The Lord’s Prayer

(Troy Daily Budget April 16, 1852)

Michael Dougherty writing to the Boston Post from Queenstown, County Cork, Ireland, describes a plan adopted by a priest to learn one of his servant boys the Lord’s Prayer. Someone had complained to the Bishop that a priest at Kenneare neglected his flock, and set a bad example by swearing. Mr. Dougherty had a conversation with the offending priest on the subject, and he describes the interview as follows.

‘The big liars,’ sez he, ‘I catechize an’ tache, an catechize them till the breath and strength ar out ov me body; and it wud take nor wan priest’s strength to bate good manners into the spalpeens, to make them pay their Aisther an other dues, and stir up weddings among them, to enable me to make a dacint living. ‘An in regard ov their prayers,’ sez he, ‘there is not a mother’s son ov them but say our father, but that fool, Lanty, an all the world wouldn’t knock larnin into him; but I’ve hit on a plan to tache him. Ye know he takes care of my goats; so I gave him a paragraph in the Lord’s Prayer, as a name to aich of the cratures, so I hope he wont shame me afore the bishop, that’s coming to-day.

Accordingly the bishop came that day, and spoke in a very high tone to his reverence, saying that he understood that there was bad doins in his parish, that the priest himself set his flock the example for swearin’, and that there was a boy in his service that couldn’t say the Lord’s Prayer. Lanty wuz called in, an’ the cook and I listened outside the door.

‘Say your prayers,’ sez the priest.

Lanty scratched his head. ‘The old goat ye know.’

‘What can ye mane, Father Murphy?’ sez the bishop in an angry way.

‘Be aisy, if you plaze, yer lordship,’ sez the priest, givin Lanty a helpin wink—‘The ould goat.’

‘Our Father,’ sez Lanty.

‘The next wan,’ sez the preist.

‘Which art in Heaven.’

‘The next.’

‘Thy kingdom cum,’ sez Lanty.

‘Stop, Lanty, stop. Where’s Hal-lowed?’

‘Sure, yer reverence biled him and ate hem.’ Sez Lanty. So wid that we all roared, bisop and all; but Father Murphy had a grate dale to do to make matthers right with the bishop afther that.