So I am part of an awesome parish that I feel very much a part of… a wonderful community. I was able to take part as soon as I entered the Church as a lector and then Eucharist Minister and have been an active parish member since 2006.
This summer, my husband and I bought a house and spent much of our time getting the house situated.
Then it happened… I started missing Mass. First it was oversleeping, then it was because of a stomach bug. Its finally gotten to the point where I am afraid to go back. It has been almost a month and a half since I’ve gone to my church or Mass because I am afraid of what people will say. I let them down in terms of the lectoring and ministering schedule and now I am too nervous to go back.
What do I do? I miss my parish but now I’m thinking I should start over at a new parish?
you go to confession if you have to, return to Mass and the sacraments. Simply speak to the Mass coordinator, apologize for not calling or serving, and say you have been sick, no need to give details, they don’t need to know some of your sickness was physical and some spiritual, you will be telling all the truth they need to know. Nobody will look down on someone who has been away from Mass and is now coming home, if they do, their problems run deeper than yours.
Why do you feel that you can’t be yourself, failures and all, and must start over to avoid the shame? You don’t have to be perfect.
I would advise you to definitely not ‘start over’ at a new parish. You should go back. It will help you to grow emotionally to face your perceived failures, and you will probably see that you are more self-conscious than others are judgemental.
The point isn’t to ‘have a blast in life’. We can have a wonderful time in life, be rich and have many treasures, and be the most joyous people on earth, but if we ignore God and focus on only these things, we can also earn for ourselves an eternity of torment.
Sometimes the devil temps us by getting us to commit to schedules and prayer life that we will not be able to maintain. Then he can point out to us how big a failure we are.
If we promise to God to say a rosary or even one hail mary and fail to do so it is not a sin. If God appeared to us and demanded a decade of the rosary and we promised and failed to do so it is not a sin. Missing mass is a sin. It is not necesary to become so involved in our parish life we are not comfortable. We contribute to our parish community first and foremost by attending mass and receiving Holy Communion in a state of grace. After that by our prayers sacrifices and financial support of the community. Extra ministry is not essential to being a very holy catholic person.
Return to confession and your parish and be happy that God has brought you to an oasis in the desert of life.
Go easy on yourself. Call the Mass coordinator at your parish, apologize for being out of touch, and leave it at that. If they get sniffy, it’s not your fault you were sick!
Definitely go back and “face the music”! It’ll be worth it.
Thanks everyone for the wonderful and helpful advice.
Went to a local shrine for confession and Mass since my parish doesn’t other either until the weekend. The priest who heard my confession suggested I start over at a new parish so I’m even more confused. I’m honestly think I’ll try to reach out the the volunteer coordinator, see how it goes, and if its still uncomfortable I might try Mass at a different church just to see how it would be.
I also think I’ll pray over it and see what comes as well.
I do think you should reach out to them. They might be worried about you. Have they tried to call? I am surprised the priest advised you to go to a new parish. Maybe he advised that because he would have been just as ashamed as you feel. Most priests are very conscientious and hold themselves to very high standards, but they don’t always know how to give the best emotional advice.
Did you simply not show up one day when you were scheduled to lector or be a minister, and so someone was actually counting on you and you weren’t there and there was nobody to do it? Like not showing up for work? Or is this just nobody has seen you because you’ve missed Mass so much?
It sort of makes a difference in my mind, because I might be more inclined to think you may have really damaged relationships if they were expecting you and calling you franctically, rather than you just haven’t been around. You know what I mean?
No, the way it works is you are scheduled once or twice a month… And since I’ve been out of the loop for so long, I don’t even know when/what I have missed. No one has tried to contact me, but at the same time I haven’t even either. I think that 's why I feel so bad. I really let the ball drop on this one…
I also thought it was strange when the priest suggested I go to another parish. I explained it the same way I did on here (and a little more detail) and he told me that nowadays Catholics are more free to change parishes instead of staying in their regional parish and that what he would suggest I do so I could have a fresh start.
Hmm. Well, the priest absolved you spiritually and that’s what is really important in going to Confession. The advice you can take or leave. Sometimes priests give advice without thinking or plugging in to the real problem.
I’d leave it and just go back. People are probably thinking, “Gee, where in the world is Elizabeth Anne,” but they probably are expecting some sort of explanation. I tend to agree with Puzzleannie that it would be ok to just explain you’ve been sick, and let it blow over. I really do think it is more healthy to go back, and take it as a lesson to not let perfectionism drive you to procrastinate and avoid things.
I actually understand how you ended up doing this, because I had the same sorts of problems when I was younger. I was so conscientious and ambitious that if I felt like I’d disappointed someone or let something get out of my control I would be terrified to face it and procrastinate. It was basically an anxiety problem. I have struggled my whole life with anxiety. It’s an easy problem to fix when you can find someone to support you to face the problems. So, I am supporting you! You can do it.
Went back today… little awkward at times and not everyone was happy to see me but its a step in the right direction. It was wonderful to be back at my home parish and so glad and thankful for all of the advice from the post.:blessyou:
That’s good news. Don’t worry about the people who weren’t happy to see you. You are not there for them. The Church isn’t a social club, it’s a place where imperfect people have a spiritual home to both contribute and to find strength and healing for themselves. Things will get better, and you belong there as much as they do. I can guarantee you that they are not without their own struggles, but there are some people who would not admit it. The strongest people are the ones who can face their own mistakes, so that makes you very strong.
Just take it as a lesson to only commit to those things that you can do, and not to become overwhelmed and let yourself fall out of the habit of going to Mass, and I think you’ll be fine.