Parish Life

I got a proposal of marriage on Monday. I’ve known the proposer for some forty years and he managed to track me down a few months ago. I fear I am far to old to get hitched and the animals might not be accepted, but it cheered me up no end. My spiritual life has been rather upended by trouble with the Catholic priest in my parish and things have come to such a state, that I can no longer worship there and must now wander round the other local churches in order to fulfil my Sunday duty to hear Mass. The problem started not with me but with two very devout parishioners, who were the mainstay of the church. One played an instrument every Sunday and the other looked after the financial affairs of collecting our dues. The couple were embroiled in a huge row in the church when the priest’s housekeeper found the need to challenge them. I was not there but the story, much repeated indicated that it was a one sided spat and after that, the couple were so upset, they never returned to the church despite much pleading and cajoling from parish members. After that incident, things began to change and not to the liking of many parishioners. Coffee morning after Mass was cancelled without any warning and the organiser learnt of this matter when she read the Parish News letter. Then, the monthly draw was terminated and as I had only just paid my dues, I was rather miffed with this sudden closure of a fund raising scheme. Then the Guided Prayer Group was no longer allowed meet in the Parish room although the nun who worked for St Beuno’s Outreach had been allowed to preach her mission from the pulpit months earlier. Feeling the need for a little spiritual guidance I had signed up for the course and then after the instruction, the parish took over for regular monthly meetings. It seemed odd that the priest should refuse a prayer meeting to take place on consecrated ground and I emailed him and asked for some explanation. ‘I am the priest in charge’ came the blunt response.

 

We just shrugged off this odd decision and re-grouped elsewhere but things began to worsen when all the parishioners who helped in the readings and giving out the communion and taking charge of the children during Mass began to receive letters from the priest, taking their ministries away! Any protest was overridden by the priest who insisted that there was a need for fresh faces to have a say in running the parish. Other worshippers began to drift away once relieved of their ministries. No Christmas Tree was allowed although a year or so ago, we took much delight in decorating it and I even bequeathed a box of shiny Christmas decorations to sparkle and spin on the tree by the altar.

 

Then the parishioner who had served at the alter for probably 30 years even during Christmas and Easter got the dreaded letter dismissing him from altar duty. It had been noted that he had not been asked to instruct the new crop of children who had volunteered for altar duty but no one thought about it. His wife, blessed with a magnificent voice, who led the singing and could be heard soaring with the descant part, high above the rest of us, had her Eucharistic ministry taken from her without explanation and although they refuse to shuffle off elsewhere to worship, this seeming highhandedness by the priest has left its mark. And then, if it was considered impossible that any other pernicious action could be taken, it is suggested that the priest indicated to a particularly devout parishioner that she was not worthy of receiving communion. It seems that the facts are absolutely true but even so, such events surely beggar belief! Although I held no ministerial position and have not received a cool letter, (for a while at least), the reason why I left is too sensitive to mention until the matter has been resolved, (hopefully) by the Bishop. It’s not easy making a complaint against a Man of God but surely we are all equal in the eyes of our Maker and if things are not brought to a head, then there will be hardly any one left prepared to attend Mass in my Parish.

 

I have agonised long and hard about saying nothing and just going elsewhere to fulfil Catholic duties but I cannot believe that the priest can be happy with the situation and if he is, then, something needs to be done. What would any one else do? ‘Put up and shut up’ or seek some resolution’? I would dearly love to know.

One Comment

  1. Web Management says:

    I do NOT think keeping quiet about unjust situations is productive. Properly handled complaints against any individual or company should result in a happier situation for all concerned. The onus should not be on the complainer to ensure this procedure is handled correctly but on those who have the responsibilities commensurate with their position.

    Hopefully the Bishop will attend dutifully to the concerns of a follower of his faith.

    xx

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