Single parent families not included?


I’m a convert of about three years, divorced with two children who attend catholic school. Is it typical in the Catholic Church for parish pastors and leaders to not really be inclusive of single-parent families? I’ve noticed we aren’t getting certain email notices and not getting added to events because I don’t have a husband around. And yes I’m active in the church.

It would be helpful to get the perspective of a pastor but I didn’t know where to put this message so one would see it. Thank you all in advance.


Have you talked to your Priest about it and/or whoever is running the school program?


Call the office. This is most likely human error.


Yes. Never, ever underestimate how much this can be a factor. It’s not exclusive to churches, but it can hit closer to home when we experience it there.


Yes I responded to email and I was told in that email that the message went to the right people, meaning for some reason I wouldn’t get it. It was something he wanted people to get out before making an announcement to all the church, so I found it puzzling that I got that answer. Which is why I’m on this forum asking about single-parents. It’s not a one-off.


I understand that. If it’s the bulletins, or general email, I get those. In this example I’m talking about special events, announcements that clearly say he wanted people to know before the announcements made at the end of Mass. It’s summer and some could have been out of town, so easily I could be missing messages. It sounds to me that you all haven’t noticed this in the Catholic Church, right?


Am I understanding the situation correctly?

You thought you were supposed to receive an email regarding something at the parish. You didn’t get it, so you asked the priest (via email) and he replied saying it went out “to the right people.” Do you think he was making a statement that you were excluded on purpose?

I have not interacted with him, of course, so if you get weird vibes then there could well be something to it, but to me I hear, “well it went out,” and that he may not have understood that you’re not on the right email list. (Is he the one sending the emails?)

I frequently think these issues are best resolved in person. Any time I need something I just go to the parish office, because otherwise I endlessly play phone tag or get told different things by different people. I’m very active in our parish too and only a couple people are really tech savvy. The rest try but mistakes happen a lot, especially with volunteers coordinating various ministries.


Thank you for responding. Yes you’re correct, I understood it as I was to be excluded, which also means others were excluded.

I get going to the office and I may consider that next time, but this message came directly from him. And their office hours are not convenient. I also don’t want to belabor the matter when there are bigger issues. I’m just not sure how to approach it next time and thought I’d ask the forum, and hoping a priest could shed some light as well.


That’s odd. I would bring it up to the pastor and the people sending the emails. Because, in my experience, families come in all shapes and sizes and I’ve never seen any sort of overt attempt to exclude single parent families.

It would actually be more helpful to get the perspective of YOUR pastor who is the only one who can answer your question definitively and can also do something to correct whatever is going on.


More and more parishes use email blast apps, the email comes out under the Pastor’s email however administration of the list is done by an admin person.

“Father Smith, Forgive me if I am jumping to conclusions, however, it seems that the invitation for the August Book Club was not emailed to me. Is there a reason I am not invited to the book club or was this simply an oversight?”


I think you need to TALK to the pastor. Not assume.

There are just too many ways to interpret the situation and anything we do here is speculation.

It could have some sort of leader group that he sends things to ahead of time, to get feedback, to spread the word organically, to support the big email blast when he goes out. And it may happen you aren’t on that leader group. If you want to be, ask to be.

It could be something else. We don’t really know. I doubt it means “you are excluded because you are a single parent.” And if it does, you need to get to the bottom of it. Don’t be afraid to talk to your pastor. He’s a person just like anyone else.



We have absolutely no idea what is going on in a pastor’s head.

It is also not a normal thing for priests, pastors, or church staff to exclude someone for being a single parent in this day and age. This likely happened decades ago (Mother Angelica said that she was treated badly in school because her parents had split up - but that was back in the 1930s) but not nowadays.

There’s also a possibility of a technical problem with the e-mail, as someone else has said.


So, you are on some email list. Also some of these events are in the bulletin. You’re just not in the initial “inner circle” of the first email or volunteers do I have this correct?


Monicad: It’s my guess this may be the case.

1ke and ‘Tis: I understand what you’re saying. I addressed the message and specifically asked that I be added to the distribution list (I copied the email that I was forwarded and didn’t get.) Even suggested that perhaps my email may have been wrong in the address. I was told in turn that the message went out to the right people.

Overall, I can go back and ask to be added but I’m not sure how to go about it after I already asked him/staff. This was not the regular email that comes out to the parish, I already get those. But thank you all for your insight. It sounds to me that it’s either 1) not typical and single parent families are added, or 2) I probably found out something I shouldn’t have.


Aside from the confidential information about families (addresses, kids birthdates, amount of donations), the specific salary of employees and the seal of Confession, we don’t have secrets in a parish.


What exactly was in the email that makes you feel so excluded?


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