So embarrassed I changed my username

I used to be a regular here for about a year. Let me tell this story, and maybe you all can give me some advice.

About 2 years ago I started going to mass weekly. In fact, I didn’t miss but a few Sundays in a year. About 6 months after I began going to mass I was diagnosed with colon cancer. I had already been going to mass and confession, so it was with great faith I received anointing for the sick, and went to surgery. While in the hospital for 7 days and having 13 inches of my colon removed, I was never visited by a priest or deacon/extraordinary minister. My priest had asked me to let him know how my surgery went. I had contacted the parish secretary and asked for inclusion in the bulletin so that others could pray for me. My name never appeared in the bulletin, and my priest only occasionally asked how I was doing after I returned. Anyway…

I asked the head of the Lecturers if I could begin training and he took my name and number and promised to call. That didn’t happen. I continued to be faithful to come to mass and I asked my priest after mass one day if I could be recommended for the Diaconate the following year. In front of everyone in line to shake his hand, he said “first you have to get your marriage blessed” and went on to the next person! I was embarrassed and kept walking. My wife is protestant, as was I for 14 years. I was raised a Catholic and returned to the church some 10 years ago. My wife accepts that I have returned to the church, and had agreed to renew our vows at the church, but I was truly embarrassed that Fr. said this in front of all these others. I felt like a little kid being admonished by a parent in front of friends.

I was so disappointed in the situation at my parish church that I am contemplating changing parishes. My priest is rather cold and the congregation is so large with just one priest to be there for everyone, it makes it hard to become involved. In addition, the average age of the congregates is about 20 years older than I.
I was so disheartened that I quit going to mass last fall. I am disappointed in myself, but part of the problem is my work schedule, half excuse, half reality. If I was really dedicated, I would go.

I want to go back to the mass, but I think I would like to go to another parish so as not to confront the priest, who undoubtedly will make me feel just as bad as before, now for missing mass for so long. The other problem is that where I live there is only one Catholic church in the county. The next closest parish is small and older than the other, and the most lively parish is about 30 minutes away. I would love to go there as the priests are Franciscan and there are 4 of them and 3 deacons, whereas my parish has just one priest for 1400 families. I am embarrassed, confused, and needing advice. I know I need to confess and go back to mass, but I really don’t want to be belittled again.

Help

Mick

I think you deserve praise for your commitment to the faith. Your sincerity shines through.

I am sorry you have had such troubles where you have attended church. Perhaps the priest there is overwhelmed with his work, and isn’t able to pastor as well as he would if he had help.

My advice isn’t necessarily good, but I would be inclined to go to the Franciscan church. I think it is important to feel part of the community, and it sounds as if you are not finding it where you currently attend.

I am glad the doctors were able to do something about your cancer. Surgery is never easy, and 13 inches sounds like a lot. It must have been very difficult to go through, and the lack of support from your church didn’t help. I will pray you continue in your recovery and that you find the spiritual support we all need.

Yes. Your story sounds not unlike many stories of the saints. Perseverance is critical in one’s faith as one might think that your own priest and parishioners would support you. Keep up the good fight and do whatever it takes to remain steadfast in your faith. The Church is made up of people and that includes the priests. They are only human and have different personalities which includes insensitivity maybe due to an overloaded work schedule or maybe he’s just plain grumpy.

God is on your side. How do I know that?? Because you are still here and you are crying out for help. Stick with the other parish if you must but never give up. Never, ever, give up.

May our Lord continue to sustain you in your health and spirituality. Oh and don’t give up seeking the diaconate. You are EXACTLY what our Church needs. YOU can be that person who goes to see the hospital bound or the person who is where you are now…God Bless…teachccd :slight_smile:

Don’t feel bad if you feel the need to change parishes. Just get to Confession and if you haven’t already, get your marriage blessed so you can get back up and start receiving communion again! Don’t get discouraged! I am sure we will all be praying for you here on the forums.

I am also sorry for the difficult time that you have been having at your old parish. Peace be with you, and God bless!

satan always tries to distract those who are called to serve. There might be something that God wants you to do before you proceed with your calling. It has to do with how the priest made you feel. You might want to look at that and figure out where those feelings originate, and do something about it. Counseling, talking to the Franciscans, whatever it takes. “To thine ownself be true.” You cannot give something away that you do not have yourself. Your sensitivity can be a real asset to help others or if you give in to satan it can lead you away from God. Don’t let the demon rob you of your joy. Strengthen yourself with the Holy Spirit (April) and put on the armor of God.
Your faith will grow from this experience.

