“one continuous, unrelenting, almost delirious moment”

menckenH.L. Mencken’s first book of memoirs chronicles his halcyon years as a “cub reporter,” before he was burdened by editorial and administrative responsibility.

From the book’s preface:

The narrative has principally to do with my days as a reporter, when I was young, goatish and full of an innocent delight in the world. My adventures in that character, save maybe in one or two details, were hardly extraordinary; on the contrary they seem to me now, looking back upon them nostalgically, to have been marked by an excess of normalcy. Nevertheless, they had their moments—in fact, they were made up, subjectively, of one continuous, unrelenting, almost delirious moment—and when I revive them now it is mainly to remind myself and inform historians that a newspaper reporter, in those remote days, had a grand and gaudy time of it, and no call to envy any man.

For my part, being a man of the cloth, I do what I can to keep my own goatishness in check.

That said, these words of Mencken’s plucked a chord for me. This week I say farewell to the lovely life of a parochial vicar–also known as a curate or “associate” or “assistant.”

Six years of priesthood have passed in an unrelenting, delirious moment. Their excess of normalcy has made them all the more delightful. I have had no call to envy any man.

May God be praised. Thank you Father Finch, Msgr. Laczko, Msgr. Hughes, and Fr. Foley (the poor men who had to endure me as their vicar). Pray for me, please!

Father Bill Finch, R.I.P.

silver bill finch
silver bill finch

Please say a prayer for the repose of Rev. Father G. William Finch.

He died of a sudden heart attack shortly after saying the Mass of the Lord’s Supper last night.

Fr. Finch was pastor of St. Raphael parish in Rockville, Md. I was his parochial vicar for my first fourteen months as a priest.

Teaching me how to be a priest was an enormous trial for him, because I was very difficult and obtuse. But Fr. Finch endured the task with kind patience. He succeeded in teaching me a great deal in spite of my ineptitude.

Father’s sudden death is a blow to all of his brother priests and to his people in Rockville. May the angels lead him to parardise, and may the good Lord console us who ache with grief.