"The Moist Heart: A Compendium of Private or Public Worship" is the twelfth chapter of Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies.


The twelfth and final chapter of the book can best be described as a short parody of the missal that contains prayers and songs used during Mass, also entitled The Moist Heart. For every Sunday and feast day, the “movable” parts of the Mass include an Epistle, a Gospel, and a variable number of short prayers that are used; if the feast day is not too solemn to allow a substitution, prayers for special purposes (similar to those in The Moist Heart) can be substituted.  The chapter is brief, containing but a song, a few prayers, and the so-called "Paradigmatic Sunday Sermon" that the text suggests is only a “sermon concentrate” to be thickened or thinned based on the needs of the priest.

Bowen notes his old Missal has a number of such occasional prayers with headings like “To Avert Storms” and “Against Cattle-plague.”  Another such prayer, one of those “Against Enemies and Evil-doers” goes:

“We beg Thee, Lord, to crush the pride of our enemies and by the power of Thy right hand to break their stubborn wills.”
As in John’s collection, there are prayers both for and against rain, “though the ones in my Missal bear little resemblance to his.[1]

The N

It’s customary, Bowen adds, when a prayer is for someone specific (such as the deceased at a funeral Mass, or the Pope when he is being prayed for) to represent the person's name with the letter N in the text of the prayer.  It works just as well in Latin as in English (nomen or name). Hence the superfluous N. in the Prayer for the Speedy Demise of a Bishop, and the agnostic N. and secularist N. as mentioned in the Prayer for Earthquakes [1].


  1. 1.0 1.1 Correspondence with Charles Bowen.
Saint Fidgeta and Other Parodies


12. The Moist Heart: A Compendium of Private or Public Worship

The Moist Heart
A May HymnPrayer for the Speedy Demise of a BishopPrayer for EarthquakesPrayer for RainPrayer for Fair WeatherCommemorative Prayer for a Holy Woman Not a Virgin
A Paradigmatic Sunday Sermon