I was raised Catholic and have been one my whole life, on and off. I lived in a state with a large Catholic population and when I moved 15 years ago, it was to the Bible Belt where there are few Catholics and one church. I didn’t even go to church for two years because I didn’t know where it was. I didn’t try that hard to find it either. Where I lived before, I had four churches within driving distance to choose from.
At any rate, it has not been a good experience from the start. I never felt welcomed. No one even spoke to me for a year. I went to Confession of course. The priest was okay. Kind of moody.
The services were alien to me. They go on and on for over an hours. At the end, before the final blessing, the priest asks if there are any visitors, birthdays or anniversaries. We have to applaud for each one. There are other strange (to me) customs like this. There are only a few people doing anything and they run everything. The same family takes up the gifts every week at the service I go to. This is another custom. The Mass is being said for one of their family. I think they bought a year’s worth.
We recently got a new priest. I really like him. He seems very upbeat and spiritual. A few people actually talk to me now if they can’t find someone else close by and escape. I am not exagerating any of this.
I had gone to Confession with the new priest. I need to go often, I feel. He encouraged me to in fact. The problem is he said he would be there at 3 pm every Saturday but the next time I went he wasn’t there until 3:25. He says the rosary at 3:30 before Mass. This is another custom but it seems normal at least. I should mention we’re in the church hall because our church is undergoing an addition. So Confession is in the kitchen and people lurk outside. I’ve seen them do it and ask who’s in there. I asked Father if I could go to Confession. I rushed through it like a maniac so he could say the rosary because everyone made it clear they weren’t happy I was upsetting the schedule. Well, if he’s not there at 3 pm, I can’t go then, can I? I haven’t gone since. He doesn’t do appointments either. I forgot half of what I wanted to say too.
Today was the final straw. Before the final blessing, he told all the mothers to stand up. Any kind of mother so no women were left out. I am not a mother but I stood up. He walked around sprinkling holy water and when he got to me, he deliberately skipped me. I don’t think he knows if I’m a mother or not. He hasn’t been there that long and there were other women who weren’t mothers who got blessed.
I don’t even know what that’s about.
My question is if I leave this church will I be in grave sin. There are a lot of Protestant churches that are very Christian in attitude. I need spiritual guidance and there is no way I’m ever going to get it at this church. Not to mention, going to Mass is now something I dread and don’t look forward to any more.
There is no point in talking to anyone there about this. Trust me on that. I will always be a Catholic in my heart but I need a real church to go to. I wish I was a good enough Christian to not let any of this bother me but I’m not. It’s making me miserable and conflicted as to what to do. I get nothing out of the Mass anymore. I don’t even know why I’m there.