At our Catholic grammar school, all of the students ate lunch at the same time.  The lunch bell rang at 12:30pm and you’re thinking “YES! Finally!  Lunch!” But no.  First, one has to get through the Angelus.  The whole school, in unison, had to say the Angelus prayer along with the student on the loudspeaker before anything could be consumed.  The Angelus is not your run-of-the-mill, “yubba-dub-dub, thanks for the grub, yay God!” prayer.  No, no.  It consists of 4 verses and 3 Hail Marys.  That’s like 7 prayers in 1.  The age range of the students at the school was 5-14.  To a 6 year old, 3 Hail Marys is an eternity.  My visual memory of our lunchtime prayer involves several classmates’ hands clasped in prayer, but the remainder of the class clutching their rumbling stomachs with their bodies draped over their desks, starving as they struggle to get through the longest prayer in history.  It’s amazing no one died of starvation. ~AKH

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