About another conflictual situation


#1

Hi,

In my church again, there are different customs. If one is not careful, she/he can get a culture shock. This is not a rational thing. It's hard to explain. One has to experience it to understand what it is. Now, I have a good priest who is from another country, but whose faith and values are compatible with mine. I find his lectures just great and I get spiritually uplifted after every Mass that he gives. He's that good! Now, I don't feel the need to search another priest up and have more guidance than the one I'm getting currently in my Mass. My priest is not the only priest giving the Mass. He has an assistant. The assistant decided just recently...he is new here.....to meet with me and other volunteers of the chuch. This assistant who has "tasks" in the church does not lead the Mass. The Foreign priest leads the Mass and he is his assistant. Anyhow, he decided to have all the volunteers meet once a month at a coffee shop. We would pray and talk about....who knows? That hasn't been cleared up yet. I had to ask him to invite the Foreign priest, the main priest, to these meetings. These meetings will be mainly praying I believe. In the past, the volunteers of the Mass (the other custom) didn't go out of their way to treat us Foreigners warmly. It has been hard and somewhat "brutal" at times to communicate with them. I have had to stand up for myself and for the Foreign community from time to time. Foreigners do their thing in the Mass and keep their distance when other volunteers (from another custom) mistreats them. We haven't been "spoiled" to say the least.

Question:

Now, we're invited to join this "cliquy" group of volunteers and it will be guided by this new assistant (priest). Just today, there were people in this group who were laughing at me without any respect for my feelings or customs. How should I conduct myself in a group like this where we have to meet once a month to pray together and to be guided by another priest,but the one we so much like? It's hard to pray with people who don't respect you and show no "heart". They might not know how I feel....How would you conduct yourself after a meeting in which your face makes them laugh and your feelings get hurt? How long would you endure this in a prayer group once a month? I find this to be disgusting and hypocritical, but I'm not sure how to go about doing the least possible in order to avoid humiliation.

Can you please give my your best advice? Do I sit in this prayer meeting every month to endure humiliation? Do I have to be at their mercy? Can I skip some times?

Thanks,

Templum


#2

Do not sit in this meeting every month to endure humiliation. I am sure that is not what this meeting is about. There are many times and places where it is good for us to expect to endure humiliation, but a meeting of church volunteers is not one of them. Perhaps the people who have hurt your feelings do not understand what they have done to you? Perhaps the assistant leading the meetings does not understand your feelings? Could you talk to the priest that you like and explain to him your difficulty, and ask for his help in dealing with this matter?


#3

Are these teenagers? Could you give some examples? This does not sound like the behaviour of rational adults :confused:


#4

it may be the the assistant priest sees this and is trying to bring you all together and close the rift in his parish.


#5

Hi,

I will give this some thought. I'll stay in touch. By the way, we're dealing here with people who don't read the Bible from what I know. People who go to church, dress up to serve the Mass and can't share faith with us. They're young and very much beginners in the faith development. I would say that they are in their twenties. One can see this just by how they talk with us and how they cope with us. Some have emotional outbreaks, while one of the them is calm and collected. She is the only one who goes a bit out of her way to show us fellowship, but in general this group does nothing for us personally. They do have a leader and he's okay. He can control himself. However, the group in general can't. It's SHOW when we go to this Foreign-style Mass. Our Foreign priest supports us. It's quite a challenge to go to this Mass and not feel liked by some of these people. I will try to come to a common ground where I don't have to be the subject of ridicule. Excessive giggling is common among people of the customs I'm talking about. No self-control...giggling because of nervousness, dislike...We as North-Americans are more rational in our behaviour...We have more pride and respect for the others I feel. In other customs, giggling and laughing without considering others is acceptable. It's not offensive. People who do this haven't much beliefs or people who do this, haven't any religion. You're right in saying that some don't know my feelings...It's not the motive so much as it is the outward lack of self-control that bothers me. I too deserve respect. In conclusion, I will try to find a common ground and above all, avoid being the subject of attention. Popping in from time to time might be the best solution.

