September 1, and it is day 506. Can you believe it?

July 1 Over 1,000 unmarked graves are discovered at former Residential Schools. This is a dark stain on Canada’s historical legacy and there is a lot of blame to go around including, governments, churches and an apathetic general public who turned a blind eye to what was happening. At the very least these schools were an attempt at cultural genocide (take the Indian out of the Indian as some politicians used to say) but it was much worse than that. Neglect and abuse were rampant, coupled with what appears to be a complete lack of empathy and respect. I suppose there were some school that were much better than others but, with over 1,000 graves already documented and more to come it just defies belief. Looking back in time, Native Americans would have been much better off if they had repelled all attempts at colonization by Europeans instead of welcoming them. They were killed, enslaved and/or moved off traditional lands then confined to small reservations frequently with no ability to support themselves. I wonder what I would have done if I were a Native American back then. Land disputes and other failures continue to this day. Many of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission remain outstanding as political will and push back by the public frustrate those involved. As a country Canada needs to do better.

July 5 Finally, yes finally the hockey season comes to an end. A valiant effort by the Habs but it was not to be. Should be a law that playoffs must end by May 31.

July 9 and my little garden starts producing green beans; raspberries and cherry tomatoes. Large tomatoes and carrots are still a few weeks away. Not much available space but I do try to plant something every year. I missed 2020 because I couldn’t get into the garden centers to buy seed and plants.

Mid-month the Covid Delta variant surges in the US south. Attendees at a Trump rally cheer the news that vaccination targets set by the Biden administration were not met. I wonder if they have a scale that goes low enough to measure the average IQ of those in attendance.

Days later the CDC declares that they are experiencing a 4th wave as cases sky rocket; with the Delta variant accounting for 90% of the new infections. Formerly reluctant Republican Governors and some Fox News hosts now recommending vaccinations - too bad they didn’t start four or five months ago. My big concern now is for the under twelve school kids who return to class in September. They probably won’t have a vaccine for them until December or January. I have two grandsons in that category so one more thing to worry about.

Let’s hope that a new strain, more potent than the Delta variant, doesn’t arise or we could be in for another year of masking and lockdowns. Get vaccinated dummies.

July 19 and our Dirty Dozen Golf League held its almost annual garden party – we missed 2020 because of the pandemic. Five CCHS Alumni are still active in the group including myself, Rob Ellicott (1962), George Mitev (1963), Dave Saunders (1963) and Alan David (French Teacher during the 70’s). A good time was had by all and Mitev won the money. We had a group photo of the CCHS crowd taken but the photographer couldn’t retrieve the pic from his phone. Too much red wine I think.

July 22 I received good news from my urologist, the MRI results were clear with no signs of cancer. So it will be another blood test in six months and perhaps another MRI if necessary.

July 24 My visitors on Saturday morning were two juvenile raccoons (Procyon lotor) who came up on the deck and were drinking the rainwater that remained from an overnight storm. Hadn’t seen them before but I’ll add them to the menagerie of woodchucks, rabbits, skunks, tom cats and ever present squirrels that frequent my back yard. Although not on my property, foxes are in the area and occasionally a deer will show up. No coyotes yet but, I’m sure they are on their way. My philosophy is “if they don’t bother you leave them alone”.

Photo of raccoons on deck

August 5 My brother George passed away after being admitted to Kingston General Hospital in late July. George had spent the month of April in Trenton Memorial Hospital after falling and breaking his hip. In early May he was placed in a long term care facility in Gananoque as the retirement home in Brighton, Ontario that he had been living at could no longer provide the level of care he required. An intensive care doctor informed me his progressive dementia had impaired his ability to swallow properly, leading to pneumonia, fever and extremely low blood oxygen levels. The last three years of his life have been very rough, exacerbated by the Covid pandemic. I had been unable to visit him since February of 2020 because of the lockdown at of most Ontario Seniors residences. I now know how relatives of Covid sufferers felt as friends and loved ones passed away without them being able to visit. I went through a full range of emotions from frustration, anger, sorrow, regret, guilt and in the end relief. The doctors and nurses at Kingston General where caring and understanding but in the end there was nothing that could be done.

August 8 and the Olympic Games are finally over. I thought they would come to be known as the games that shouldn’t have been held, but I was pleasantly surprised. Despite the lack of spectators the competition was great and Canadian athletes delivered some outstanding performances. If you watched CBC you could see the same event several times a day and most of the time they wouldn’t even tell you it was a replay.

