Of Angels and Devils

This happened long time ago in St.James Church, Manapad. Domnic was collecting offerings from the congregation. He was an angel kind of a boy. His dream was to become a priest when grown up. Now as a prelude, he is one of the altar boys who help the priest in the Mass. He was in his usual attire of red vestment and white surplice. People were inserting coins in the collection box Domnic was carrying. The choir was enthralled in the offering hymn. He suddenly spottted a bed bug running across the 'Duppatta' of an old lady who was in the crowd. The angel in Domnic stopped him to save the woman from the bug. He took the bug and showed it to the lady. Then he promptly squeezed the creature until death. His plight not just ended there. Up he found another one. Then one more. And more. The lady had been sheltering a school of bugs in her person. The angel was really concerned. Domnic put the collection box by the side and squatted near her and started picking the bed bugs from the 'Duppatta' much to the embarrassment of the lady and killing them on the church floor. A bloody scene was unfolding before the full view of the congregation. Even the choir was now looking at this little altar boy who was killing bed bugs. Good Lord! The priest had to wait until Domnic kills all the bugs and returns to the altar.

Every duty is holy and devotion to duty is the highest form of worship of God!

Altar boys helps the priest. Taking bread and wine for the Eucharist, ringing the bell during benediction and collecting offerings are some of the duties assigned to them. Normally two boys are there in an ordinary Mass. They are required in the Mass. But they are not required to be seen too much. They add beauty to the sacrament. But they are not the focus. They are angels in that heavenly atmosphere. Unfortunately some times, the devils in them do resurface.

Pinpin had a devilish instinct of eating Jaggery a bit too much. No matter where he is. He would bring jaggery in his pants' pocket and would taste it from time to time in the sacristy when he thinks no one is looking. His weakness to jaggery was so invincible that he would also carry a spoon in his pocket for the easy handling during the service. In the altar, taking a spoonful to the mouth, while the whole congregation is looking is real a challenge. But Pinpin had perfect timings. On occasions, when the head are bowed in prayer, Pinpin would raise his robe, put a hand down the pocket and have a mouthful. All in a flash. Yip! Yip!!

Eiden was smart guy who never ate jaggery in the church, Nor chocolates. But then his story ended in tragedy. It was a fine morning Mass until he found that the bell was forgotton. Worse, the priest that day was a man who calculates in fractions. As the time for raising the Holy Communion neared, both the boys' faces turned ashen in horror. Without chiming of the bell, the service would be incomplete. The priest might kick them, had the bell was not sounded. Still hopeful, Eiden valued the possibilities. No time to bring the bell from the sacristy. The great moment arrived in seconds. The priest raised the Communion. Eiden was quick. "Ting Ting Ting Ting…." He mimicked the bell. A laughter exploded from the other boy, who had been till now, trembling in fear. Alas! The solemnity of the Holy Mass was lost. Not discouraged, Eiden continued the "Ting Ting Ting…" for the wine too. The priest noted the difference, Certainly he cannot allow comedies in his Mass. Eiden saw the redened eyes of the priest when lowered he chalice.

Sure, Eiden could not expect rewards for his presence of mind. When the Mass was over the priest thrashed him in the sacristy.


Pranchi's deed was remarkable. He threatened a corpse in the coffin. That happened this way in a funeral service. Altar boys carry wooden crosses in the funeral procession. First cross, second cross and the third cross.

Fine! Priest finished, "Pasta nosta…" for the peaceful resting of the departed soul. The coffin was lowered into the grave. The scene was melting in sorrow with silent cries. Atlast the lid was put in place. The priest took a handful of earth and threw over the coffin. Now it was the turn of Pranchi who was carrying the First Cross to throw a handful of earth, as per ritual. Pranchi was new to the funeral services. He was confused for a moment as to what to do. Now some people shouted at him," First Cross, throw now, First Cross, throw now.." meaning the altar boy who carries the First Cross to throw a handful of earth over the coffin. Pranchi misunderstood. In a reflex, he threw the cross, he was carrying into the pit. Good heavens! The heavy wooden cross met the coffin with a loud "BANG". Sure,the corpse would have woken up in shock and jerked. The gathering was stunned for a moment. Caught exactly between grief and an uncontrolable laughter.

There are many more stories of these guys. Pity, I have a few KBs for this piece of article. Now all these angels and devils have become bankers, businessmen, general managers and vice-presidents. Some priests too. Forgive these devils dear Lord! For they knew not what they were doing!! -Fritz Miranda.

NB: Names mentioned in the incidents are fictitious and the intention of this article is not to offend anybody but to reminisce the moments those were lived in our days in Manapad.