Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Parishoners Blame Hand Puppet for Priest's Lackluster Homily

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Uninspired Homilist

LITTLE ROCK -- Fr. James McLaughlin's idea to incorporate a hand puppet routine into his homily to "kick things up a notch" was met with yawns and blank stares from parishoners at St. Margaret of Scotland Church in Little Rock, Ark.

"Fr. Jim is a nice guy and all, but that puppet didn't inspire me to change in any way,"
said Mark McCormack, an adjuster for Allstate Insurance. "And the puppet didn't answer any of the nagging questions I have about my faith. I still can't explain the Trinity."

Debbie Sibowski, a stock clerk for Winn-Dixie, said she has heard better homilies. "The puppet gyrated
a lot and it was distracting. Not only that, he talked in a really squeaky voice that gave me an uneasy feeling. I just wanted it to end."

Fr. McLaughlin made the decision to use the hand puppet in his homily as he was heading out the door of the rectory
for mass. "I hadn't thought of anything to talk about for my homily yet, when that sock puppet I used for Vacation Bible School came to my mind," he said. "At the time, it seemed like a real attention getter, a great idea. Who uses a sock puppet in a homily?"

He soon learned there was a reason for the rare usage.

"People just stared at me," McLaughlin said. "They didn't warm up to the puppet at all. I can't say I am not disappointed."

"I just wondered if he bought it at a yard sale or something," asked Kristine Rutler, a homeschool mom and CCD
instructor. "Aren't we worth more than a 25-cent-sock puppet? I bet at the cathedral they would at least use a marionette."

Timothy Jarrell, age 9, agreed. "That puppet was stupid. I don't think I want to be a priest when I grow up."

Striving to be a Higher Being