John McCullagh March 24, 2006
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It was Father Donnelly again, and I dare not tell you the parish or I’d be ‘for it’ – as we used to say.

We’re talking of a remote South Armagh community where everybody knew everybody – but top of the ‘hape’ was, of course, the priest.

Anyway, the sacristan – yes, him again! We’ll call him Tommy, for talk’s sake – was in the village post office buying stamps or something, when the Postmaster addressed him.

‘Ye wouldn’t be going b’ the parochial house at all, Tommy, would you?’ asks he,

‘for I’ve a parcel here just came in for Father Donnelly an’ it’s marked URGENT.

The postman ‘ll not get it there till tomorrow and that cud be too late.

Ye can’t be too careful where the priest is concerned!’

‘I’m yer man!’ Tommy assured him, and with the parcel safely tucked under his arm he hurried off in the opposite direction from his home, where he had been headed.

The priest was roused from his pious devotions – or whatever it is priests do be doing when they’re not saying Mass – by a frantic and heavy rapping on his door.

‘Ah, Canon!’ the sacristan gasped when the door was at last opened to him.

‘Thank God to catch ye in! I’ve an URGENT parcel from the Post Office for you!’

And he reached it out. The haughty priest didn’t deign even to look at it.

‘What are ye at at all, man?’ he castigated.

‘Ye’ll rouse the souls out a’ Purgatory itself with yer infernal din!

That’s no way at all – at all -to come to a man’s – much less a priest’s – door.

Give me that parcel till I show you how’s it’s done!

You step in here. I’ll step outside and knock.

You open the door then and listen carefully to what I say!’

With that he stepped outside. He waited a full minute before he knocked gently on the door. When it opened, he addressed Tommy as if he (Tommy) was the priest.

‘Ah, Canon!’ says the Canon.

‘I just called by to deliver this parcel that was awaiting you at the Post Office!’

‘Well, thank you, Tommy!’ says Tommy, smiling back at him.

‘And there’s a pound for yourself, my good man!’

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