In every Catholic schoolgirl’s life there appears at one time or another a young, handsome stranger. He is friendly, warm, sincere and listens willingly to her problems. He “understands” her as no one ever has. He even plants a little kiss on her cheek when he comes to her family’s house while conducting the parish census; it’s to die from. But there’s only one fly in the holy ointment: he is a priest, and his name is Father What-a-Waste.

Father What-a-Waste comes from Topeka, Kansas, was the captain of the state championship basketball team, never kissed a girl on the first date--or the second, for that matter--and has now, of course, forsworn such pleasures entirely.

He is devoted to his mother; his family thinks he’s a saint. Once, when Miller’s pond had barely frozen over, Bingo, the What-a-Waste family dog, ventured onto the ice while chasing a rabbit. The paper-thin surface began to give way, and thirteen-year-old Father What-a-Waste plunged into the frigid water to rescue his beloved pet. He offered up to the poor souls in Purgatory the three days he spent in the hospital with hypothermia.

The parishioners fawn over Father What-a-Waste, and the St. Cleo’s High School Broncos never had a better coach. In short, everyone loves Father What-a-Waste, but no one more than the girls of Sister Theresa’s eighth grade class. He strides into the classroom like Robert Redford in a Roman collar. As he looks from one fresh young face to another, hearts melt, and even Sister smiles beatifically as Father What-a-Waste explains that more dented cans of vegetables than ever are needed for this year’s Catholic Relief Services drive.

The girls normally take little interest in sports. But when Father What-a-Waste shoots baskets with the boys at recess, they show more enthusiasm than the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, squealing with glee when he hits twenty-foot jumpers in full cassock. As the bevy flocks to Father What-a-Waste’s side, he straightens his collar, checks his reflection in the school window and quickly smoothes down his hair. Father What-a-Waste never has any idea of his effect on his spiritual charges--or does he?

more from beliefnet and our partners
Close Ad