1-April--2008 -- Catholic News Agency
American Bishops to Initiate new “Howdy Pardner!” campaign
Baltimore, MD, April 1, 2008 (CNA).- In an effort to draw more and diverse people back to attendance at Mass the American Church has kicked off its new “Howdy Pardner!” campaign designed to entice the unfaithful into becoming the Faithful.
“We feel this is a good way to draw in the shy, the needy, the dissolute, and the fence sitters,” said Cardinal Zbigniew “Red” Myxyzyplk. “People really enjoy a good hoe-down and that sort of countrified atmosphere will bring plenty of good ol fashioned folksiness and downright rustic charm to what some perceive as a bit of a bore.”
Attendance at Masses has been on the decline and lately has dropped significantly after the disastrous “Conquest” campaign designed at impressing young boys with the manliness of parish priests.
“We feel that the ‘Howdy Pardner!’ campaign with its rusticity and appeal to the American spirit of the old west is just the thing. Banners, songs, dances, cattle rustling, these are all things that just scream out ‘American’,” said Father Anthony “PoleCat” Bannon.
Benedict XVI in Western attire.
Bannon also added that cowboys really appeal to young men and showed the more rugged and masculine side of the Church thus offering more appeal than the plain, unadorned black cloth worn by most priests and the predictable settings of the Mass.
“Make sure to put in that exclamation mark,” laughed Bannon.
In addition to banners and television spots, the campaign will also include new rawhide covers for altars and vestments resembling chaps to be worn on high holy days during the year.
When asked why they chose this angle for improving attendance, the bishops responded that prior campaigns just didn’t seem to be going anywhere. “Folks just don’t seem to want what the Church has to offer,” said Father “Chip” Heymdal, bishop of French Lick, IN. “Nor can we remain stuck in the past. The Church is about change. What more people could want is beyond me.”
“We feel that with some good beans, a bit of toe-tapping fiddle playing, and some friendly hand shaking and ass smacking the Mass could really be improved,” said Archbishop Reginald “Slim” Hsu. “The new program should be a rip snorting success.”
Kicking off the program will be the new Missa Ghost Riders in the Sky composed by noted modern liturgical composer Vira Lipschitz. With its vigorous setting of the Kyrie eleison to the tune of Rossini’s “William Tell Overture”, the moving Sanctus/Benedictus which employs a bull whip, clinking spurs, and a dried rattlesnake rattle, and of course the Ghost Riders in the Sky Agnus Dei, Lipschitz’ composition promises to be a darn tootin’ rustler’s rhapsody.
“I’m proud as hell about this work and no side windin’ horn swagglin’ freeloadin’ crocker croaker is gonna steal my butter bin!” said Lipschitz in a brief but energetic interview.
Participants in the Mass which will be held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Saddlesoap in Poughkeepsie, NY will enjoy a genuine lassoing competition by the local pastor and the deacon prior to the consecration followed by a do-se-do to build community, while at the conclusion of Mass a real honest to Betsy pie and donut eating competition will be held in the basement of the Church.
“If this don’t bring in them unbelievers, and maybe some lazy Z believers too, nothing will,” said Rev. Frederick “Buffalo Busting” Meeks.
Thanks R. and the gang for this one.