Like I said, some people are friendly, but what strikes me is this. Some people in this "clique" have been serving this Mass for a long time and have seen me and others for a long time. I find this strange that by now, they can't understand us or don't know our customs or mine. They don't even make the effort! Some of my peers didn't feel this....They're lucky.

Thanks,
Templum


#6

I'm confused about exactly what's going on, but ... could it be that the reason these people are uncomfortable with you is because you are uncomfortable with them? You seem to focus an awful lot on how they have a different culture, your culture is better than theirs, etc.

I don't know, I'm in a parish that is 99% a different ethnicity from me. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable about it, but I try to just focus on Jesus and not worry about the rest. :)


#7

which priest is the pastor? he is the one who delegates people to head various ministries, and he is the one who gives direction to the associate pastor. Which volunteers are meeting? The pastor is the one who appoints or oversees the election of people to the pastoral council and financed council. there may be other groups that need to meet from time to time, but it is not clear at all from OP who is doing what to whom, with whom, in this parish.

If you are a volunteer you take direction from whomever the pastor has appointed to lead whatever activity this is. If it is in regard to liturgy, you take direction from the pastor, or from the priest who is saying Mass.

None of this has anything to do with whether or not you see eye to eye with either priest. It has everything to do with whether or not the priest teaches and acts as the Church directs.

first you say it is a meeting of volunteers, then you say it is a prayer meeting. Which is it? What is the purpose? What do you mean by a "foreign Mass?" There is only one Mass no matter which approved rite or which approved language is used. Just because the way in which one priest celebrates Mass is not familiar to you does not make it wrong. I seriously doubt you have any means of knowing or judging the spiritual condition of other parishioners, how and when they pray or read the bible, and how educated they are in their faith.

No way to give any advice since the situation described in OP is too muddled. If people engaged in ministry in your parish are discriminating against other parishioners because of race, nationality or ethnicity, it is time for the pastor to put a stop to such shenanigans, and hopefully this is the goal of the priests in this matter.


#8

I would take up this issue with the priest that you like. Bring it up respectfully and gently. Tell him how these people hurt your feelings by their lack of self-control. Ask him to do something to gently correct these people.

That said, I will pray for you and them.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. :crossrc:


#9

Hi,

I've read your answers and thanks. I'm sorry that I can't give you all the details for now. However, I do get a general picture of what you all said. I'll see what works for me and if needed, I'll get back to you. For now, your answers are great.

Thanks,

Again, sorry if my problem lacks details, but I have now a sufficient amount of ideas to overcome my next "trial".

Templum


#10

Hi,

I decided to write to you who wrote to me and to let you know that I have spoken about this with the priest who I know well and it felt good to do so. There are different ways of handling church conflict as you know. One way is to talk with the priest like you mentioned and it worked. I also decided to read passages in the Corinthians in the Bible, passages that talk about the parts of the church. The Bible clearly shows that people come in church with different spiritual needs. Some parts seem weaker than others. Some parts are not as beautiful as others etc. God put it this way for a reason. Without judging others' spiritual condition which I'm not qualified to do and which I'm not trying to do, I can see, by the way people treat each other, that some parts are different than others in this body which is the church. Even wiithout a Bible, one can see that. The Bible helps me cope with difference. That said, I decided to focus on God as much as I can and to find my strenghts in difficult situations...with the thought that God put us all here in this parish for a reason. My priest, the one who I know well, has helped me cope with this and things are better now. The assistant priest, the one who wants to meet us on a monthly basis, is indeed trying to build fellowship which is great for all of us. By the way, there are different priests in our parish. I'm in a very big church. However, we do have one main priest while the others are assisting him in his Mass in some way. It's a good thing that churches have and always had priests as leaders. Conflicts wouldn't get all resolved without them.

Getting ideas from you helped me too, once again. I will stay in touch.

Templum


#11

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