The parish we attend, I don't claim as "my" parish. As a cradle Catholic, this is the first time I've felt this way about a parish, it's not how most talk about the parish they attend, but I can't.....it just isn't where I experience comfort and encouragement. It is probably one of the saddest part of moving away from family, not having a parish to cling to. Yes, I have friends here, yes I attend events here, but I'm not engaged. Last year, we had a family crisis, my knight's beloved father died days away and my knight was a wreck, in the past 15 years of marriage (then) I had never seen him so broken-hearted, stressed, and sad due to all the things that were going on around his father's death. I worried, prayed, and reached out to all my blogging friends to pray for him. Was my first reaction to run to my parish priest for solice? No, I knew better, there are those that seek and receive consolation there, but not my family. Anyway, I have been told that things will change, that it's not forever, I'll wait.
One thing that happens every year is this "Upon this Rock" award that is awarded to several parishoners at the St. Patrick's Day dance. A ceremonious procedure that stops the party for the big speech about each recipient....how wonder they are, how beautiful their family is, how dutiful they work, how present they are for the Lord, good families, good people, good this and that. It seems that it is nearly the same group of people every year, we stopped attending this dance, (even though my husband loves going to it) because it rubs me the wrong way. Finally, after several years of attending and hearing how wonderful and beautiful these people and their families are, I began to look at my own family and think, "I have a good and beautiful family." In fact, I know lots of beautiful and good families in the parish every year that are never recognized. But year and year, they are still there, plugging away at life, being faithful people, raising good families. My husband (my knight-in-shinning armour) attends Mass with the kids and I nearly every Sunday as a Non-Catholic, for a few years now he has faithfully served the parish as a handbell choir member and a 10:30 Mass usher. He's played on the parish men's softball team, he attends the men of faith group study when he can. Our eldest daughter is the violinist for Mass each Sunday and whenever the music minister needs her, I have been studying for the past 4 years to be a Master Catechist and finally finished all my requirements a few weeks ago, (at last count in our deanery, there are only 3 others who are Master Catechist, not very impressive), I also serve along side my non-Catholic knight as an usher for Mass. Do we do these things to receive an award? Do we think an award would make us want to do more? My knight, alone deserves recognition, a pat on the back, and encouragement from the parish priest for all he does for his family and the parish. It won't happen, in fact, he could be a conversion in the hidden. I could use a little help on this, but in vain. The "Upon this Rock" award, is not appropriate to receive much less even strive for, really. Those who receive it should be ashamed of themselves, in my opinion. They should be concentrating on Christ, not serving the pastor. They have missed the point of a parish.
Do other parishes have awards for their "favorite" parishoners? In all my life and all the parishes that I have belonged to I have never witness such a thing as an award ceremony for parishoners. To me, it's just plain dumb and hurtful.
Do other parishes do this?