Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

A Cold Priest Considers Why Winter’s Come South

By FATHER GILES CONWILL, Special Contributor | Published February 3, 2005

Well, here I am stuck in my home in an ice storm on the last Sunday of January, with no electricity. I’m unable to get out to Mass due to shut down roadways. I’m able to heat chicken noodle soup on the wood-burning stove, so thank God for little favors.

Upset and frustrated, I’m trying to figure out whom to pray to and whom to blame. Let’s see about whom to pray to first. Since there are no official patron saints of weather, the closest I can come up with is the patron saint of the ecology, St. Francis of Assisi. Another possible intercessor is his good friend, St. Clare of Assisi, patron saint of television, because the television weather persons have done an outstanding job of preempting all other news to keep us updated.

And let’s not forget St. Michael, the patron saint of policemen, for their selfless service during frigid forecasts. The freezing temperatures have caused a lot of freezing and busting water pipes, so let’s petition St. Vincent Ferrer, patron saint of plumbers for his protection. Bridges and overpasses have their patron, too, so, St. Nicholas of Myrna, help us to get over them safely. What about the folks stuck at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport? Okay, St. Christopher.

Since all this ice and snow has been a major headache, St. Teresa of Avila, patron of headache sufferers, please deliver us.

Phone doesn’t work … TV doesn’t work. It’s too dark to read. Being isolated and closed off from outside communication can literally drive one nuts. My two cocker spaniels are such poor conversationalists … so let’s send a quickie up to St. Dymphna, patron of mental illness. (How do the Trappist monks do it?)

Now, to the second issue: Who can we blame for this horrid ice mess? Hey, I recall that our new Archbishop Wilton Gregory “hails” from the city of Belleville in the Illinois Diocese, which is the home to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. Is he to blame for bringing this ice mess with him? (Our Lady of the Snows … ice … sleet—they’re all frozen “precip” relatives.) This day, I’ve prayed the “Hail Mary” with a slightly different connotation … brrrr.

Please tell our Blessed Mother that the new archbishop has been transferred and that now he belongs to us in Atlanta, and that southerly winds and climate should prevail down here. Thank you, Amen.


Father Giles Conwill, Ph.D., is a professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta.