"CHAMPIN' AT THE BIT"? The caption on the front page of last week's bulletin engendered not a few debates."Is Fr. Bob ILLITERATE?" some have asked in astonishment. All this can only mean that it is time for GRAMMAR LESSONS!

When I sent the cover to (Oscar winning) Karen Tweardy with the text "CHOMPIN' at the bit" she replied: Did you say CHOMPING at the bit on purpose? My understanding is that it is CHAMPING at the bit. Father Know It-All immediately deemed her WRONG and to prove his point consulted that great cyberspace knower-ofall- things Google so as to PROVE his superior intellect (NOT that he suffers from Pride or any of the other 7 DEADLY sins!). In the final analysis the dispute ended in a draw:

One definition of bit is a metal mouthpiece used for controlling a horse, and one definition of champ is to bite or chew noisily. These are the senses meant in the idiom champing at the bit, which refers to the tendency of some horses to chew on the bit when impatient or eager. In its figurative sense, it means to show impatience while delayed, or just to be eager to start.

In fact, chomp, which began as a variant of champ, is alive in English while the biting-related sense of champ is dead outside this idiom, so it’s no wonder that chomping at the bit is about 20 times as common as champing at the bit on the web. Champing at the bit can sound funny to people who aren’t familiar with the idiom or the obsolete sense of champ, of champ, while most English speakers can infer the meaning of chomping at the bit.

Still, if you’re writing for school or for readers who are versed in English champing at the bit is probably the safer choice.

I took the last sentence as indicating that the "most correct" form was champing at the bit, so I went with that. Had I left it as I originally wrote it - and what the majority of people thought correct - I'd have had nothing to write about HERE!

BROTHER JAMES CARTWRIGHT, OSB: On 29 September Immaculate Conception native son Br. James Cartwright, a monk of Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe went to his eternal reward after a long battle with diabetes. Prior to entering the monastery in 1984 Jim was very involved in his parish, serving as sacristan, lector, cantor, and parish council president. I fondly remember him from my youth, when I was an altar server and CYO member. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.

PARISH MISSION: Next weekend Our Lady, Queen of the Yough Catholic Community's Parish Mission with Msgr. Roger Statnick will begin. Ideally Msgr. Statnick would preachat all parish Masses; however I am not sure if that can be finagled. (I haven't given up YET, but it is definitely a logistical challenge!) The exact schedule will be published next weekend but keep Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday evenings free! Msgr. Statnick, now retired, served as the Diocese's Vicar General (i.e. second-in-command) and Rector of Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, as well as a Pastor of various parishes. He has a well earned reputation as a FANTASTIC teacher and I have NO DOUBT that all who take the time to participate in this Parish Mission will be DEEPLY nourished spiritually.

CITY HONOR ROLL: My well-known reputation as a "history nerd" has gotten me in trouble YET AGAIN. I have been asked to serve on a city committee charged with trying to replace the city's Honor Roll that disappeared in the late 40s. Thus I need YOUR help. If you had a relative/friend, from Connellsville, who died in any war or conflict involving the USA PLEASE send me the information. Our first task is to compile a comprehensive list of Connellsville "war dead."

COVER PHOTO: His Feast Day was a quarter year ago this week, but it is ALWAYS the right time to ask for his prayers. Took this pic a fortnight ago in a friend's garden.


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