Are there bats in the belfrey?

My mother who is a daily communicant had a rather unusual experience at Mass this morning when the priest came out with a bat attached to his vestment. (This happened in an eastern rite church where the celebrant faces away from the parishioners towards the altar.) Apparently, she was too scared to approach father to warn him about it and at one point in the Mass when it started flying around just before the consecration she screamed and almost fainted. Father gesticulated furiously and shewed it away. The few other parishioners in attendance were likewise scared or indifferent to the presence of this unwelcome guest. The one gentleman in the pews was very nonchalant; when advised about the bat he replied, “Oh, is that so?” What would you have done in such a situation? Don’t you think someone should have yelled out, “Hey, father, there is a bat hanging on your back!” This is the second bat in two weeks. Last week a bat fell dead at the entrance to the church as someone opened the door. Isn’t it unusual to see bats out and about in the daytime? Should father be advised to see a doctor as he has been in direct contact with a live bat? Could this bat be rabid? After falling down with laughter listening to my poor mother I wonder if this could be more serious.

Many bats are rabid, :bigyikes: but I think they have to bite to give anyone rabies. I have touched bats before.

  • Kathie :bowdown:

I’m sorry, I know this is very serious, with rabies and such, but geez, I nearly fell off my seat reading it!

I’m not sure what I would have done!

[quote=harinkj]Many bats are rabid, :bigyikes: but I think they have to bite to give anyone rabies. I have touched bats before.

  • Kathie :bowdown:
    [/quote]

If he was bitten, yes he should get treatment. In any case, a dead bat should be turned over to Animal Control for testing.

PF

Hi Rosalinda,

Don’t worry! I’ve worked with bats, and they are one of the most docile and beautiful of God’s creatures. They are very timid, and rarely bite anyone – unless you pick one up and squeeze it too hard. Furthermore, most bats that we encounter in North America (is that where you are?) don’t have the strength to actually puncture the skin (although there are a few that can – like the Mexican Freetail, who bit through a glove of mine once!) But only these larger bats ever pose a biting hazard.

I was required to receive a rabies booster (or vaccine) preemptively before working with the bats, but it was purely precautionary and I was in heavy prolonged contact. Bats are no more likely to have rabies than other animals such as racoons, etc. It is unusal for bats to fly outdoors during midday (but you sometimes see them, if they have been disturbed from their roost), but they will often fly around indoors during the day. A bat that is flying erratically outside during the day (or resting on the ground) is behaving suspiciously and may have some sort of disease or problem.

These creatures are extremely beneficial to us for insect control. Plus they are gentle and very graceful. If you ever get a chance to see a live one close up, you would be amazed at how cute they actually are. Not like a rodent, really.

I suppose that the church has become a good roost for the bats. The parish can contact an animal control organization, but I hope they would specify removal and relocation. There are groups that specialize in bat relocation. These animals are much too beneficial to exterminate and should be appreciated.

I would look at it as a blessing :stuck_out_tongue: :yup:. They are pretty cool!

The idols will perish forever. Men will go into caves in the rocks and into holes in the earth, From the terror of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he arises to overawe the earth. On that day men will throw to the moles and the bats the idols of silver and gold which they made for worship. (Isaiah 2:18-20)

So no, I don’t think the priest (or any parishoner) has anything at all to worry about.

I guess you could have told him that there was a bat on his back, just so that he wouldn’t get frightened and startled. Perhaps someone could have told the altar server and asked the altar server to tell the priest?

For more info an bats, and maybe to help you help your mom help the church to relocate them see this great website: Bat Conservation International batcon.org/, where you can look at a page for excluding bats from buildings, or even setting up an outdoor bat-house! (like a birdhouse for bats).

God Bless,
VC

P.S. As you can see, I like bats.:thumbsup:

I agree with Verbum Caro about bats. We have a few in my church; they can occasionally be seen flying around during Mass, but they never bother anybody. In my old church, the doors were left open when it was hot, and yellowjackets would sometimes fly in. They always ended up hanging around the Communion chalice, and to tell you the truth, I’d rather have the bats!

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[quote=CarolAnnSFO]I agree with Verbum Caro about bats.
[/quote]

As a daughter of St. Francis I would expect no less! :slight_smile: :wink:

Praise be for brother bat!

Bats are our insect-eating friends! Did anyone else get a chance to use these postage stamps when they were in circulation?