August 9. Don’t you just love American politics? Andrew Cuomo is forced to resign after multiple women accuse him of inappropriate behavior and it is also revealed that one of Trump’s appointees to the Justice Department tried to get a letter sent to Governors in swing States telling them that election fraud was found (not true) and to overturn results in their States. Thankfully the acting Attorney General and other senior officials refused to sign the letter. Erin O’Toole and Justin Trudeau need to step up their game.

Rachel Maddow on MSNBC did a very entertaining piece on Cumo’s demise and how New York got their first female Governor after a string of crimes and misdemeanors by both Republican and Democratic officials going back ten years or more.

August 10 at 4:00 AM and the raccoons were back growling and making a terrible noise outside the bedroom window. I looked out to see what the racket was all about but it was too dark to make anything out. I got up at 5:15 and there they were chasing each other around the back yard having a fine old time. Later that day I went out to my garden to get a large tomato but, they were all gone, every single one. These were really big “beef masters”, not something a squirrel could carry off so I think it was the raccoons (Raton Laveur in French). They better be careful or they might morph into Davy Crockett Hats (do you remember them). I’m just kidding although I will call the city’s animal control people if things get too annoying.

August 13, thanks go to Shirley Smith for her generous donation and update on life in Alberta - Lots of smoke from the forest fires. Her family in Salmon Arm, BC are worried about what the devastation will look like when fires are finally out.

August 15, Trudeau and the Liberals announce a fall election – just what we don’t need. I suspect this will not turn out well for Justin and friends and instead of the majority hoped for they will end up sitting as the opposition.

August 17 and an unimaginable disaster unfolds in Afghanistan.  Biden’s legacy will be tarnished forever with this poorly executed withdrawal leaving thousands of Afghan civilians, who had helped America for 20 years, hung out to dry. All of them are at extreme risk to be rounded up and executed by the Taliban. I don’t disagree with the decision to leave but my God there was a complete lack of foresight and planning. Now the talking heads are trying to put a positive spin on the situation but the damage is done.

August 19 and Quebec enters its fourth Covid wave despite the high level of fully vaccinated. We are not as bad as the southern states where the situation is a virtual disaster. Closure of the US border to Canadians has been pushed back again and might open by September 21.

August 21 to 27 We are experiencing a heat wave with day time highs of 33 C and overnight lows above 20C. Lawns are brown and watering is restricted. It will be the hottest, driest August on record. At the risk of jinxing the remainder of the season, I can tell you that I have not had one golf game cancelled because of rain. Normally we get about 5 or 6 every year.

Thanks to: Bob Wrigley for the excerpts from his great book, Chasing Nature and Winston Evans for the information he provided.

Once again please send me photos, articles, obituaries for alumni deaths we may have missed or anything else you think may be of interest to our readers.

On that note I’ll sign off. Please stay safe and if not yet vaccinated what are you waiting for?

Harvey Carter

Life Member - C'60 - Editor, Alumni Connection

Welcome New and Renewing Alumni Association Members

Renewed Membership
Robert Holmes
Class of 1967
From Edmonton, AB

Renewed Membership
Sandra Rylander (Smith)
Class of 1960
From Niagara Falls, ON

Renewed Membership
Maureen Lyon (Knight)
Class of 1953
From Oshawa, ON

Renewed Membership
Shirley Smith
Class of 1970
From Sherwood Park, AB

Expiring Memberships

Please renew now.

Memberships expiring in September
Debbie Boutilier
Memberships expiring in October
Andrew Baugh
Pierre Dansereau

Graduation 2021

A Scaled Back Afternoon Graduation Ceremony

A lot of students and parents didn’t make it and classes were separated for photos. Parents were ushered in and out of the auditorium one class at a time and had to leave the school after students received their diploma.

Mortar board tossing ceremony took place in the gymnasium where once again the classes were kept separate (at least they tried). Back to normal next year maybe.

Graduating Class of 2021


Bob Wrigley
Class of 1961

Excerpt from Chasing Nature

Copies may be obtained by contacting:
Dr. Robert Wrigley
505 Boreham Blvd,
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3P 0K2

Cost of Chasing Nature
$55; shipping $17; total $72

Debby’s Story -- A Special Polar Bear And Her Legacy

On a cold day, November 17, 2008 to be exact, a sad decision was reached by the Zoo’s Veterinarian to euthanize the world’s oldest-living bear, a Polar Bear named Debby. Weighing about 350 kg in her prime, she had lost considerable body mass, multiple-organ failure gave no hope of recovery, and her quality of life was no longer acceptable. Now the death of an animal among the Zoo’s 2,000 specimens of 410 species was not an unusual occurrence, but then Debby was no average animal – in fact, she was special in so many ways.

