Monday, 19 October 2015

A "fail" in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune 19th October 2015: I smiled until I sighed.

Comer back ye Copy Editors -  all is forgiven

Our local newspaper, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune carried a "puff piece" today about the founding Pastor of St. Martha's Roman Catholic Church:  the Revd. Charles Eslander.  The article was written by one Jeff LaHurd - an H-T "correspondent".

Here is the header:

Sarasota history: The priest, the church and the circus.

By Jeff LaHurd

And here are excerpts from the story:

SARASOTA - On Sunday morning, Oct. 2, 1927, Father Charles Elslander celebrated his first Mass in Sarasota. He had been a priest for five years, serving St. Augustine, Tallahassee, Orlando and mission churches in north Florida before he arrived to become this community's Parrish  (1) priest.

Father Elslander's first service was in a small wooden structure built in 1911, at Adelia and 9th Street, on property donated by the Owen Burns family. St. Martha was Burns mother's patron saint. A man of the cloth, Elslander served not only his own congregation of Catholics but embraced those of all faiths. A fellow priest noted that he was Ecumenical (2)  in spirit

His kindliness and generosity were well known throughout the county, and in his heart and through his deeds he was the Chaplin (3) of all of Sarasota.

Father Elslander was filled with praise for the circus personnel who were “essential in the construction of the Church.” He noted that for eight years, they gave two performances just before leaving for the annual tour, bringing to the church grounds nearly the entire menagerie and the finest acts. It was John Ringling North  (4) who requested that Father Elslander and his altar boys bless the circus trains each year, an act captured on celluloid in “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Thereafter North would not let the trains leave the yard until they were blessed.

Blessing the Circus Train (This photo' was not in the H-T article)

On Oct. 20, 1957 the cavernous Municipal Auditorium was filled with community well-wishers who came to pay their respects to him on the occasion of his 65th birthday, his 30th anniversary at St. Martha's and his 35th anniversary as a priest. An editorial in the ( former Sarasota) Herald describing Monsignor Elslander's festive night, said of him : (5)“...his accomplishments here are nothing short of phenomenal.” 

 "The Parish (6)  gifted him a 1958 Buick".


(1)  Parrish is a community some 27 miles north-east of Sarasota.   Monsignor Elsander was the Pastor at St.Martha's Parish.

(2) The word "ecumenical" is an adjective. So why did Jeff LaHurd write Ecumenical, and how is it that the H-T's copy editor did not understand that the first letter (e) should not have been  upper case/capital.

(3)  Did Charlie know about this?  (The word is "Chaplain", not "Chaplin") [This made  me giggle!)

(4)  John Ringling North was the nephew of the more famous John Ringling. North ran the circus after his uncle died.

(5)  Back to 1957 and to the old Tribune.  Strictly speaking, all  our accomplishments -  good, bad, or indifferent  - are phenomenal!

(6) Dear Jeff LaHurd, you spelled "parish" correctly this time. But  why oh why did you not use plain and simple English?  by writing that "the Parish gave him a 1958 Buick",  rather than your awkward construction "The Parish gifted him a 1958 Buick".

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