“Missa pica”

From a reader… animi caussa!

Dear Fr Z,

Last Monday week (April 26) was the day after Anzac Day, a day whereon all Australians and New Zealanders who died in war are remembered.

We sang a daily requiem mass for the dead, during which a juvenile Australian magpie (Gymnorhina tibicen) strayed into Ss Peter and Paul, Garran, Canberra, Australia.

It was very distressed for a while, not being able to find its way out, despite our best efforts. Eventually, having given up, it settled down and, perching quietly on a pew, seemed to develop an interest in our proceedings (see photo attached).

It landed on the bench that you can see, at the left hand side, and crabbed sideways for 10ft or so up to the gentleman in a very deliberate way, then stopped and fixed on him with its gaze for a long time. The irony was that it was our Anzac requiem, and this gentleman was the only military person (a retired Brigadier) in the whole congregation. It was as if it were asking for orders! I could barely hold my mirth.

Then, get this – and I swear – immediately after the Consecration, it started singing away lustily, … it was a glorious elevation motet!

After mass, we managed to coax it safely out an open window.

Note that it came dressed in the appropriate liturgical colours for a requiem. How thoughtful!

“Bless the Lord all ye works of the Lord.”

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. JustaSinner says:

    All God’s creatures, great and small!

  2. lgreen515 says:

    I love this!

  3. Not only donkeys adore and praise the Lord or the fish of the sea listen to sermons. I am sure if the bird could kneel or bow, it would have. ? He sang praises to the Lord as all nature does.

  4. JakeMC says:

    This does not surprise me in the least. We have frequently lent our sheep to various churches in the area for their “living nativity” scenes. Some are static scenes; others are actual outdoor presentations, with Gospel readings. In those latter ones, it was not at all uncommon to see the sheep, donkeys, and any other animals that local farmers brought, actually kneel when they got to the part where Mary laid the Christ child in the manger. It positively floored me the first time it happened, for I had read about such things in my childhood, but never expected to see it!

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  6. Padre Pio Devotee says:

    We had something similar happen this past 2nd Sunday after Easter (2021). 2 birds came into the church during the offertory and started chirping throughout the rest of the Latin Mass. They wouldn’t leave, until Father (unveateshoed them away once Mass was finished. I have videos.

    God really does allow Himself to be adored by all His creatures.

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    All of creation sings God’s praises and gives evidence of His great and abiding love for us. THIS is why we ought to cherish our flora and fauna, and protect it. What a wonderful thing to happen, and it has God all over it. That gentleman and all there were given a charming and divine gift.

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    There should always be birds in church. It’s Biblical that the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest for her brood near the altar of God in the Temple, and the psalmist welcomes them rather than complains about them. We don’t have enough birds in church normally and should work on fixing that. Great story.

  9. Elizabeth D says:

    Literally I see more scruple spoons in church than I see birds. It’s been a problem for a long time and even Pope Francis, named after the saint who literally preached to the birds, has done nothing about it, not even mentioned in Laudato Si.

  10. Elizabeth D says:

    I don’t mean scruple spoons are a problem, they indeed have a place in the integral ecology of our Church, what I mean is that although rare I see them at Mass and no birds. To quote a famous book on the subject, there’s a “silent spring”, ie no birds.

  11. Cafea Fruor says:

    Elizabeth, as a counterpoint, I’d note that St. Francis was known to have told the birds to shut up a few times because they were so loud people couldn’t hear him preach. So maybe not obnoxiously loud birds or too many?

    Then again, maybe some priests could use a murder of crows or two so we don’t have to hear their homilies…

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