Debby was without a doubt the most-popular animal in the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s 110-year history, and the second-oldest-known bear among all eight living species. (Darlene Stack)

News of her declining health earlier in the year, and her subsequent passing, made media headlines around the world, for she had been widely recognized as the oldest living Polar Bear, a feat that was noted in the book, “Guinness World Records 2008.” Internet search engines at the time listed dozens of pages of articles about Debby, and public reaction was remarkable in the form of letters, emails and phone calls from across Canada and elsewhere. At 42 years, she was among the top record holders for longevity among all eight living species of bears (A female Polar Bear at the Detroit Zoo lived to 43 years.). In the wild, if a Polar Bear survives the high mortality rate of its first year, it is doing well to live 10 to 18 years, and it is exceptional for one to reach 30.

Debby’ story began in late 1966 with her birth somewhere in the Russian Arctic. The following spring she was orphaned (circumstances unknown, but her mother was likely shot), rescued, and ultimately sent to the Assiniboine Park Zoo, arriving along with an unrelated male cub on September 6, 1967. Given the name Debby, by her zookeeper, she quickly became the most-popular animal at the zoo, and was without a doubt the most-famous and best-loved animal in the zoo’s 110-year history. Children, especially, responded to her graceful and motherly appearance. Playful by nature, even in her later years, she demonstrated a remarkable ability to strike photogenic poses when her many admirers returned to visit. They often talked to her like an old friend. Over the years, over 18 million people stopped in their tracks to watch this majestic animal from the North frolic with toys in her pool, search her enclosure for snacks, enjoy a shower, and raise her cubs (totalling six) over the years. She spent 28 years of her long life with her huge compatible mate, Skipper, who died at 34 years, a respectable age for a male bear.

As Debby’s health declined and the inevitable day approached, a grief counselor was invited to address the Zoo staff to discuss what emotions people might expect to experience when a relative, friend, or treasured animal dies. During the last moments of Debby’s life, staff members and I filed by to say our farewells. Several zookeepers had taken care of her for one or two decades, and she had been at the zoo longer than any of the zoo’s employees. Consequently, it was a very emotional time for all who knew this gentle giant. As she slumped down under anaesthesia in her indoor facility, there were no dry eyes among all those in attendance. We fell silent, lost in thought, experiencing both heavy sadness as well as fond memories. I smiled to myself thinking of the many occasions when I had taken thrilled guests behind the scenes to witness Debby devouring her meal (garlic veggie-dogs were a favourite), often bringing food items to her mouth using her wide, spoon-like paw. When it was finally safe to enter her quarters, two of her long-time zookeepers were permitted to stroke Debby’s huge head in a last, comforting gesture – something they had never, of course, been able to do before. Then her great chest ceased moving, and she was gone. Staff members slowly began returning to their work areas, heads lowered, and with hardly a word, while I stayed behind to ensure that a sample of her long white hair be preserved for DNA research before she was sent to be cremated.

A tribute to Debby was held on the following Saturday afternoon for staff and the public, which drew hundreds of people in spite of a nasty windchill. Everyone in attendance wished to say goodbye and to help celebrate her life and achievements, including her participation in several behavioural and physiological studies with the aims of better understanding the conservation needs of wild Polar Bears. The media was also out in full force, covering every aspect of this touching event. As attendees wearing, “I Love Debby” T-shirts munched on donated cakes and cookies adorned with Debby’s image, a video was shown highlighting stages of her life from cub to mother to senior years.

The Zoo Director (as former Veterinarian), who had cared for Debby for so many years, began the ceremonial proceedings, followed by my friend, Elder Roger Armitte, who expressed his belief that Debby’s spirit would continue to live on. Stirring songs were sung by a group of First Nations women, to the beat of a large White Bear Drum, and then zookeepers and members of the public were invited to the podium to offer their favourite remembrances of Debby. The entire event was a remarkable outpouring of love for a true icon. Some zoo visitors, who were youngsters when they first began visiting Debby in the 1960s, were here again with their grandchildren, many of whom hugged little stuffed replicas of Debby in their arms. The video was shown a few days later during intermission at a children’s concert at the Centennial Concert Hall (based on a Polar Bear story book) performed by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. By this time, over a thousand people had signed a 5-metre-long vinyl banner, and left loving notes for Debby.

