Casserole Catechism

A conversion testimony.
by Nicholas Sheehy, LC | Source:

           Christmas Eve rolled around, and with it the fateful, yearly question… “Honey, are you coming to Mass with us tonight?”

            Father Thomas had come over for dinner a few weeks earlier. The kids always loved to see him, since his call to the priesthood had cut short a very promising career as a professional juggler. They knew that at some point they would get a show.

            Roger and Amy Peevsie, the parents, enjoyed his company as well. Amy was the religious representative of the household and was hoping that the charming personality of Father Thomas would win over her dear, though somewhat skeptical, husband.

            Roger was a good guy. He liked Father Thomas. He got along with his pastor but just didn’t make it to Mass very often. Raised Catholic, he had simply lost interest in the faith during college. It was not that he did not like priests; he just didn’t see the need. Roger was a practical guy. He would never go to the doctor unless he was sick. He wouldn’t go to a car lot unless he needed a new car. Since he had found nothing at church he needed, he saw no reason to attend Mass with the family.

            When Father Thomas rang the doorbell, Roger invited him in. As they sat down in the living room, Amy came in and joined them. After a few minutes, she scurried out to check the casserole and came back, announcing that dinner was ready.

            As they made their way into the kitchen, the children joined the scene. Although outnumbered by laity 5-1, Father Thomas seemed perfectly at ease. After showing the youngest a magic trick, Father Thomas led the family in the blessing over the meal, and they all sat down to enjoy the casserole.

            At one point in the conversation, Amy raised a question she had been discussing with her Protestant friends. “Father,” she began, “at our Bible study group we have been discussing the Gospel of John, and recently the theme of the Eucharist came up. Some of my friends asked what exactly the priest does at Mass. Is he really necessary? I tried to reply, but they didn’t seem too convinced. Is it not enough that Jesus died on the Cross to save us from our sins?”

            Father Thomas thought for a moment and replied, “Good question, Amy. Of course, the Church has no doubts about the infinite value of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross. Rather than get into a deep theological discussion with your friends, I think you could underline one thing the priest does at every Mass.”

            Roger looked up from his plate of casserole and chimed in “What would that be, Father?” His interest was piqued.

            Father Thomas silently prayed to the Holy Spirit for help and began, “The priest is God’s treasurer. Imagine that God is a great king with a huge treasure chest. He gives the key to the royal treasurer, who has full control of the gold in the chest. He is in charge of distributing the king’s wealth. When he brings gold out of the king’s treasury, no one believes he is giving from his own resources. The treasurer is merely a middleman, giving from the king’s generosity. At the same time, that money would never reach the people if the treasurer did not open the chest with his key.”

            Amy stole a glance at her husband and realized that Roger hadn’t touched his casserole during the explanation.

            Roger had a wrinkled forehead and a look of surprise on his face as he said, “You have a vivid imagination, Father. But what does that have to do with the Mass?”

            Father Thomas said, “When the priest celebrates the Mass, he draws on the spiritual riches gained by the unique sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. It is almost as if he has a checkbook with the checks signed by God the Father. Every time the priest celebrates the Mass and pronounces the words of consecration as set down by the Church, Christ becomes present on the altar. It works every time! It is a miracle that we are able to experience frequently. It’s amazing but also very humbling for us priests, I must confess.”

            The conversation moved on to football, the school play and the new porch Roger had just put in. After chocolate mousse for dessert, the children reminded Father Thomas about the juggling show and he wowed everyone tossing 6 of little Suzie’s dolls into the air one after the other, with no accidents.

            As Father Thomas pulled out of the driveway, Roger looked over to Amy and said, “Thanks honey, that was a great evening.” Amy wondered what effects the visit would have on her husband.

            Getting back to Christmas Eve, Amy saw Roger checking the lineup for the upcoming bowl games on the Internet. She asked, “Honey, are you coming to Mass with us tonight?” He seemed a little distracted and murmured, “Auburn, Florida State, hmm…” “What was that? Sure, I think we should all go to Mass together tonight.” He shouted up the stairs to the children. “Everybody ready up there.”

            And the Peevsies went to Mass on Christmas Eve, all of them. Thank you Jesus!

Nicholas Sheehy, LC studies for the priesthood in Rome.  He can be reached at

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Post a Comment
Published by: Mike
Date: 2011-02-11 22:50:00
Hello, Thank you for writing this article. It shows that we must always be ready and allow the Lord to work through us. Mike

Published by: Diana
Date: 2011-02-07 17:56:51
Loved the article, and wondered when it will happen in my family.

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