Have you heard this one? “7 seminarians walk into a bar ….”

Source:  Archdiocese of Cardiff

Have you heard this one? 7 seminarians walk into a bar ….

There are a number of long standing jokes that we tell when we are with friends or family most of which start “An ‘x’, a ‘y’ and a ‘z’ walk into a bar ….”, well ….

*clears throat*

7 seminarians walk into a bar to celebrate after an ordination.  Naturally they are dressed in their clerical shirts etc.  The bartender says “Sorry gents, we don’t do fancy dress or stag dos”.  Aghast, the seminarians thought this must surely be a joke, but in fact he was serious.  “But we are real” they say, to no avail, they turn and leave.  Denied of their pint of Brains, they leave all sullen wondering where to go next.   Suddenly a man presumed to be the bar manager approaches them at the door and reassures them that he believes that they are real and invites them back in.  As a goodwill gesture he provides the men with a round of drinks and an outburst of applause fills the bar.

Throughout their stay at the famous bar, the young men continued to receive a warm welcome from the regulars whose curiosity was roused.  Many of them approached the seminarians and asked them questions.  Fascinated by these young men they seemed surprised to learn that some had worked prior to entering formation for priesthood.  Further questions ensued and a great time was had by all.

On leaving the bar, one of the seminarians known as Reverend James buys the now blushing barman a pint of ……. ‘Rev. James’ to show it was taken in good spirit.  And the seminarians walked away encouraged by the positive reaction of the local community – all thanks to a bit of white plastic around their neck and the everyday situation in which they like to partake.

As one famous comedian once said “It’s the way I tell em”.  Not much of a joke you say? That’s because it’s not a joke! This actually happened to our seminarians following the ordination of Fr. Peter McLaren last Saturday.  What a fantastic story indeed!  The bar in question is one of the most popular pubs in Cardiff – ‘The City Arms’.  They’ve even used our own Rev. James to promote their Rev. James (see picture below).

We’d like to thank ‘The City Arms’ for being good sports through all of this and their kind gesture to our seminarians – and please note a number of our clergy, including the Archbishop of Cardiff, frequent your bar so don’t turf any more out please! [I am one of them!]

The seminarians in question included our own Rev. Nicholas Williams, Rev. Robert James (no the pint isn’t named after him), Elliot Hanson and Dale Cutlan who took it all in good spirit.  Although initially shocked their only thought was ‘where are we going for our pint now?’

We know the barman in question was suitably embarrassed to the extent that he posted on Facebook that he ‘feels the set up for a joke’.  Let us reassure you, you’re not; after all the joke must always start ‘A [xyz] walk into a bar ….’.

Adds another dimension to the term ‘Evangelisation’!

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8 comments on “Have you heard this one? “7 seminarians walk into a bar ….”

  1. “Adds another dimension to the term ‘Evangelisation’!”

    Um…yes, and I don’t think it’s one that Jesus Christ would have invented.
    Yes, he hung out with publicans (pun intended), but that was a bit different, no?
    Of course, it depends a lot on the nature of the pub, but I’d still say that in best case scenario…not a good idea.

    I was a seminarian too, once upon a time. During summer vacation I connected with an old friend of mine. We went out to TGI Friday’s, or some place like that, with his female roommate (not girlfriend). I’d never been there before, and he had the sense to tell me a bit about what it was going to be like; a more or less yuppie-oriented restaurant/bar. With some misgivings, i agreed to go. It might have been semi-acceptable but for the rock music.
    Being in cassock, I sure got a lot of interested looks.
    The conversation was mostly about serious stuff, but that wasn’t because the atmosphere was conducive to it. Long before I said my goodbyes, it was perfectly clear that the situation wasn’t comfortable for any of us.
    In retrospect, although I regret putting myself in that situation, I do have the consolation of knowing that we all realized that to do so was a *mistake*. Quite evidently, those involved in this story don’t get that. It seems that Jesus Christ, bar hopper, is an image that strikes them as natural.

    • Well, that’s a fern bar. Back in Wisconsin (ping ECS) there’s a real bar on every corner, and many are family friendly, or were when I was there a long time ago. Even TGIFriday was OK – it probably varies. I’ve taken the family to the “99” bar and restaurant where you’ll have either a game on TV or some background common-fare noise, i.e., 70’s “classic rock” from hell.

      Every store has the background noise from hell. I’ve regarded it as a penance, dredging up the echoes of the days I willingly pounded it into my head.

      • If an actual priest, much less seven actual priests, would have walked into the Cardinal Bar in Madison when I was there a hundred years ago, there would have been an epidemic of fainting . Indistinguishable from people passing out drunk, but still…

  2. It’s certainly a form of evangelisation, but it’s hardly new. Local priest in a pub is an old tradition, and a good one. It is difficult to imagine the countless thousands of confessions, return to Mass, etc. that have been prompted by something as seemingly innocuous (and increasingly rare) as seeing a cassocked priest in a common public place. This story illustrates how important it is for religious to wear readily recognizable habits. When I was still attending the Nervous Ordo, it was typical to see our parish “priest” shopping in the local supermarket, donned in a tank top, cutoff shorts, and adventure sandals. Not exactly an inspiring sight.

  3. … we don’t do fancy dress or stag dos

    Obviously this didn’t take place in “The Land of the Free.” A line like that would have landed the guy in reeducation camp and cost him his livelihood long ago.

  4. Bishop Voderholzer Denied Entry for His “Fantasy Costume”


    Trans: Tancred
    Tuesday, August 1, 2017

    That’s never happened to Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer before: he had been refused entrance to a Bavarian folk festival. The security service of the “Landshuter Hochzeit” considered his soutane to be a “fantasy costume” and did not allow him entry, as the Landshut weekly newspaper Wochenblatt reported.

    Initially, the bishop and the accompanying pastor, Alfred Wölfl, were thought to be particpants in the feast of a historical event. But it turned out that the Lord in black is not a participant at all! “Strange costumes” are not permitted on the fair grounds according to “Wochenblatt.” The attendant wanted to enforce this rule at the entrance. “We then explained to him that this is the uniform of a bishop,” said the priest of the Parish Church of St. Pius. “Anyone can say that,” the attendant is supposed to have answered. But not a problem for the clergymen: “We finally showed them our service records, so the topic was then over.”

    “Never experienced before”

    The attendant, was visibly embarrassed at his mistake, then apologized, Pastor Wölfl said: “We laughed to ourselves then.” According to the “Wochenblatt”, the diocesan press criticized the incident, which had already taken place on the previous Sunday: “I have never experienced anything like this before.”
    The organizers should have also been warned about Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who a week later celebrated a Mass on the occasion of the Volksfest. In fact, according to these press pictures, he appeared in the simple black suit with collar shirt, without soutane.

    The Landshut wedding is a multi-week folk festival that takes place every four years. It is reminiscent of the wedding of the Bavarian duke Georg of the Rich with Hedwig Jagiellonica, the daughter of the Polish King Kasimir IV Andreas, and has been celebrated since 1903, when the legendary wedding for the first time was played by 145 contributors. Today, around 2300 performers take part in historical costumes.

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