Have you heard this one? 7 seminarians walk into a bar ….

There are a number of long standing jokes that we tell when we are with friends or family most of which start “An ‘x’, a ‘y’ and a ‘z’ walk into a bar ….”, well ….

*clears throat*

7 seminarians walk into a bar to celebrate after an ordination.  Naturally they are dressed in their clerical shirts etc.  The bartender says “Sorry gents, we don’t do fancy dress or stag dos”.  Aghast, the seminarians thought this must surely be a joke, but in fact he was serious.  “But we are real” they say, to no avail, they turn and leave.  Denied of their pint of Brains, they leave all sullen wondering where to go next.   Suddenly a man presumed to be the bar manager approaches them at the door and reassures them that he believes that they are real and invites them back in.  As a goodwill gesture he provides the men with a round of drinks and an outburst of applause fills the bar.

Throughout their stay at the famous bar, the young men continued to receive a warm welcome from the regulars whose curiosity was roused.  Many of them approached the seminarians and asked them questions.  Fascinated by these young men they seemed surprised to learn that some had worked prior to entering formation for priesthood.  Further questions ensued and a great time was had by all.

On leaving the bar, one of the seminarians known as Reverend James buys the now blushing barman a pint of ……. ‘Rev. James’ to show it was taken in good spirit.  And the seminarians walked away encouraged by the positive reaction of the local community – all thanks to a bit of white plastic around their neck and the everyday situation in which they like to partake.


As one famous comedian once said “It’s the way I tell em”.  Not much of a joke you say? That’s because it’s not a joke! This actually happened to our seminarians following the ordination of Fr. Peter McLaren last Saturday.  What a fantastic story indeed!  The bar in question is one of the most popular pubs in Cardiff – ‘The City Arms’.  They’ve even used our own Rev. James to promote their Rev. James (see picture below).

We’d like to thank ‘The City Arms’ for being good sports through all of this and their kind gesture to our seminarians – and please note a number of our clergy, including the Archbishop of Cardiff, frequent your bar so don’t turf any more out please! [I am one of them!]

The seminarians in question included our own Rev. Nicholas Williams, Rev. Robert James (no the pint isn’t named after him), Elliot Hanson and Dale Cutlan who took it all in good spirit.  Although initially shocked their only thought was ‘where are we going for our pint now?’

We know the barman in question was suitably embarrassed to the extent that he posted on Facebook that he ‘feels the set up for a joke’.  Let us reassure you, you’re not; after all the joke must always start ‘A [xyz] walk into a bar ….’.

Adds another dimension to the term ‘Evangelisation’!


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