Debby was a wonderful ambassador for her species and contributed so much to sensitizing people about the need to conserve Arctic ecosystems and wildlife. International concern about the serious consequences of climate change would not have reached its current level of attention without the dire threat to Polar Bear populations. Personally, Debby stimulated me to publish a book on Polar Bears: “Polar Bear Encounters at Churchill,” which included a chapter on Polar Bears in zoos. Over the decades, the Zoo staff and I answered countless enquiries and filled in questionnaires about why Debby was able to live for so long. I suspect it was due to a combination of an exceptional genetic inheritance, high-quality diet, daily routine of activity, and special care from her zookeepers and veterinarians. She exhibited surprisingly few medical issues over her four-plus decades (two root canals and a nasal abscess), plus she was not subjected to non-essential anaesthesia.

A few months later, several staff members, including her long-time keeper, flew north to Churchill (“the Polar Bear capital of the world”) carrying an urn with Debby’s ashes. On a cold wintery day on the coastal tundra, they cast her remains to the wind. Debby had returned to her Arctic home. I still feel a warm glow of pleasure when I look at photographs of Debby, and recall her 40th birthday when I was asked to conduct a succession of 11 media interviews in front of her enclosure, with her in the background enjoying a fish frozen in a block of ice. She was just that popular!

Ebony and Ivory

Ebony and Ivory The contrasting colours of Brunswick and Makwa never failed to stop Zoo visitors in their tracks. (Darlene Stack)

While Curator at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in 1996, I received a call from a Canada Post official requesting our cooperation in a joint Canada Post/Walt Disney Company launching of a set of “Winnie-the-Pooh” stamps. He requested to have the official ceremony in front of our Black Bear Exhibit at the Zoo in Winnipeg – the home of Winnipegger Lieutenant Harry Colebourn (an army veterinarian), who had purchased the famous bear cub Winnie at White River, Ontario in 1914, as a pet and regimental mascot. I was only too pleased to help, but we had a major problem – I had recently placed our pair of Black Bears at another zoo to make room for a breeding pair of highly endangered Spectacled Bears, native to the South American Andes.

With the ceremony date fast approaching, I made a couple of frantic calls to colleagues at the Toronto Zoo and the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and Zoo, and with the customary great cooperation among members of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a week later I received from Toronto a male cub named Brunswick. This little guy had been spotted along a highway in New Brunswick by a trucker, and realizing the cub would likely be killed by a vehicle, he managed to capture it (no easy feat) and drop it off at the Toronto Zoo. Soon after, a female cub we named “Peg” (“Winnie” was already taken), short for ‘Winnipeg,’ arrived from Saskatoon. A few days later, the stamp-launch ceremony went off in fine style, with the two bear cubs frolicking in the background. The media had a fine time filming the cubs and conducting interviews with the dignitaries. The bears turned out to be compatible, and we eventually had to neuter Brunswick because it would have been inappropriate to encourage breeding with so many orphaned wild cubs needing homes.

In July 2004, I received a call from a Manitoba Conservation officer asking if the Zoo could accept another orphaned Black Bear cub. While I had had some success previously finding other zoo and park homes for bear cubs, it was becoming increasing challenging to do so. He then proceeded to inform me that this cub was completely white. The cub and its black mother had been spotted along a highway near Easterville in central Manitoba, and people had stopped to photograph the charming couple amid a field of grass and yellow flowers. A day later the photos appeared internationally on the internet. People began to place food along the road to keep the bears in the area for photos, and sadly the inevitable happened – the mother bear was struck and killed by a car. The conservation officer was called to the scene and was able to secure the cub before it could run off into the woods, where it would not have survived on its own.

Following a physical examination by our veterinarian, and a quarantine period, we placed the female cub on display, where its plight, unusual colour, and too-cute appeal instantly drew media attention and large crowds. It was gratifying to witness First Nations and Metis peoples making repeated visits to see and talk to the cub in their languages, and to pay respect to this living symbol of the Bear Clan. They named her ‘Makwa,’ meaning bear. Makwa rapidly gained many admiring fans with her gentle and playful nature, and most visitors assumed she was a Polar Bear cub because of her white colour. Makwa was not an albino, but possessed a double set of a recessive gene that fails to produce the dark pigment melanin in the hair follicles. She did have limited pigmentation on her honey-coloured shoulders. In fact, when her DNA was tested by a lab, we were told that an entire section of a chromosome was missing, a different mutation than occurs in the famous white Kermode Spirit Bears found in the rainforests 520 km north of Vancouver, British Columbia. In checking with Manitoba Conservation field staff, there have been a few other records over the years of white adults observed from helicopters.

