72. Rev. Osmond Dinsworthy, Priest

“When you see Old Ozzie coming around the bend, watch out.”

The Rev. Dinsworthy is a hard egg to crack. A tall man with a florid complexion and, these days, with a slight tremor, he might be blown over by a stiff breeze. And yet a man with a steady and commanding gaze, often softened by a friendly wink. And if you’re lucky a welcoming grin. That’s because he has been serving one flock or another for decades and as he would say in his orotund way, “In the course of the fulness of time, one sees much and endures much with all the compassion and fervor that the soul can muster.” Some make fun of him and his flowery manner. Some assume that he is a man in a very dark and deep closet. Some doubt that he is serious, a running joke that only he is in on. And some have no idea what he is talking about but love him despite it. But whatever anyone might think, Reverend Osmond Dinsworthy is, deep down, a highly intelligent, serious, and extremely shy man who came by his calling while still a teenager. The visions that he saw as a youth no longer occur much anymore but, to Dinsworthy, they are the evidence on which his faith rests. And he practices that faith not just in performing the normal priestly duties – celebrating mass, baptisms, funerals, hearing confessions, visiting the sick, teaching classes on scripture, coaching the parochial school’s wrestling team – but also by being a strong advocate for social services and charities in his community. As more than one of his more affluent parishioners has said, “When you see Old Ozzie coming around the bend, watch out. He’s going to have his hand in your pocket quicker than you know. He can drag a donation out of a stone.” But most would also agree that these donation visits are also a lot of fun. There are wisecracks, sharing of a Scotch or two, and some thought-provoking sermonizing. Dinsworthy has also been known to drive city officials around the bend by pointing out social problems that are going unserved. It’s got him in a bit of trouble from time to time. “Priest Labelled Busybody” was a headline in the local paper. Church authorities don’t always like that kind of publicity and Dinsworthy was “spoken to.” Now in what he describes as “the twilight of my earthly service to my Lord and his only beloved Son,” the Rev. Osmond Dinsworthy is looking forward to a time of personal introspection and spiritual renovation in anticipation of a peaceful transition to a better world. He is also looking forward to the final confession of his sins. He has had temptations and has not always been able to resist them.

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