prayed that the sanctity of life be preserved... from contraception to natural death. I thought Fr. was going to have a stroke.


Or as a child before learning the Our Father: "Our Father who aren't in heaven ..."

Maria Ashwell

At my daughter's preschool, one little boy earnestly prayed, "Our Father and Kevin..."

Jim Cavnar

We had the "immortality" gaffe too this Sunday at my Fort Lauderdale parish.

Can't compare with the soloist at a small parish in Michigan in the late sixties who sang, "When I fall on my face with my knees to the rising sun, O Lord, have mercy on me." Indeed.


My then four-year old began grace one night with, "Bless us O Lord, and be our guest". (Can I get an awwww?) I can't tell you how many times I have thought of the appropriateness of that new prayer.

Teresa Polk

A child singing in church the hymn "Lead on, O King Eternal" sang "Lead on O King of Turtles."

Fr. Totton

When I was in the minor seminary I had a classmate who was deaf in one ear. He would often rush through whatever he was reading and so one evening at Vespers, (for some reason we were reading extended continuous readings from Scripture, rather than the short selections in the breviary) we heard about all those the Lord had placed under the ban: the Amalekites, and the Hittites, the Perizites and the JESUITS! (jebusites)

A friend related the story of a woman who was reading at Mass. She was known for her crafty "on-the-fly" inclusivising of the text and so it got her into trouble when the Lord told them to "take your sons and daughters and have them circumcised"!

Finally, a guffaw of my own: I was preparing a couple for marriage - They were really a great couple - great outlook, easy-going, interested in living the faith. One day they came in and I had left my brain in a jar on my dresser that morning. It was clearly in my appointment book who I was meeting with and I needed them to sign the diocesan prenuptial questionnaire (they had answered all the questions but the absent-minded priest forgot to have them sign it in the correct place. So I present them with the questionnaire and ask them to sign it, pointing to the correct lines. Each looks at me askance, but signs it nonetheless. Just as they finished signing it occurred to me I had given them the questionnaire of A DIFFERENT COUPLE! Mortified, I apologized, "I promise it won't happen at the wedding." (my exact wordss)
Fast forward a month or so to the wedding, all goes smooth and well, I got their names right all the way through, after the dismissal (very clearly "Go in the Peace of Christ") "It is my distinct pleasure and privilege to present to you Mr. and Mrs. James Flanagan" except at that moment there was an audible gasp followed immediately by uncontrolled laughter echoing throughout the church. I turned beet-red when I realized my mistake: Flanagan was HER maiden name!

Donna V.

This was a mishearing, rather than a mispronouncement. When I was about 6 or so, I often "played Mass." Being quite the progressive in those days, I served as priest, with a congregation of consisting of my kid brother and the dog. I used Necco wafers for Communion and solemnly administered them with what I honestly thought the priest said at Communion: "Bonnie and Christ."

I'm sure I committed many grave liturgical errors, but that's the only one I can recall.

Fr. Totton

Okay, one more from the seminary.

Daily Mass:

The assigned lector was responsible for composing the prayers of the faithful. One day the lector included prayers for an end to abortion and infanticide.

The deacon (my classmate - a different one) did not take time to review the petitions before Mass and when he came to that prayer he encountered a word he had personally never heard before (infanticide - don't ask me how one could spend six years in the seminary and not ever hear it!) not knowing what to make of it, he prayed "for an end to abortion and infant suicide"

Donna V.

Oh, and I guess children still do play Mass: a couple of years ago, I was taking out the trash one Saturday, when I heard a child's voice proclaiming "Through Him, with Him and in Him, in the unity of the Holy Father,...," coming from the backyard next door. It was the neighbor's son, standing in front of 3 or 4 other little kids. They were all very serious about it, and the "priest" did a surprisingly good job of getting the words right.

A future vocation?

Donna V.

They were all very serious about it, and the "priest" did a surprisingly good job of getting the words right.

Ahem. Yes, a 6 year old child remembered the words of the Mass better than I apparently do at 46. He actually said "Holy Spirit" not "Holy Father."


Over the last two years, on three separate occasions, one of the lectors in my parish has announced a reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Theologians.


I heard a priest once give a homily on the man born blind since birth. He said it several times and I kept wondering how one could be born blind not since birth.


A couple of years ago a new lector here nervously proclaimed ... "Anus and Cayphus.." She never showed up again...I think Father was a little put off judging by his eyes rolling back into his head as he listened......


A child singing at Mass, "I've got brains" instead of "Our God reigns."


a reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Theologians

Well, the Theologians did need a good talking to.


Two to share: Our Cathedral bulletin, advertising some novel apostolate, encouraged us to join them and become "untied with the Lord".

And, as a teen-ager, we heard our auxiliary bishop work himself up into an impassioned plea for us to be mindful of "the Negroes in Selma, Alabama who are being beetle-y bruten".


We had a lectoress who couldn't pronounce "Uriah the Hittite." It always came out "YER-uh the HAY-tee."