When Makwa grew sufficiently large to introduce her to Peg and Brunswick, first through the bars inside and later together in the exhibit, the bear keepers watched closely to see that there was no serious aggression. While Brunswick appeared pleased to have another female playmate, Peg became increasingly antagonistic, and began to chase the speedy Makwa around the enclosure, causing her significant stress. So sadly, I had to send Peg to the Centre de Conservation de la Biodiversité Boréale in St. Felicien, Quebec, where she was soon roaming the natural forest and meadows of the Centre’s impressive grounds. Makwa and Brunswick were an entertaining pair for many years, and sometimes were seen and photographed while mating -- literally black on white!

The Zoo staff and I were proud of the Zoo’s long history of exhibiting, breeding, rehabilitating, and placing orphaned bears. For over a century (records up to 2008), the Zoo’s inventory recorded 525 bears – 447 Black Bears, 17 Grizzlies, 55 Polar Bears including 23 wild orphans, 4 Spectacled Bears, and 2 Giant Pandas. One of the world’s most-famous Polar Bears, named Debby, lived at our Zoo for an astounding, near-record-breaking 42 years.

Alumni Association

Alumni Association Notes

St. Lambert Days was held August 19 to 22 but it just wasn’t the same. Extreme heat and Covid kept the numbers low and one of the main watering holes, Kapetan’s restaurant, was closed for renovations. Fellow Alumni were scarce - better days are ahead.

Flo Trudeau, Class of 1960, sent me a nice letter from BC. She had plans to attend our 2020 event that had to be cancelled and now wonders about the possibility of having a reunion for the over 70 crowd. I don’t know if there are enough of us around to make such an undertaking worthwhile. We will need to discuss 2022 reunion options including segmenting groups, at our next board meeting in early September.

Three of four months ago I thought a September Reunion on Labour Day might have been possible but given the current situation there is not a chance. Students start back to school next week and they with be required to wear masks.The Quebec Government finally mandated the requirement as the 4th wave grew. Parents, students and teachers are, quite frankly, relieved. Can you picture a masked reunion? I firmly believe we are OK for May 2022, however, this pandemic has produced so many surprises we better wait a couple of more months before celebrating.

I don’t know if it is summer ennui, Covid fatique or something else but a number of alumni have let their membership lapse. Although we are not going to start publishing a delinquent list I urge you to renew as soon as possible. Your Association relies on membership fees, donations and reunion profits to pay the bills.


Bill Welburn
William Henry (Bill) Welburn
Class of 1957

William Henry (Bill) Welburn
1939 - 2021

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of our father William Henry Welburn (Bill). He passed away peacefully in his sleep on July 1, 2021 with his children Brandon (Genevieve) and Andrea by his side.

Predeceased by his wife Valerie, he leaves behind his sister Dorothy (Elmer), step-son Shaun (Christina) and companion Roselle. Not to be left out is his granddaughter Chloe, the apple of his eye.

Bill worked for Bell Canada for 37 years but his ultimate passion was his music. He began playing with The Scimitars in his late teens at various venues around Montreal and the Laurentians. Later on in his life, he played with various local groups in the Chateauguay Valley including Numbers and for the past 20 years The Road Scholars, who were frequently amongst headliners at many Bluegrass festivals in Quebec, Ontario, and New York State.

A very special thank you to Dr. Bélanger and the Huntingdon CLSC (notably nurse Louise) for their superior care and compassion.Bill donated to numerous charities over the years. In his memory, the family suggests sending memorial donations to the charity of your choice.

Frances Rayner (Smith)
Frances Rayner (Smith)
Class of 1978

Frances Rayner

With heavy hearts, we announce the death of Frances Rayner of Lancer, Saskatchewan, who passed away on June 28, 2021.

Geroge Carter
Class of 1965

Geroge Carter
July 20, 1946 - August 5, 2021

George passed away peacefully on August 5 after a brief stay at Kingston General Hospital.

George was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces serving in Germany and Cyprus. After his discharge he worked for the Canadian Cancer Society before epilepsy and complications from a stroke forced his retirement.

He leaves behind sister, Katherine Gill and brothers, Russell and Harvey. He was predeceased by his sister Nancy and brother Jake.

Cremation took place in Kingston, Ontario. Internment and a memorial service will take place at a later date in Bethel, Maine.

