Father Pat Donahoe of Our Lady of Perpetual Privation, the world’s largest postal parish, dons his stole and makes his way to the confessional, where every Saturday at three PM he is forced to perform the wearisome work of hearing the confessions of the most humble members of his postal flock. Father Pat does not believe in working on Saturdays, so this duty particularly rankles him. Yet somebody has to hear the confessions of the CCAs, the newest members of the fold and the most troubled. They are not exactly disgruntled, because thankfully they are too tried to be really disgruntled, but lately they have been showing up by the droves and they have an awful lot to talk about.
Father Donahoe sighs wearily as he views the confessional line, which circles around the back of the building and out into the street, where it disappears into a fuzzy blur several blocks down. While other priests fill out their weeks doing baptisms and weddings, where sometimes they get to imbibe something besides the same stale sacramental wine, Father Donahoe’s time is spent juggling Congressional hearings, wrangling with the Unions, closing post offices and firing postal clerks so he can give their living wage jobs to minimum wage employees at Staples. It’s already been a tough week, and from the looks of that line it isn’t going to get any better.
Father Donahoe slumps into the chair behind the screen just as the first CCA meekly enters into the confessional booth. As he adjusts his stole Father Pat begins to hear snoring drift in through the small window, which makes him perk up immediately.
“Hey wake up over there!” Father Pat shouts as he raps his knuckles sharply against the confessional screen. “Tell me you sins and let’s get this over with!”
“Oh, sorry Father,” the penitent says groggily as he struggles his way back into consciousness. “It’s just that I haven’t had a day off in 39 days. You’ve got me working Monday through Saturday and now Sundays too. I’m worn out.”
“Don’t complain, be happy you’ve got a job!” Father Pat reproaches him sternly, “and a darn good paying one too! Just for that you get extra penance.”
The tired CCA groans and then strains his ears to try and recognize the unfamiliar voice on the other side of the screen. “Hey wait a minute. Where’s Father Rolando? I thought he was doing confession today.”
By Father Rolando the CCA is referring to Fredric Rolando, who doubles as head of the National Association of Letter Carriers Union. In Father Pat’s view Father Rolando is a completely rogue priest, and the two often lock horns theologically. For instance, whereas Father Donahoe routinely preaches in his sermons that the world was made in five days and then rested, or shut down completely on the sixth, Father Rolando clings to the old fashioned doctrine that the world was made in six days and then rested on the seventh. This has been a nasty point of contention between the two priests, and Father Pat’s ire raises as he hears his rival’s name being voiced here, in the privacy of his own confessional.
“Why do you need Father Rolando?” Father Pat barks harshly through the screen.
The CCA hesitates a moment, sensing the building wrath in Father Pat’s voice, and then slowly begins to speak. “Well, it’s just that, no offense Father but Father Rolando’s penance is a lot easier. In fact, he doesn’t give any penance whatsoever, but tells me I haven’t sinned but have been sinned against. I won’t say by who. He sends me home to take a nap.”
“Hmmph!” roars the Father. “Well that figures. I don’t know where he is, I think I saw him waving a Six-day delivery sign in front of some post office as I was driving in. But just for that your penance is six extra Sundays delivering Amazon packages. Now come on, tell me your sins. I haven’t got all day.”
Mel Carriere spends his time reporting on all things postal, so that you don’t have to. He has first hand insider knowledge about this troubled institution that will expose all of the rumors, lies and innuendo surrounding it, and possibly create others. We hope that you enjoy his keen, biting wit and sensitive, probing, heartfelt analysis. Sample more of Mel, the Postal Provocateur, by visiting his website at: http://melcarriere.wordpress.com/