In the Bishop Federal Papers there is a small notebook that is blank except for the first nine pages, which contain thirty-one numbered jokes (actually only thirty-one is repeated). Since all of them deal with religious themes, one assumes that he had collected them for occasional use at Mass to spice up his homilies. Everyone's sense of humor is different, and to my taste none of them are real thigh-slappers, but here are a few that strike my funny bone the most; maybe you'll get a chuckle out of them, too. At the very least, for those of us who never knew the bishop, they give a little flavor of what his preaching and conversation must have been like. Even a joke can be a historical source!
16. An Irishman goes to a restaurant on Friday [this was before Vatican II]. He asks for a menu and sees steak. Just as he does, a mouth-watering steak order is carried to a nearby table. He looks at the fish menu, sees nothing appealing. When the waiter arrives, he inquires about the price of the steak. BOOM!-a big clap of thunder. He looks up and asks, "Gee, can't I even ask about the price?"
17. A bishop is giving a retreat at a convent. In the midst of his presentation, one of the nuns gets up and walks out. Afterwards the bishop complains to the Superior. She says, "Don't pay any attention to Sister; she always walks in her sleep."
19. A new pastor in a country church is in the sacristy with the old caretaker getting ready for Sunday evening service--rosary, sermon, Benediction-when a sick call comes in from a dying parishioner. The caretaker gives the priest directions and tells him he'll take care of everything until he gets back. The priest gets lost, finally makes the sick call, but his car breaks down on the way back and he is very late getting into the church. The people are still there, though half asleep in the pews. As he walks in, he hears the caretaker's voice: "The ninety-first Glorious Mystery: Mary Magdalen punches Pontius Pilate."
20. A man calls up his pastor to request a Mass for his recently deceased mother-in-law. The priest says he can do it in two weeks. "Glory be, Father," the man says, "she'll be burnt to a crisp in that time!"