Heather Corbett (Pond)
Class of 1967

Heather Corbett (Pond)
October 10, 1949-August 2, 2021

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Heather Corbett, daughter of the late Arthur Pond and Dorothy MacMillan, peacefully with family by her side. She leaves behind her husband Michael, son Darren (Cari), daughter Alison, adored granddaughter Emma; sisters Joanne (late Keith), Bonnie (late Richard) and brother Brian (Cathy); brother-in-law Kevin (Michele), sister-in-law Colleen (late Keith), along with many cousins, nephews, nieces, and friends. Heather's greatest love was for her family, especially her two children. She will forever be in our hearts. The family would like to thank the staff at the Palliative Care Unit at the Lachine hospital, and the LaSalle CLSC for their care of Heather. Contributions can be made to the Shriners Hospital (514) 282-8545 to the "Heather Pond Corbett memorial fund."

Brian Denyar
Class of 1958

Dr. Brian Edgar Denyar

It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of Dr. Brian Edgar Denyar on Monday, December 16, 2019. Beloved and cherished husband of Elizabeth (nee MacMillan) and devoted and loving father of Susan, Kathleen and James (Cyndy). Brother-in-law to Ian and Ann MacMillan and uncle to their children John, Andrew, Colin and Sarah. Cousin-in-law to Katherine and Andrew Graham and their daughter Katherine. Brian was predeceased by his parents Edgar and Margaret Denyar and younger brother Roy. Brian suffered a stroke on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 in Florida. He fought hard, but was unable to recover. As much as Brian loved his family, he was never far from his beloved dogs, leaving behind Kami and Brady. A huge thank you to the caring and compassionate staff at Regional Medical Centre Bayonet Point in Florida for taking exceptional care of Brian. Their professionalism was second to none. We are extremely grateful to all our family and friends who loved and supported us during this time. The biggest thank you is to Susie who through all this had a dual role as daughter and nurse. Cremation has taken place. 

And Finally...

Golfer’s Wives be Careful

Tim decided to tie the knot with his longtime girlfriend. One evening, after the honeymoon, he was cleaning his golf clubs for his Saturday game. His wife was standing at the bench watching him and after a long period of silence she finally spoke. “Honey, I've been thinking, now that we are married I think it's time you quit playing so much golf, maybe you should sell your clubs and cancel your membership at the golf club.” Tim got a horrified look on his face. She said: "Darling, what's wrong?" He replied, “For a minute there you were sounding like my ex-wife.” “Ex-wife!" she screamed: "I didn't know you were married before!” He replied, “I wasn't.”

A Covid Analogy

Remember, masks are like pants. If you’re not wearing any, then you are exposing others to something they’d rather NOT deal with.

Door Knockers Please Note
Paddy took 2 stuffed dogs to the Antiques Show
The difference between a big sister and big brother
I'm no bird expert
Wife is going to bite my head off
Did You Know

Last but not least

This information is for Catholics only.  It must not be divulged to non-Catholics.  The less they know about our rituals and top secret code words, the better off they are.

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.

BULLETIN: Your receipt for attending Mass.

CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the Parish to lip-sync.

HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.  Created by boiling the HELL out of it.

HYMN: A song of praise usually sung in a key three octaves higher than that of the congregation's range.

RECESSIONAL HYMN: The last song at Mass often sung a little more quietly, since most of the people have already left.

INCENSE: Holy Smoke!

MANGER: Where Mary gave birth to Jesus because Joseph wasn't covered by an HMO. (The Bible's way of showing us that holiday travel has always been rough.)

PEW: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.

PROCESSION: The ceremonial formation at the beginning of Mass consisting of altar servers, the celebrant, and late parishioners looking for seats.

RECESSIONAL: The ceremonial procession at the conclusion of Mass led by parishioners trying to beat the crowd to the parking lot.

RELICS: People who have been going to Mass for so long, they actually know when to sit, kneel, and stand.

TEN COMMANDMENTS: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.

USHERS: The only people in the parish who don't know the seating capacity of a pew.

LITTLE KNOWN FACTS ABOUT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN  LAS VEGAS: There are more churches in Las Vegas than casinos. During Sunday services at the offertory, some worshippers contribute casino chips as opposed to cash. Some are sharing their winnings - some are hoping to win. Since they get chips from so many different casinos, and they are worth money, the Catholic churches are required to send all the chips into the diocese for sorting. Once sorted into the respective casino chips, one junior priest takes the chips and makes the rounds to the casinos turning chips into cash. And he, of course, is known as The Chip Monk.