Things you’ll only get if you went to Catholic school
Mass is where all the sexual tension is played out
Catholic school is like normal school with one big, holy difference: it’s Catholic, duh. What does this mean? Well, for one thing, it meant school was never boring. And more than that, it meant you learned some things about life that people who didn’t go to Catholic school would never understand. Things like these:
Ash Wednesday is the best day of the year
All I’m saying is that having a weird smudge of palm ash on my forehead is a good look for me, OK. Ash Wednesday sets you up for a life of standing out, because for one day a year you basically have “I’m here, I’m Catholic” written on your forehead.
You will always fuck up Lent
It’s going to be different this year you say to yourself. I’m going to be better. And for a time, you are better. You look at Jesus (most of the walls in your school have his face pinned to them somewhere) and you think well, if someone literally nailed him to a literal piece of literal wood, I can go without Mars bars for a few weeks.
On Day Four you eat a Mars bar. And somehow, Sister Margaret knows.
There’s a lot of value in choosing a sick confirmation name
This is your moment, your chance to reinvent yourself with a cool new exotic middle name. You don’t care what Saint Landrada did, you just like the way Father Martin’s mouth will look when he’ll recite it at your ceremony.
Confirmation is basically a time to flirt and get presents from your family
It’s like your wedding day, but you’re single, so you don’t have to share them.
Having a nice communion dress is really important
It’s basically Don’t Tell The Bride but for kids. Your mum helps you pick out the dress from the special shop. You might get to wear a tiara and white gloves. The girls at my school went so flamboyant that we had to wear white shawls over the dresses so we didn’t get distracted from the Mass — one girl had a train “like Princess Diana”. It’s a test run for later in life, on nights out and awkward weddings and black tie balls, where you have the upper hand because you’ve been killing it in those little white frilly socks since childhood.
Everyone gets really jealous when you get to have the bread and wine in Mass
Well they should have gone to their Holy Communion lessons then, shouldn’t they.
Making up the same confession every week isn’t a sin
“I was really cheeky to my Mum this week” “Didn’t that happen last week too?” “Mate just give me the three Hail Marys and let’s be on our way.”
That you could get away with wearing jewellery because it was a cross made you cooler from a younger age
In a place where you’re not even allowed to wear hair ties that aren’t school colours, it’s the most exciting part of your day. Really rinse it by getting the sparkliest, blingiest cross you can imagine and no one can say a thing.
There’s one hard af family at your school which has like 8 kids
One of the unspoken rules that echoes through the school: don’t fuck with the O’Connors. The teachers don’t fuck with them, the kids don’t fuck with them. The O’Connors are a constellation, a mafia, a whole administrative system within the school. This place is crawling with O’Connors, this place is marbled with O’Connors. You don’t mess with jacuzzi-sized Jono, you don’t mess municipal waste disposal unit-sized Sean, you don’t mess with walk-in freezer sized Patrick, you don’t mess with the twins Saoirse and Aidan, and even though you could mess with little Cian, the runt of the litter, five years younger than the rest, the Catholic mistake, you know better than to do so.
Your one Protestant friend is really exotic
Yeah Mum, Gabby goes to Sunday School.
Walking to Mass with your mate feeling fucking buzzing
It’s the end of term Easter Mass, the one everyone’s been waiting for for weeks and it’s going to be a biggie. It’s an extra long one, which means you get to miss double Maths and they’ve gone for the good Eucharist this time.
Being pissed off when your communion wafer isn’t a perfect circle
What did I do to deserve this.
Retreats are a huge deal
Twelve hours on the coach, to an apocalyptic, craggy locale somewhere in Norfolk, to a big house run by a Catholic charity no one has ever heard of. A woman called Carol makes you meditate for what feels like an eternity but everyone keeps giggling because Alex farted. By the time you get out of the room a boy called Christopher has fallen into a peaceful, cloudless, drooling on a pillow sleep.
All Catholic hymns are fucking bangers
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He maketh me, to lie down in green pastures.
Praying before lunch is a killer
Oh thanks Miss Davis, today – the day I skipped breakfast – is the perfect day for us to learn some new random ass prayer about the St Michael protecting us from the Devil, and just before lunch as well. Excellent.
The pews you have to kneel on will fuck up your knees for life
I have a question for you: who makes the pews? Is it a company or like, is Sister Elizabeth out there in the yard with a saw and some logs and some nails building it while we go to the lunch hall? Who’s out there whittling a piece of tree into a pew? Who are they and why do they hate us? Why do they make their pews about as comfortable as kneeling on a line of broken glass?
Between October and March nowhere is colder than your church
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”
You are wearing gloves, a scarf and a coat.
“As we prepare to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s love, let us acknowledge our failures and ask the Lord for pardon and strength.”
Your breath appears as a mist in front of your face.
“May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.”
It’s so cold in here I might actually die. Today in church, at mass, I may freeze to death. At least they won’t have to move my body too far for the funeral.
Your Mum uses Facebook to check if your mates are Catholic
Mum’s face is lit by the strange blue glow of the computer:
Is Alexi a Catholic name?
Getting really excited for advent
But how come that bitch Sofia gets to light the advent candle? And does it take anything away from the sacrament if you’re sitting at the back squeezing your little red Bible up really small and fucking hating her. At least it’s only one of the purple ones. Next week though. Next week is your time to shine.
Getting buzzed off the incense at mass
But how come that prick Declan gets to hold the thurible?
Knowing the difference between the Annunciation and the Immaculate Conception
They don’t teach you that at the local comp do they?
