When saintly Father Mulligan was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1991, all agreed he made the funniest looking cannon you ever saw. He wasn’t too happy about being a cannon either and hardly viewed canonization as a reward for years of dedicated pastoral service. It was preferable to the old days of enshrinement when the church would catapultize high performing priests. In later years they’d even bazookaize MVPs, so he breathed easier with simple canonization. What did he do to earn this place of honor? Well, according to the Catholic Hall of Fame Committee he was responsible for 3 miracles:
1. Somehow he got the roof repaired at St. Anthony’s without a donation drive
2. He is credited with preventing the Great Chicago Flood of 1964. That’s why you’ve never heard of it either.
3. And against impossible odds, he found a way for Michael Jackson to impregnate an actual female
And for all these magisterial accomplishments the church made Father Mulligan into a cannon. A very loose cannon at that. A cannon that shot its mouth off at the drop of a hat. He would also shoot his mouth off if someone dropped a name or if even a cell phone call was dropped. Such was the ecclesiastical excellence of Father Mulligan.
A Brief History of Mulligan’s
Born into a clan whose family tree didn’t fork, his parents named him Robert, but the name was heard and recorded by the pediatric nurse as “Father,” so when he was ordained he became Father Father Mulligan. Oddly, but fittingly for this story, his most devoted parishioners were a family of physicians named Dr. & Dr. Doctor.
Initially his flock was dubious of the young Father as he always worked the phrase, “outstanding child-bearing hips” into any conversation. To some it was icky. To others it was merely an honest assessment of Mrs. Holtzberry’s pelvic girdle. He also jangled nerves with the t-shirt he wore during the annual church bazaar reading, “I may be celibate, but that doesn’t rule out foreplay…Mrs. Holtzberry.”
Oh sure, there were the detractors who called him a data aggregator and a miscreant who’d put a hamster in a salad spinner and after 10 powerful spins, laugh as he watched the poor creature stagger across the floor. But he’d leaven these criticisms with the deft humor he displayed at the seminary dinner table:
Father Mulligan: This stone soup is delicious tonight. My condiments to the chef.
Father Gannon: My sediments exactly Father Mulligan. Tell me do you like Mary Magdalene or just the idea of Mary Magdalene?
FM: I like her outstanding child bearing hips.
FG: I thought you might say that. Hey, I saw a sign today I’d like you to explain. It read: Suicide bombers are not recidivists.
FM: It means they blew it the first time and they won’t be coming back for seconds.
FG: I see. (slurping soup) You’re right. This stone soup is terrific. Kinda citrusy. Must’ve used limestone stock.
FM: Your palate betrays you. I’m getting igneous notes of obsidian and pumice.
FG: Well I don’t know what rocks you’re tasting. You must be stoned or something.
FM: I do agree the flavor could be boulder. Then again these are just my personal sediments.
FG: Have you ever noticed how people never say the weather is clement. It’s always inclement? I think someone could say it’s clement but they’d be very chalant when they said it. You’d see their discomfort. They definitely would not be gruntled after using the word chalant.
FM: Yeah. I couldn’t agree more. I mean for me just being elderly gets old after a while.
FG: Hey guess what?
FG: I saw my shadow again this morning.
FM: You mean…
FG: Yup. Another 6 weeks of non sequitirs.
FM: Oh goody. I’ll start shellacking the tomatoes.
FG: Good one Father.
And with that the fathers finished their meals and Father Mulligan returned to the clerestory where he prayed for the pitiable IT person whose job function was to optimize their website so when someone typed and entered <window cleaning> into a search engine in Toledo, Jay’s Window Solutions was returned in the top 3. Search Engine Optimization is such a bitch.
Father Mulligan’s Sermon on Free Association – 11/9/64
Friends, parishioners, Mrs. Holtzberry. I welcome you to our service today and will begin by reminding you we’re all in remission. Yup. No one exits this world alive. Surprisingly though we actually leave it more alive, as this transient world is merely a training ground for greater riches – a gateway world if you will. Oh sure it sounds like nonsense, like the flavor of stone soup. But in your heart of hearts (the tender one you only show to your stuffed animals) you know you’re loved, cared for and treasured. Could it be any other way? I’m not talking about what you see with your eyes, but rather what you feel with your heart. I can’t get to it with words but I can point to it with sincerity and incense.
Now if you’ll all reach under your pews you’ll find a pack of ecumenical gum. Chew on that for a while then chew on this – not only should you never fear, but you should deeply love and embrace the whole thing without trying to own it.
So be generative and manifest the opposite of a grand mal tantrum. My name is Father Father Mulligan and I approved this message.