Explore Carol Maffettone

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There are Bats in the tower of our Historic Parish, here in New Orleans. I think they are some of the most beautiful animals in God’s creation! I recently purchased A “Bat house” online as soon as it arrives I am installing it in the Gable of my House.

However Bats are not the only residents of our Church, We had an invasion of Formosan termites. They caused millions of dollars in damage to the Historic fabric of our Parish, and just when we thought the problem was under control. they reappeared in the tower, So I will take Bats anyday.

I wonder if they (Formosan termites) said Grace, before they began snacking on our Church? :slight_smile:

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[quote=CarolAnnSFO]Bats are our insect-eating friends! Did anyone else get a chance to use these postage stamps when they were in circulation?

Explore Carol Maffettone

Crazy Internet Junkies Society
Carrier of the Angelic Sparkles Sprinkle Bag
[/quote]

Your friends, not mine! But, yes, I did use one of these stamps. I had to write a letter to My Life’s Most Annoying Person, and I used one of these for postage, instead of writing http://bestsmileys.com/angry1/5.gifhttp://bestsmileys.com/angry1/5.gifhttp://bestsmileys.com/angry1/5.gif
I had to get the woman in the post office to stick it on…It seriously creeped me out…

We have bats in our church, but in the attic, not the belfry. Occasionally one gets inside the church, then I usually get the job of evicting it. Unless it is in the main worship space, with a (30+ foot ceiling), I am usually able to scoop it out of the air with a long handled fising net as it flies by, then let it go outside. This has has become such a normal, if infrequent, part of my job that the rest of the parish staff calls me Batman whenever I remove one.

Occasionally a bat will fly around the inside the church during Mass. This usually happens because the bat was sleeping inside the organ pipes and got scared when the organist started playing. When this happens, there’s no use trying to catch the bat because it stays up near the ceiling. The only thing we can do is leave some windows open after the last Mass, then after the people all clear out of the church, the bat finds its own way out. The bats never bother anyone and seldom even approach any person closer than six feet or so.

At one Mass when a bat made an appearance flying around the Sanctuary ceiling, it was just at Communion time, and the Communion hymn was “On Eagles’ Wings”. Despite the solemnity of this time, most of us couldn’t help laughing a little as we sang!

Update: This morning father had a flyswater on the altar as a pre-emptive measure during the Mass. Doubtless the rubrics don’t include that but the Lord probably had a little chuckle. How reassuring to learn bats are pretty harmless and it is unlikely father received a bite without knowing it according to the bat website Verbum Caro posted. I will recommend to father the purchase of a bathouse. For my own piece of mind though I think I’ll grab the pool net before Mass on Sunday and set it next to me on the pew and maybe bring father a Tim Horton coffee can to safely remove it from the church.

By the way, my mother has identified it as leaf-nosed bat from the photos provided. The lady who picked up the dead bat a couple of weeks ago did not use gloves so we will probably have to keep a pair handy too.

There are bats living in the cellars of the Friary where I work (haven’t seen any flying in the Church yet)

Apparently the Chinese view bats as lucky as they are a symbol of longevity :slight_smile:

[quote=Rosalinda]My mother who is a daily communicant had a rather unusual experience at Mass this morning when the priest came out with a bat attached to his vestment. (This happened in an eastern rite church where the celebrant faces away from the parishioners towards the altar.) Apparently, she was too scared to approach father to warn him about it and at one point in the Mass when it started flying around just before the consecration she screamed and almost fainted. Father gesticulated furiously and shewed it away. The few other parishioners in attendance were likewise scared or indifferent to the presence of this unwelcome guest. The one gentleman in the pews was very nonchalant; when advised about the bat he replied, “Oh, is that so?” What would you have done in such a situation? Don’t you think someone should have yelled out, “Hey, father, there is a bat hanging on your back!” This is the second bat in two weeks. Last week a bat fell dead at the entrance to the church as someone opened the door. Isn’t it unusual to see bats out and about in the daytime? Should father be advised to see a doctor as he has been in direct contact with a live bat? Could this bat be rabid? After falling down with laughter listening to my poor mother I wonder if this could be more serious.
[/quote]

Well, that’s the best laugh I’ve had in a long time. :rotfl:

I wouldn’t be concerned with touching the bat. But I would be concerned with airborne bat guano. :bigyikes:

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