No one in difficult person's communion line?


I went to Mass last night (I normally go in the morning) and noticed one of the parish staffers was an EMHC. This individual has been very difficult in dealing with others for years, and I for one just do my best to avoid her while on campus.

During communion I noticed how many people were “crossing over” to the other EMHC’s line. It was remarkable to watch. Once she had finished distributing communion, there were still a good 30-40 in the line adjacent to her (normally they just sorta automatically equalize themselves.)

Crossing over to avoid a difficult personality in that context is clearly not the right thing to do, but is it really prudent to allow someone who treats others poorly to become an EMHC in the first place?

Last night was a very visible, rather painful illustration of the effects of engaging in parish politics. Has anyone else every seen anything like this?


Did she just stand there while the other person continued to give Communion? If so and no one got back into her line then she MUST have gotten the message.


She waited. When it was quite clear (at least to me) that people were avoiding her, she finally gave up her ciborium. It was ugly. I don’t like to see such things at Mass, hence my question if it’s prudent to schedule a person like her to be an EMHC?


So sad that people would place petty differences before the most holiest of moments associated with the Mass.
The reception of the Eucharist is paramount not the person presenting it.


I would say it is not prudent but I also see the preist thinking it isn’t worth the fight.

Why shouldn’t one cross over? If dealing with that person is frustrating it is likely those feelings will be a distraction from receiving. I think it would be better to cross over than receive while mentally growling at the person.


I agree. Not dealing with difficult people in a parish can have some really terrible consequences though.

Ideally people would have control over such emotions in that setting. I agree though, if one is aided in their prep to receive communion by quietly crossing over, there’s nothing ultimately wrong with doing so.


I’m not sure they are all that “petty.” That said, I have come to agree with @KathleenT If one can better prepare themselves to receive the Blessed Sacrament simply by crossing over communion lines, it would be folly not to do so.


How is she difficult?


Point taken. You are obviously closer to the situation than I. Hopefully you understood what I was trying to say.


I think you are right. There seems to be some kind of failure of charity. Of course, “love your enemies” is one of Jesus’ difficult teachings, and so it is understandable.


I’m sorry if this sounds bad but your parish sounds horrible. The way you describe it is just always negative and everyone is “difficult” and no one is well-liked. All the priests are “bad leaders”.

If you want people to think the absolute worst about your parish, you’re doing a very good job with these posts.


That’s very sad. I would have hoped that at least a few people would have shown some charity and crossed over TO her line.


I went to receive the Eucharist in the line where the lady distributing It had some months back publicly ejected me from a Bible study group she was conducting. Apparently I had transgressed an unexpressed rule that this lady was ‘the sage on the stage’ and that she didn’t want anybody there who knew more than she did.

I had observed to myself that with only 4 people in the room, including this woman, that there ought not and surely wouldn’t be rigid formalities about discussion. I was wrong. In Protestant Bible studies I had been in, people are encouraged to join in the discussion. But, I have observed in Catholic parish-level study groups, in my town, anyway, that the Bible study leaders are rigidly hierarchical, and all you do is sit there and take notes, if you so choose.

I sent an email to the pastor outlining the incident, pointing out the irony that our parish mission statement says “all are welcome.” Well, I wasn’t welcome. AND, I had spent $65 to get the recommended study bible for the course.

The pastor offered no consolation, no excuse, no apology, no refund (for sure), etc.

I moved to a different parish for this and other reasons. In my reading of Jewish resources, the most educated scholars humbly lay back and draw no attention to themselves – in a lot of cases.

BUT, I say to myself, how can we evangelize if we don’t practice doing it among ourselves? Sometimes I don’t know if I know anything unless I try to explain it or relate it to somebody else. There is not an openness that would be most desirable certainly at the parish level.


She’s just a rude, power-trippy person in general. She is the coordinator of a number of what I would call critical/delicate ministries. One of them for example is teen confirmation. She communicates very poorly with both the parents and the teens and it causes problems – in some cases serious problems.


It is a difficult parish. If there was a better one locally (there is only one other), I would change.

My wife and I attended Mass Saturday night at a parish that’s about 110 miles away. The visible, Mass-related problems at my parish seem to be non-existent at that parish. I’ve met the pastor more than once and at least with regard to the Mass, he seems very “hands-on.”


That’s very fascinating to me. I led a Scripture study at my parish for 6 years. The group was great and the pastor was supportive. There were problem people (including the person this thread is about) outside of the group that were VERY critical of the group, but that did not deter us.

Why did she publicly eject you, and how did she do it? I think I would just have quietly/nicely refused to leave.

I don’t know what to say. That’s horrible. You would have at least received an apology and $65.00 from my pastor. Sadly, nothing else may have been done.

Indeed. They are there to facilitate, to keep things moving along and to encourage.

I agree 100%


I don’t know about your parish, but I think in a lot of places people aren’t jumping at the chance to volunteer for positions in the parish. Maybe if there were more people volunteering to be EMHCs she wouldn’t have to do it so often, or at all. Maybe having her serve is not a matter of prudence, but of necessity.


That’s really a fascinating point. 20 years ago there were long waiting lists for every liturgical ministry. It was a closed guild except for the musicians! To his credit past pastor did change things and he did remove some ineffective people along the way.

The result however that the existing old timers treated the new people like scabs unless they were very subservient to the old timers. That resulted in a great many people coming and going, with only difficult people sticking around.

Now however you’re right. Word gets out, people get ground down and after awhile it’s difficult to fill all the slots. That’s where my parish is today at some Masses. Not this one though. People like this woman would SAVAGELY protect their liturgical turf should a pastor direct them to step down.


Me too. Must be the Irish in me. :smile:

“It was a closed guild except for the musicians! It was a very inbred group”.

Rolls on the floor laughing!!!


Taking your complaints at face value, does everyone in your parish really know about all of this and is really offended? Any number of people might know the woman by sight, and even know her position, but if they don’t have teenagers in their home, are seasoned citizens or people with only young children, why would they know all these details to be that offended that they wouldn’t enter her communion line?

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