And my favorite example of on-the-fly inclusive language: "those fed numbered five thousand men AND WOMEN, not counting women and children."


An American friend of mine tells me that the first time he said mass on his own in German, he got his vowels mixed up and prayed not "Erloese uns Herr, allmaechtiger Vater, von allem Boesen" but rather "Erloese uns Herr, allmaechtiger Vater, von allem Busen."

Hence not "Deliver us Lord, almighty Father, from every evil" but "Deliver us Lord, almighty Father, from every bosom."

Actually if I remember the way he told it correctly, there was something about every bosom, "past, present or to come." Perhaps an older German text than the one I have at my elbow.

Wish I'd been there. Or maybe not.


Remember the "People's Mass Book"? I don't think it is published any longer, but at one point in the 70's, when it was still out, the cover was the color black. And what do you think a cantor would always announce at our all white (i.e. caucasian) parish--apparently with no sense of irony: "We will all now sing hymn #x from the black people's Mass book." It left some of us in stitches.


My daughter used to say "give us this day our trespasses..."


At my parish one Sunday during the summer, the pastor was gone on vacation and the cantor introduced our visiting priest: "Please rise and welcome our guest celibate, Fr. Bob."

Probably just a story...but...funny: "Please rise and welcome Fr. Joe as we sing 'Hail, Holy Queen!'" Ahem...

Fr. Philip


At my parish one Sunday during the summer, the pastor was gone on vacation and the cantor introduced our visiting priest: "Please rise and welcome our guest celibate, Fr. Bob."

Probably just a story...but...funny: "Please rise and welcome Fr. Joe as we sing 'Hail, Holy Queen!'" Ahem...

Fr. Philip


Anyone who's spoken to a group of people should check out this video of a Youth Pastor's serious slip! It's been mentioned herein, here's the video- just watch his eyes! And pray it never happens to you!

Jim C.

My favorite liturgical mispronunciation is fictional, on tv. In "The Vicar of Dibley", the rather dim verger Alice reads from the missal during a televised service. But the missal uses an old font in which the s's look like f's, like in the Declaration of Independence, and she pronounces them that way. She encounters the word "succor" with hilarious consequences. :)

Gen X Revert

When I first was dating my fiance, I took her to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve at my parish. The pastor in his homily spoke of Mary and Joseph going on their monkey ride, er...donkey ride. We go to her parish for Christmas Mass now.

Michael Lee

While teaching a lenten adult education series on prayer, I committed a doosey. I had recently had a tooth extracted. The dentist put in a temporary tooth called a 'flipper' to basically plug the hole. Yep, you guessed it. In a moment of zeal and passion for the Lord, I spit that darned thing right into the crowd!! I even had to go and retrieve it and put it back in my mouth. The funniest thing about the whole experience was the topic for the evening...humility...Who says that our Lord does not have a sense of humor!!


Fr. Philip! It's no longer merely a joke. I've actually heard a lady cantor say, "Let us rise to greet our celebrant with 'Hail, Holy Queen'".

Life imitates comedy!


At university, a lector said "Yahoo" instead of "Yahweh". Strangely enough, everyone kept a straight face ...


My favorite flub comes from when my family was still Protestant. At some point during the sermon, the pastor pointed to one of the men in the church and reminded us that he (the man, not the pastor) had just started a new business. He theatrically began, "How many of you are praying for success for Brother Jack? You need to pray for SEX for him! Come on, now! Little is MUCH when God is in it! We have to GIVE of OURSELVES!"

Nobody ever told him what he'd said, and I have to wonder if Jack ever found out--he was deaf, and his wife normally wrote out the sermon for him. Knowing her, she probably stopped right at the good part. ;-)

We actually have the recording from that day. I'll have to find it and convert it to a wav file before the tape dies.

Mike E.

I remember a missionary pastor coming back to my hometown church to give an update. Afterwards, we all went to my parents house for coffee. He related this story from his last days in the Philippines: They had finally gotten the bank note for the loan to build the new church, and he meant to tell the crowd that "this piece of paper" was the first step on the next phase of their project. But right after he opened his mouth he decided to say "sheet of paper" instead. What came out? "With this piece of shit, we begin the next phase of our project"

He was glad to be done there after that.


When I was a novice we had a cat called Eddie who would occasionally come looking for company at inappropriate times. One time during Compline he stalked into the choir with a gigantic "miaow" while the reader was intoning "Brothers be sober and vigilant because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour". Needless to say the divine praises were abandoned after several unsuccessful attempts to restart them.

Children, of course, are a fertile source of amusing misunderstandings. I recall one of my scripture class (10 yo)listing Adultery as one of the seven sacraments.

Then there's always that line in the psalms about "taunting bears" rather than "bearing taunts".

On a louche note - a Catholic school bulletin had a very embarrassing typo. "Tuck shop" means in Australian the canteen at a school. Well, the Freudian substitution eventually happened and the mothers of the boys were invited to help out in a rather different style of establishment. Needless to say, the recall of these bulletins when the mistake was discovered proved very difficult.

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