I think the thing that got to me the most was being told that I wasn't a good Catholic because I wasn't at Mass all that much.
Mind you, despite explaining things, the priest didn't take things seriously....
On top of theology studies, I am also my mum's solo carer. She is quite ill with both a physical problem, a brain injury and mental health issues. In 2009 she had 6 strokes, small ones. So there have been many times where she has been simply not stable enough to leave to go to Mass. And yes there have been times where I am simply too tired due to making 3 night checks on her to then turn around and get up at 5:15 am to be ready to leave at 6:15 am to walk the 30 mins to the church to be there for 7am Mass.
Yes, there are other Mass times but they conflict with her care times. Yes, it was suggested that they come here but taking into account how uncomfortable that would make her [her arthritis is the deforming kind and she is very sensitive due to staring people and no she doesn't go out much any more] and her low opinion of the faith [no she isn't Catholic see below] and after talking it over with her doctor that was deemed not in her interest to have parish members to our home.
Why is my mum's opinion so low...well, I asked for a lift to Mass and never got a response. Mind you by car I am no more than 5 mins away...on foot its 30 mins up a steep hill. Having had an ankle reconstructed and 2 other operations in late 2008 to mid 2009 a lift would have been nice. Some indirect help would have nice like a lift to Mass while I was crutches. Its not like the fact I was having the op wasn't known. A member of the prayer group sure knew but didn't say a word to anyone that counted.
Also the last time I tried to come back it took 7 weeks to get a confession appointment....2 weeks no response, appointment made and then forgotten by assist parish priest, 2 more weeks reminder call made, then another week till I finally got an appointment with the senior priest who then said I wasn't a good catholic....because I care for my mum...and therefore I am not there every Sunday.
I asked to have a Koine Greek exam for my degree supervised by the parish priest but due to illness I withdrew from the subject and sent the priest a letter explaining that I was ill and wouldn't be sitting the exam and never got a response. All that has left my mum with a bad opinion of the church due to the actions of some of the people. So in order not to make her opinion lower I keep a lid on a lot of my personal practices.
Respite care is very expensive and its something I am saving for as I'd like to make a retreat with the religious order I feel that I am called to, once my caring duties are complete. [Tyburn nuns, who have stood by me since I joined the faith and even though they didn't totally know that I fell away, I suspect Rev Mother knew how deep I was struggling. They rock hugely.]
Spiritual direction....starting in early Feb. I found a great religious sister do to that.
I recite Vigils, lauds, vespers and compline most days through a Benedictine LOTH book.
Mass, no I haven't been yet.
And books on the faith...well I went to the local Catholic bookshop yesterday and admitted to them, that I am kinda lapsed and asked for what they felt would be helpful and came home with some titles.
So yes, I am trying to do, what I can under somewhat different circumstances.