God’s phone number

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God’s phone number

Half a century ago, phone numbers had prefixes as well as numbers (such as ESterbrook 9-3392), and the Roman Catholic Mass was in Latin.

“Dominus vobiscum,” the priest would say.

“Et cum spiritu tuo,” the altar boys would respond.

Each generation of Catholic boys and girls, moving through schools run by nuns in voluminous black (or brown, or even white) habits, would hear that prayer from the altar day in and day out, and make a joke of it.

“What’s God’s phone number?

“Etcumspiri-2-2-0.”

(Giggle.)

All that changed, of course, with the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s. Now the prayer is said in English.

“God be with you.”

“And with your spirit.”

That’s probably an improvement. After all, wishing each other God’s presence and support is not a bad gift.

And it’s a lot easier to understand in the vernacular.

Patrick T. Reardon
3.18.12

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