Mick,

God Bless You! Honestly, I really recommend that you contact this last priest at your local church for a talk with him. Let him know your thoughts so that he can actually be the Good Shepard to his flock. He needs to know where the church is missing the mark with tending to the people. He can not repent or try and make amends with you if he is unaware of his shortcomings. I am sure that he does not want to loose one single person in the church.

Peace!

(I have the story of the Good Shepherd on my mind—this was one of our readings today.)

I can understand your experience with cancer having a wife and daughter who are both survivors and several close men friends, I am 72, who have prostrate cancer and bone cancer. I can even understand how you may have been embarassed by your pastor’s remark. He chose a poor venue to speak truth. With your wife willing to get your marriage blessed, what’s the hold up?

If your confessions are valid, I have to assume you are trying to live as brother and sister. I am not surprised that you have not been asked to serve as a reader, EMHC, or considered for deacon study as being in an irregular marriage would disqualify you. All that hinges on your marital situation. It appears that as a lapsed Catholic you attempted marriage outside the Church and now those birds have come home to roost. In truth if your irregular marriage is not being dealt with you really should not be going to communion.

I don’t understand why the prayer and support were missed during your hospitalization. That must have left you feeling pretty bad. I do know that once a Catholic is hospitalized in my state, the patient has to sign up on being admitted in order to have the hospital let your Parish know you are in the hospital and even to allow your priest to visit you. Lots of folks don’t know that and are hurt because no body knew.

Be bold and go to your pastor and get done what he told you to do. He would not have spoken out were he not concerned for your soul.

Irish, I hope you are doing well after your surgery. I would recommend you stay in your parish and work things out with your priest. If you are considering a Diaconate you will need to work with your Pastor.

As for his comment, while it was wrong, you may have caught him by surprise with you asking about the Diaconate after mass. That is not really the time to discuss something so serious.

Meet with your pastor, clear the air.:thumbsup:

Forget about this Parish. It’s time to move on. We are NOT obligated to “work things out” with Pastors. Some are lacking in the skills necessary for interacting in a compassionate and understanding way with their parishionners. That may be acceptable for many folks who don’t need much more than someone to say Mass and offer Confession. For others, the need is greater. You should not feel guilty for recognizing that need in yourself and seeking to have it met elsewhere.

Don’t bother contacting the former Pastor. Based on what you’ve told us here, it would bear no good fruit. Just move on.

I have to drive 40 minutes every Sunday as well. You have no idea what a hardship this is, as I suffer with a chronic painful physical condition that makes this very difficult. I was quite spoiled before I moved to this neighborhood a year ago. I belonged to a beautiful Parish just 5 minutes from my house. It’s been a hard transition to make but the alternative is not an option. Stop going to Mass? That can not be a consideration. It took me 8 months to find this new Church, even though there are 6 Parishes that are closer.

We should apply the same approach to finding a Parish as we would to finding a good doctor, lawyer, or even realtor. Keep looking until you find the right fit.

What is your heart saying?

1.)I don’t think going to the new parish 30 miles away is that bad of a prospect. If it means getting more out of mass spiritually, and perhaps developing in ministries, your faith, etc. If every Catholic tried searching for a solution like that, there would be many fewer ex-Catholics.

2.)However, you might first want to talk to your current priest. You’re the one with the best perspective, here, on whether you caught him at a bad time (probably at least partly true) or if he would be pretty unreasonable to sit down and have a chat. Also, admit if you really don’t think you know how he’ll react. Even if he still is cold or rude, you might feel better having given it a try.

3.) If your current parish is grasping for more church leaders, maybe becoming a deacon for this parish is what God is calling you to do. Perhaps this difficulty is a cross for you. (I’m sure the experience will serve you well later. :signofcross: )

Just a thought. God bless you. The Holy Spirit will guide you.

Don’t let embarrassment keep (or push) you out of the Church. The Devil loves it when we allow our pride to be hurt by someone else’s thoughtlessness - I think it must be his favourite trick, since it happens so often.

I know it’s been months, now, but just go back to the priest and say, “I am still reeling in shock from your comment that I need to get my marriage blessed. I had no idea that I was in an irregular marriage.”

If it helps any, my experience of “cold” priests is that they are actually very shy and insecure because they lack social skills. The only strategy that works is to treat them as if they had said the right thing in a loving way - eventually, they start treating you like a human being. (And if they don’t, who cares? You haven’t let them get to you.)