The BAD KIDS
Kieron first shaved when he was eight, first threw a firework at a police officer when he was 12 and by the time he was 15 he’d graduated to selling weed in the park, stealing hubcaps and fathering illegitimate children. But because his brothers, cousins, uncles, father and grandad’s all went to St Bernadette’s as well, it’s written off by Father Alex and the rest of the “senior management team” as a phase.
They say the Cuban Missile Crisis and that was tense, but then again, they’ve never been to my English but Catholic school for our Remembrance Service. As the first notes of God Save The Queen drift out of the organ, all the Irish teachers, tight lipped, words less likely to escape their mouths than a prisoner out of Guantanamo, gather together – they’re remembering Derry.
The one pregnant girl
Remember Orla? She used to be pure. She was always first in line at mass for Communion, lead singer in the choir and never had anything to say in confession. She wasn’t allowed to sleepovers if your dad or brother was home, and she’d blush when the boys from the Catholic school next door would pass. She was the most devoted of them all, until she got boobs. Next thing you know she’s batting her eyelashes at Father David, chugging a little bit too much of the sacramental wine in mass and sneaking boys into the chapel. You probably don’t remember Orla, because once she got pregnant she was quietly led away and forgotten.
The fit priest
Why did Father Martin join the clergy? He couldn’t be older than like 30. You saw him smoking outside Mass once when Father Alexander’s sermon went on too long. He makes really good jokes and he wears jeans on the weekend. If he was a normal man, he would not be attractive. But there aren’t that many normal men around here. There are 800 other teenage girls, the occasional boys school when you do joint trips on Holy Days, and the priests. And that’s probably why he’s so fit. That’s probably why everyone giggles when you see him on the walk to the shop outside the school gates. He’s probably hiding a seriously good six pack (OK, maybe three pack) under that cassock. Hello daddy. (Sorry, hello Father).
Deciding which is the fittest saint
Now hear me out. Catholic Mass is fucking long. And regular. Like part of your weekly school time. So it’s easy to drone out when you’re listening to a sermon and admire the Stations of the Cross, or ogle the oddly realistic drawings in your textbook. And they’ve all got their qualities, the saints. There’s Jesus’ fit cousin John (Jean Baptiste as he’s known to sex starved teenage girls). There’s Jesus himself, in his strange blonde highlights blue eyes UK Catholic incarnation. But the obvious best is Judas Iscariot. The original bad boy. The rogue disciple. Imagine him kissing your cheek and taking you out with those 30 pieces of silver. Sorry, I’ve gone too far.
Old school nuns and priests who are somehow still allowed to teach
They hate children and haven’t cut their hair in fifty years. They smell like something has died under their robes.
Going rogue with your holy water
Mandatory RE classes with Father Eamon
You know what’s not particularly interesting? The difference between the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Creed. You know what’s fucking awesome? The Devil. The Devil is fucking awesome. Father Eamon believes in the Devil, you know it, he knows it. None of L4 Brown are going to do any work until Father Eamon, after hours of nagging and grinding away, tells you all the stories he has about demonic possession, the local parish exorcist and something he describes, with terror filling his eyes, as “the dark forces of Satan in this world.”
Understanding how to use these properly should be it’s own GCSE.
The one cool priest
Father Thomas is bald, because all cool priests are bald, balding or will be bald one day. He doesn’t do anything obviously cool. Father Thomas doesn’t own a motorbike or Channel Orange on vinyl. His coolness is oblique and indirect and mature. You can speak to him and it feels like he’s treating to you fairly, like an adult. You can smoke with him and he’ll tell you a story about the time he met John Paul II in Northumbria when His Holiness’ plane refuelled there.
Prayers before exams
This guarantees me an A* doesn’t it?
The whole catholic school girl fantasy is quite weird now
It’s Hit Me Baby One More Time era Britney Spears, it’s Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions, it’s your ex-girlfriend wearing stockings to Mass, whispering something unrepeatable in your ear as she sits next to you – it’s wrong but it’s very right.
Doing the sign of peace is the funniest thing in the world
Peace be with you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you and you.
You should never ever leave after communion before Mass ends (but you really really want to)
When it gets to the point where you’re so bored that you’ve ended up staring deep into the eyes of a statue of Our Lady and the thought she’s actually quite fit you know flickers in your mind, it’s probably time to get out of there mate.
The goths who become hardcore atheists by year nine
God is dead, Theresa is saying, as she scrawls Good Charlotte lyrics on her Eastpak bag. In this scenario there is an audible gasp. All of the other fucking preps don’t understand that religion is bullshit. The teachers don’t understand. The priests don’t understand. My mom doesn’t understand.
Sex Ed is apparently not important at all
I didn’t find out what a condom was until the second term of my first year at university. And you know what? Fatherhood is treating me just fine thankyou very much.
Mass is the arena for all sexual tension to be played out
I don’t know how long the average mass should be, but they’re always really long. There’s a lot of time for the mind to wander. There was always that one girl who stared into father Martin’s eyes while taking the communion in her mouth. Or then there was fucking Nicole, that rebel who did it with her hands, showing him just what they do.
Uniforms are sacred
You best make sure that tie is on before you leave.
You shouldn’t steal the baby Jesus from the Nativity
They will look for you, they will pursue you, they will find you, and I’m sorry to tell you this Johnnie, but they will expel you.
That Fish and Chips Friday is something that came from Catholicism
Watch video now: the state of ecstasy in the UK
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