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  • Writer's pictureJulie S.

Boys in Vestments

Fr. Joshua, during the homily for Pope Benedict XVI’s Requiem Mass, mentioned a Christmas letter that the future Pope had written to baby Jesus when he was seven. In it he asked for a chasuble for Christmas because he liked to play a “parish priest game” with his brother.

Dear Baby Jesus,

Quickly come down to earth. You will bring joy to children. Also bring me joy.

I would like a Volks-Schott (a Mass prayers book), green clothing (vestments) for Mass, and a heart of Jesus.

I will always be good.

Greetings from Joseph Ratzinger,

This inspired one of our guild members to make several child-sized Low Mass sets, hoping to encourage a few vocations that God might be developing in young boys, possibly even from among our own parishioners.

We snagged one of those boys for an impromptu photo session, partly to send to the vestment maker who wasn’t present that day and wanted to check the fit.

He is my favorite Cantius boy, and I can't help but share with you exactly why. This little guy haunts our sewing room where his mother spends a lot of time embroidering and mending. He is ferociously curious and quirky, providing endless entertainment for the entire parish with his creative shenanigans. He is famous for bringing a frozen turkey to Mass, and once used a Covid divider rope to lasso a pew and demonstrate some fine rodeo moves in the main aisle during the homily (his family was giving rapt attention to Father but those of us behind this drama were frantically trying to quiet our hysterics).

He has, unfortunately, gotten more civilized as he has aged into a five-year-old. He doesn’t dismantle our equipment any more and I miss the weekly find-the-thread-snippers game. Each week he would remove them from the magnets on our five sewing machines and put them somewhere interesting. It was a real bummer when his mother found out and put a stop to it. Anyway, you get the picture.

We outfitted him in some very nice (!) vestments. My, oh my, there is something about this chasuble-on-a-boy-thing!

An interesting transformation happened. Of course, it looked terrific on him, but he put on a kind of junior ‘Persona Christi’ veil that stopped us in our tracks. Sober dignity showed up. A procession happened. Priestly postures erupted.

The look on his face when he stood with two of the Brothers was, well, beautiful.

“Can I keep it on all day?”

“I really want to take this home with me.”

What if this moment loosed a vocation in him; created a memory that would one day remove barriers to his invitation to the priesthood?

There was a question in the recent survey issued by our diocese. “Have you ever invited a man to consider the priesthood?” This is a fantastic way to do just that. Dear sewing people, please make these for the young boys in your life. Many of you probably have extra fabric that you could use this way. It would be a labor of evangelization that only someone like you can do. And the nicer the better; my father always believed in giving children 'real' things. It ennobles their play, and this particular 'play' has connotations that are far reaching and supremely important.

If you aren’t able to do that, they can be purchased on this Etsy site. She keeps churning them out. I think Pope Benedict is whispering in her ear.

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