Feeling Awkward around Priests

I returned to the Church several months ago after being away for 25 years. I was never comfortable around the priests and nuns when I was a teenager - I think I was a little scared of them. But now, as a confident, mature adult I’m surprised to find myself still feeling ill at ease around the priests at my church.
My first confession there was so embarrassing, I hid behind the screen. Next time wasn’t as bad.
But, now, after mass, when I leave the church and the priest is greeting people I feel so awkward, I don’t know what to say to him. Maybe because I’m still embarrassed by the sins I confessed? :o Everyone else seems so friendly and familiar with the priest and I’m just not sure what to say to him.

Don’t be embarrassed because priests are just people and human beings like the rest of us.

Yeah, most priests aren’t your “holier than thou” types anyways. My parish priest for example is one of the funniest, wittiest guys you’ll ever meet. He’s a typical Irishmen through and through and we all love him.

Try not to be embarrassed by the sins you’ve forgiven. Chances are the priest doesn’t even remember what sins you confessed–all they care about is the fact you willingly went to confession.


I think I also committed a faux pas by not introducing myself to the priest when I first joined the church. Every time I walk out of mass I think I should say something but I don’t. Am I being rude? In the Protestant church I used to attend everyone would compliment the minister on his sermon (if they liked it) - do people do that with a priest’s homily? Or are they probably just saying “Good morning, Father”? I am never close enough to hear what anyone is saying.
I am so rusty at being a Catholic. :frowning:

We have a very popular priest; and the reception line (for lack of a better term) gets long and slow as people want time with this priest. If I manage to get to shake his hand, which isn’t often; I simply say ‘Thank you, Father’.

Go easy on yourself! You’ll catch up with him in due course.
Ask your Angel to guide you to say ‘hello’ at the appropriate moment, but don’t worry yourself about it. I’m sure you’ll find a moment to introduce yourself sometime, even just as a simple matter of courtesy. The priest is human, somebody’s son, somebody’s brother, somebody’s uncle…

Welcome back! And regarding Confession…he’s probably heard most sins many times over, and even if he knew who you are, he’d be delighted you’d come to Confession, and to God, to the Church, not thinking less of you, but in fact more.
I hope you are able to settle down comfortably soon. :slight_smile:

I can commiserate, I always feel hopelessly awkward around my priest - even though he is exceedingly friendly. I chalk it up to being nervous to say the wrong thing, which is strange considering all the information I give him during confession… maybe it’s because he knows all the bad little things I do :wink:

Priests are just men. Most are highly educated. Some seem stern and serious but there are some priests out there who, when appropriate, can be a lot of fun - even entertaining. Check these “characters” out: Fr. Leo Patalinghug and Fr. Stan Fortuna. I have seen both of these men in action.

I recently had the opportunity to meet the newly assigned Dominican pastor of a parish. I had Googled him and found him to be highly educated and to have an impressive resume. I was prepared to be intimidated until I was face to face with him and realized his habit was covered with coffee stains! All of a sudden, he was just another human who doesn’t always pour the coffee perfectly. And he was just as nice and friendly as could be.


And don’t get me wrong, this priest is very friendly, easy-going, not stern at all. The problem is me, not him! I will try harder to relax, if that’s even possible, lol.
I am slightly envious when I see how jolly everyone else is chatting with the priest & wish I could feel that comfortable.
Perhaps it will just take time.
Thank you to all who responded so kindly.

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