Anyone in the mood for a statement of the obvious? One of those painfully obvious revelations with gobs of hidden meaning? Something so mundane you couldn’t possibly believe a guy would waste time writing about it?


We’ll probably regret this, but go ahead.

Great! I set a couple of alarms on my phone recently—an Angelus alarm and a Divine Mercy alarm and it turn out to be a really good idea. This works out great for me. It’s a really easy way to keep your prayer life in line. At least if your prayer life is as pathetic as mine. I don’t even say the entire chaplet at the hour of mercy. I do the brief “Three O’Clock Prayer” from that holy card you may have seen around.

Hey. God never gives me more than I can handle and I follow His example.

The thing is, my little attempt at reminding myself to come up for air and pray resulted in quite a nice moment just a few days ago.

This is riveting. Tell us more!

A priest friend from England was in town and invited us to join an intimate group for Mass (Novus Ordo, ad orientem, very cool); afterward, those of us in attendance chatted with Father narthex once he had—

Once he had—hmm. Is it “Divested?” “Unvested?” “Devested?”

Anyway, he was back in black-and-white, holding court from a chair in the narthex; Father is quite the raconteur and a lot of fun to have around. While we were bantering, the noon hour arrived and my smartphone rang out to let me know, because it is not only smart but also devotedly Catholic and a thorough professional.

My son, who has seen me forget to silence my phone in church before, gave me a little, “Oh, Dad” smirk, to which I responded, in a rather self-satisfied, or perhaps self-defensive tone, “It’s my Angelus alarm.”

If there hadn’t been one or two people there who we don’t know very well, I would have added something like, “What? YOU don’t have an Angelus alarm on your smartphone? Mother, did you know that our son doesn’t have an Angelus alarm set on his smartphone? Where have we gone wrong?”

There’s a reason why my son holds his breath for a few seconds whenever I start to say anything in public.

We all feel for your son. But can we get on with it?

Here’s the part where I start to look really good in the Catholic dad department. No sooner did I get the word “Angelus” out of my mouth when Father said, “Angelus? In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit….”

There we stood, seven or eight of us, praying an impromptu Angelus as casually as if we got together to do it every day of our lives. And it was all because of me and the incredible example I set for my son with my little Angelus alarm.

As Peggy Normandin says on the radio, “You can call me Catholic!” (She does not, however, do the repetitive, rap-style version I’m currently doing at my desk.)

Prideful much? What does this mean for the rest of us?

Probably nothing but it made my day…a least until we got to the closing prayer of the Angelus, which I have a hard time getting word-for-word for some reason. But other than that, it was a definite highpoint.

Actually, it was the Universal Church aspect of the whole thing that made me want to tell you about it. No one thought it was weird. Everyone knew how to pray the Angelus (some better than I, which includes my son), and we slid immediately back into conversation after acknowledging our shared faith in the Incarnation and our shared debt to Our Lady for saying yes to the event.

Spontaneous prayer is great, but sometimes there’s nothing like the oldies.