Today, I was approached by two of our oldest ladies in church. They are 93 and 97 years old, and regulars at laudes (morning prayer), Monday soup, Sunday Mass and just about everything else that their frail legs can carry them to. They called me over to their table, and asked me with concern: "How are you holding up with all of these men around you?", meaning my male clergy colleagues. I have, for the last four years, worked almost exclusively with male clergy. I said in a light tone that I was fine, and weren't we all grateful that there at least is one priest without a beard in the parish? They chuckled, but would not let me off that easily. So I had to explain to them that it really is not a problem, that I on a regular basis work much more with only women, as the rest of the children's ministry team is made up of (surprise!) women. This they understood, and let me go with assurances of how glad they were that I am in their church.
I am telling the truth, you see.
It bothers me way less that my clergy colleagues happen to be of the male persuasion, than that the kid team is exclusively female. It's common, this. I am pretty convinced that most of you recognize this, however tiny or large your congregations may be. Because (sarcasm alert!) women are sooo much more suited for working with children.