My return to the Catholic Church has not been a great experience. Granted, I was gone several years and I had lived where there were many churches to choose from.
But now I’m in a small southern town. Catholics are a minority and there is one parish with two churches.
First, there was the difference in the Mass. People waving their arms during the Lord’s Prayer and looking like they were being transported to heaven. Refusing to adopt the new liturgy. You’ve got half saying “And with your spirit” and half saying “and also with your spirit.”
The congregation is very cliquey. I admit I’m different. But it is a Christian church and I expect it to be a little more accepting. You can’t say hello to someone once a week? If they see me in the store, they avoid me so they don’t have to acknowledge me. Not all but most.
There is a young woman with obvious mental issues. I was the only person who talked to her willingly. I found her interesting. She sees St. Francis. He talks to her. I told her he was one of my favorite saint and she gave me a St. Francis medal which I wear everyday. Other people do talk to her when she forces herself on them but only because they have to.
So now, the priest who I have known for years here is leaving. I have never known what to do during reconciliation. Is it a big secret? Every time I go, it’s different. I have to read the Act of Contrition although I’m not stupid so I imagine I could Google it and memorize it.
He was never really a user friendly priest but I did get to like him. When I found out he was leaving, I asked if I could set up an appt for reconciliation before he went because he knows my whole long sordid past which I always have to explain to a new priest. Not because I don’t think I’ve been forgiven but because it’s essential information to my present day sins. When I asked him, he made a face. I emailed him and said I could meet at his convenience. He never replied. This was how I normally set up the appointments.
So I decided to risk not dying in the near future and wait for the new priest. And then wait a couple weeks more because I have to go through the whole long history thing and even though I do it fast, it’s still time consuming. And he’s going to have a lot on his plate at first.
Our present pastor left Monday. This weekend we have a visiting priest. Where is the new pastor? All I know is his name. I’ve never seen him.
What if I get sick? Who comes to the hospital? I’m not even thinking about getting into a car accident and dying because I need to go to confession.
Is it this way everywhere? The parish I belonged to before was large. I had my pick of churches and Masses there. If I couldn’t make it to my parish for some reason, I could find a Mass to go to. Now, it’s go to one of three Masses or don’t go at all.
I know I sound like I’m whining. But I sit through this long service where they sing every single thing that can be sung and I just zone out. And the congregation does not sing. It’s just the cantor and maybe two other people. I feel like I’m not even there. Six verses later, I’m trying to concentrate and then the lady with dementia stands up for the tenth time and tries to leave and I start wondering if she’s more in touch than me.
I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school for several years. I really feel like I’m not even Catholic any more. I’m certainly not a power of example for anyone.
The only thing I can think of to do is to email this one lady who is some kind of spiritual advisor. She’s one of the ones who looks at me like I’m strange. I am strange. But I figure she will meet with me and maybe if I tell her my whole history she will be more understanding and can advise me on what to do.
I am curious as to what people think. Am I just being some kind of drama queen here? And yes, I know this post is tl;dr (too long, didn’t read:)