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Clowns

By Fr. Wilson (articles ) | Jun 07, 2003

Your posting on clowns interests me, Leila.

I had never thought much about the subject at all. I think I was at the circus once in my life. Clowns were not on my radar (Barnum & Bailey, I mean; USCCB is another matter). It was only after ordination that I discovered that there are people who have visceral reactions to clowns.

Several parishioners told me of the reactions of their children to clowns, and several adults shared their own reactions: they found clowns dark, malevolent, sinister. I was very surprised, but this is obviously deeply felt by some folks. I know folks who swear that clown ministry is very effective with certain situations, like handicapped kids. I don't know enough about it to judge.

Then, I once stopped in for a faculty meeting in the school of my former parish, and to my stunned surprise found the vice principal and the secretary all done up in costumes sharing with the teachers their insights into "clown ministry." The one, Sr Cathy, had taken the clown name 'Twinkles," the other "Bunny." They were, um, somewhat inhibited after I took my seat, I fear, and seemed apprehensive about my reaction, but I confined myself to saying, "Uh, Sister Cathy, weren't you one Sister Charles Borromeo?" 'Yes," "Ah Then Sister Cathy. Now your Twinkles..."

At least her clown suit was distinctive dress.

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