Posted by : BC Bass Wednesday, February 13, 2013

"Normally, when you politely tell a person she has something on her face, she discreetly wipes it away and thanks you. Not so much on Ash Wednesday, it turns out." -- Area resident involved in altercation.

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Larger-than-usual gatherings of Catholics were celebrating Ash Wednesday in Bennington Vale today, marking not only the holiday but also the last Mass that departing Pope Benedict XVI will be presiding over. Unfortunately, the Ash Wednesday rituals -- largely unfamiliar to the community's predominantly Evangelical Protestant population -- led to confusion and physical confrontations.

According to Mike Fallopian, Yoyodyne executive and chairman of the conservative Peter Pinguid Society, the problem began with an incident at the area Trader Joe's. "At first I wasn't sure what I was seeing," Fallopian explained. "These three women were standing in line with dirt smeared all over their faces. Normally, when you politely tell a person she has something on her face, she discreetly wipes it away and thanks you. Not so much on Ash Wednesday, it turns out."

Fallopian claimed that one woman became angry and vocal, which led to a confrontation.

"The store employees didn't even know what to do, with that Harpy screaming the way she was about Jesus and stuff," Fallopian continued. "We all know about Jesus here. This is a Judeo-Christian community, not a Catholic bayou hootenanny. The good people in this town don't go in for all that heretical hoodoo. There's some Jews here too. I can't imagine they were any happier. Those crosses the women drew on their foreheads in dirt -- they looked like frigging swastikas. Can you imagine?"

Father Preternature, who presides over the county's only Catholic church, said his membership had increased recently but that most of the people in San Narciso County have limited exposure to Catholic rituals.

"It's the community's fault," Preternature complained. "They've been dragging unprecedented numbers of Mexican immigrants here from Arizona for landscaping and such. These people are mostly Catholic, and I've been happy to open my doors to them. They didn't deserve the treatment they received."

Fallopian said that new citizens need to make more of an effort to integrate to the social norms of the community, if they seek acceptance.

"It took years for us to understand why the only deli in Bennington Vale shut down before dark every Friday night, and stayed closed all Saturday," Fallopian continued. "I can't imagine how long it will take to acclimate to yet another new religion in our Christian culture. Initially, I thought they were just unwashed immigrants. But Ash Wednesday was like tying a bell around a cat's collar, and now we know who we're dealing with."

He did admit that it was nice to see a Catholic priest smear something on the foreheads of the community's children, and that it was just ash.

(c) 2013. See disclaimers.

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