That happens at times.

That happens at times too. You just need to make sure that you understand the requirements. If you meet the requirements you should ask again. Priests are usually quite busy and sometimes they can forget things within two minutes.

You asked him in front of everybody. He told you what you have to do to keep pursuing the Diaconate. My question is what did you wanted/expected to hear when you asked him in front of everybody?

Have you already being working with the parish to have your marriage blessed? If yes, you should have told him straight in the face " Father you are right and we already started working on it"

The bad news is that it looks like the issue could be on your side. The really good news is that it looks like you are mature to assume ownership and to change things. It looks like you are getting back on the right path.

Stick to your parish, go back, eat crow, and be ready to change through growth. Being embarrassed is good for us. It tells us that we find ourselves in new situations and our comfort zone is challenged. My pastor does not hesitate to make me eat crow. I used to find it annoying and embarrassing, now I know that it is for my good even if I do not like it.

My heart goes out to you. The Church through SOME of her religous and clergy does its best to push people away it seems. Such talk of “irregular” marriage do not help. I would simply follow your heart and attend where you feel welcome. When I have moved to a new area, I’ve spent some time going to different parishes before I found one I felt at home in. I think you will know when you do. You usually feel it the minute you walk in the door. Good luck to you.

I truly appreciate all of your comments, and I need to clarify a couple of things.

First, I didn’t just “pop” this question on my pastor. I had been working with the associate pastor for months to discern what my calling was in the church. I was considering joining the Dominican Laity, and had counseled with the associate pastor a number of times. He suggested I pursue the Diaconate instead. I speak Spanish and he truly convinced me that my attributes would be best used in this parish this way. The reason I mentioned it to my pastor in the line after mass was because he had not returned my phone calls for an appointment. Please realize that my pastor is an Irish priest that is very typically Irish, much like my aunts and uncles, gruff, blunt and difficult to relate to.
He is so busy with so many older, much older, congregates that he often deferred me to the deacon, which was fine. I was already in the process of arranging my marriage with the deacon when this occurred.

I was confirmed by the associate pastor, and that is when he mentioned that I needed to have my marriage blessed, but because my wife and I have only been married to each other, and we have been married almost 28 years, he didn’t see this as an obstacle to communion, and I have been to reconciliation and communion with my other priest’s permission. I know some don’t feel I should have been confirmed without my marriage being blessed, but my pastor at the time, this associate pastor, didn’t have a problem with it. My associate pastor was moved to another parish, and we were left with one priest for 1400 families. This is too big a task for any man, and no wonder he seems to be impersonal.

My parents divorced when I was 14, and I lived with my mother, who began attending the Pentecostal church of her youth. There was no one to make me go to mass, and I didn’t care about religion when my wife and I were married in the Methodist church, because that mattered to her parents, where we married didn’t matter to mine. I attended the Protestant chapel while in the military, and didn’t come back to the Catholic faith until 10 years ago. That is a different story and I am well convinced that I will believe the Catholic faith for the remainder of my life.

As far as lecturing goes, I truly believe that if I belonged to the KofC, I would be welcomed open armed to lecture. All of the lecturers are either KofC or women KofC aux. I have not chosen to join their organization yet, as most of them are retired and I am still raising my children. I don’t have too much spare time.

I appreciate the different points of view on this subject. I am not scrupulous but know that I must go to confession in order to restore my soul. I agree that I am being attacked, and part of me wants to believe I am too sensitive, and a priest is a priest, it doesn’t matter where you go to receive the Sacraments. I want to be used by God to reach and minister to others, I just don’t know how at this point.
Thank you all for your advice. I will try to keep coming back and let you know how it goes. I am off work this weekend, and hope to go to confession and mass. Pray for me.
I appreciate this very loving community that is this forum. God will bless you all for your love of me.
thanks,
Mick

through the years i’ve noticed that many churches are emptying. why? for me it’s a simple matter. catholics, cradle or otherwise, my beloved brothers and sisters are increasingly becoming shoppers of our faith.

have a disagreement with the priest, find another church.
have a disagreement with a neighbor, find another church.
have a disagreement with the Church, find another church.

the fact is, the priest has a higher responsability than to make you feel good. he is looking out for your immortal soul, its final destination.

upon ocassions truth has to make us feel some discomfort to force us to act correctly.

my advise is to develope a thicker skin. remember peter? no doubt many people knew he had abandoned his teacher, and yet he forced himself to do what was right.

so stay put, go up to the priest, and like a ‘man’ express your thanks for putting you straight.

