Friday, March 23, 2007

First time I saw a woman in a cassock

The last week has been busy with funerals, Lenten things, meeting with my Salt Lake lay Carmelites, and a four hour meeting to hire a new principal for our local Catholic High School. (BTW, this school, St. Joseph Catholic High School is a real gem. It isn't perfect, but it is the best Catholic high school I have ever been involved with. It has excellent teachers, a great student body, and is genuinely Catholic. Also, for each of the last three years we have sent students to our nations military academies. Last year, three students went to Annapolis! Which isn't bad for a school with an enrollment of 180. This year another young man is going to the Naval Academy and, more importantly, a student is applying to study for the priesthood for the Salt Lake City diocese.)

What you may ask does this have to do with this post's topic? Not a blessed thing. On to the post topic. When I attended the seminary, the use of the cassock by seminarians was banned. (The administration considered them to be too 'Old Church'.) So my cassock had to remain in my closet. (Last time I visited the old sem, several of the seminarians said, "Kudos on the cassock!" The times they are a changing.)

I also worked on the ground crew for some spare change. My specialty was tree pruning, which was a fair bit of work since it hadn't been done for a while and had to be done during the rainy Oregon winter. (This is where my custom of cutting down trees on Earth Day originates, but I will save that story for later.)

One day I was up about 30-40 feet in a tree with my pruning saw. I noticed a person coming out of the retreat in a cassock. I thought to myself, "Cool a cassock!" Then I noticed that something didn't look right. Eeks, it was a woman in a cassock! I almost fell out of the tree. It turns out that the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon was holding their annual retreat there.

I find it amazing that while clergy-ettes consistently decry the 'Patriarchal Church', they usually embrace her trappings with gusto.
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