Friday, February 20, 2009

A Question, a rant, and just plain waiting..and it's almost Lent

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' 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 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?


Adrienne said...

I have never experienced such a thing. but I haven't been in every parish, either.

It sounds sort of dumb IMHO. As to how I would deal with this? Glad you asked.

I apply my Serenity Prayer "three things to do". Accept it, Change it, or just Remove myself from it (whatever "it" may be). When I realized certain things were not going to change in my parish, I chose to remove myself from the eight thousand and one things I did there.

I could see no point in "pi_ing into the wind" and it wasn't worth the agitation.

In most parishes there is always going to be the "in group", those that stick together and pride themselves on all they do.

One thing you didn't mention was how the families were chosen for this award. Perhaps you could see to it that some different and worthy families were recognized.

Soul Pockets said...

I can see where you are coming from and why you are feeling this way. My parish does not give out awards to certain families, and I am happy about that. :)

A better idea I think would be for someone to make a speech at the dance congratulating all families for contributing to the parish, not single specific ones out, and leave others out.

I am guessing that the families who win these awards don't know they are going to win, so I don't see how any blame can be passed on to them.

It can be very hard when your not apart of the "in" crowd, Jesus wasn't either. It is too bad that a parish would even take part in the so called cliques that seem to form.

God bless you

deanna said...

We do not give awards. In the past we have had spotlights on parishioners in the bulletin thanking them for particiaption in ministry. Some people liked it, others not so much. At our annual appreciation dinner, we thank everyone, no special awards.

Christine said...

Our parish has a volunteer thank you dinner. I must be honest, I do not do a whole lot for my parish. I have offered, but we definitely have the "chosen few" that do everything and are a part of everything, and that sometimes means there is no room for someone "new." I have attended this parish as a registered parishioner since 1986 or 1987. I am still an outsider in many ways. I think that all large groups of people are prone to this "clique" mentality. It is sad when it is less about stewardship and more about recognition.

Colleen said...

I am sorry that you are not feeling at home or appreciated in your own parish.
We have a volunteer appreciation dinner every year to thank everyone.

Marie said...

The worst thing that can happen to a Parish is to fall into the 'cult of personality' where the parishioners 'worship' the Priest and NOT God.

When the then new Priest came to my former Parish he made it known he did not approve of the Rosary(it was a supersticion)the same for Scapulars and may parishioners stopped praying the Rosary and took off their Scapulars. This Priest also did not believe that Jesus was truly present in the Tabernacle and so many stopped genuflecting to the Tabernacle...I could go on..but to follow a Priest so one can be part of the 'it crowd' is dangerous to the soul.

This is the Priest who I confronted on many occasions for his outlandish not to say heretical beliefs including wanting to substitute an 'our mother' instead of the 'Our Father' for this I reported him to the Archbishop and told him I would do so from the beginning.

I became a pariah because I followed Rome and thank God for that.

But, it can be painful but always one has to stand up for our Faith:) rather than be 'popular'.

Peace and love to you Ebeth:)

Marie xoxooxox