Do you mean “lectoring”? You do have to be right with the Church in order to be allowed to do that, and you also have to be right with the Church before you can join the KofC - they won’t let you join until your marriage issues are looked after.

Yes, I meant “Lectoring”.

I guess I am seeing what I asked for, which was advice. The general consensus is that my soul is in grave danger if I don’t have my marriage blessed by the church. The logic and line of reasoning makes no sense to me.

I agree that marriage is a sacrament. So is baptism. Jesus in fact told the disciples to go out, baptize for the forgiveness of sins, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. He commanded it. He didn’t say anything about the state of the person doing the baptism, just to do it. Our church recognizes a baptism as valid so long as the correct formula was used, regardless of who performed it, even if the person were atheist.

Jesus made no such command concerning marriage. So here is what I gather many of you are saying…

I can be baptized by a sinner, thief, atheist, Methodist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, whatever, provided they use the correct formula, and it doesn’t have to be “done over” by the Catholic church. I am welcomed with open arms.

I can be a pedophile, murderer, arsonist, or whatever, as long as I was baptized as an infant, I don’t need to do anything but go to confession, and I am accepted open armed by the church as long as I wasn’t MARRIED. If I had gotten married, regardless by whom or how many times, even say, 100 times, I have to still have it blessed by the church, or my soul is in mortal danger?

If I confessed any sin, I would be forgiven, and accepted, as long as I wasn’t married.

I am married, in a church, (though not Catholic), for 28 years. I have been faithful to my wife. We have raised 3 wonderful Christian children. I confessed when I returned to the church that I was not married in the Catholic church. But that wasn’t enough? I have been forgiven by my priest for having married outside the church, but I still can’t be a part of the church? If I had murdered and confessed, I could be part of the church, but not married outside the church and confessed? If I had done some heinous crime and returned to the church, I would be on the lecture circuit, and asked to write a book about how my conversion took place, but if I had been married!!!Forgetaboutit!

You see, I guess the root of my reluctance is that I see it as a form of submission the church wants to hold over my non-Catholic wife. It is as if the church wants to make a show of how my wife, the non-Catholic, must humble herself and come before a priest and allow our marriage to be made “official”. When I first asked her to come with me and have our marriage blessed, her first response was “you mean my church wasn’t good enough, and I suppose we are living in sin?”. The absurdity of this caused me to begin to think, and I guess the reluctance is on my part now, as I’m not sure I want my wife to explain to her parents that everything they hold dear isn’t good enough, because their marriage isn’t valid either, nor her grandparents, etc.

Finally, were my wife and I to divorce, getting an annulment would be no problem, as the church says we were never married. Then I would be free to marry again (inside the church) and I could have this wonderful fulfilling career inside the church with my new wife and illegitimate children and live happily ever after… Does this make sense to anybody?

All this, and Jesus never said a word about it. It doesn’t make any sense that for everything else, confession will do for forgiveness, but if you were married outside the church, confession isn’t enough, you are in mortal danger.

You were not “equally yoked” at the time of the wedding.

We have this peculiar idea in the Catholc Church that Catholics have to be married in the presence of a Catholic priest. (You could have invited a Catholic priest to come and witness the wedding in your wife’s Protestant church, and that would have been enough, as long as he had informed the Bishop that he was doing this.)

It’s not about being “good enough” - if you had both been Protestant at the time, it would have been a valid and sacramental marriage. But you were a Catholic at the time.

Marriage, by the way, is not the only Sacrament with a lot of peculiar rules to it when it comes to Catholics receiving them. In Holy Communion, the Consecration also has to be done by a Catholic priest, or else it’s not valid for the Catholic who is receiving it. In Holy Orders, the celebrant actually has to be a Bishop who is in full communion with the Pope (ie: not excommunicated, and not the Bishop of an Episcopalian or Lutheran church) in order to be valid for the Catholic who is becoming a priest in that Sacrament. In Confession, the priest who hears the Confession and gives the Absolution also has to be a Catholic priest, in order for it to be valid for the Catholic who is receiving that Sacrament.

In fact, I think baptism is the only Sacrament that could be performed by a non-Catholic on a Catholic, and be considered valid.

From the world’s point of view, yes, we’re a bit strange and peculiar. It’s one of the things you just have to get used to about us - we are not likely to change any time soon. :slight_smile:

Actually, Jesus had many words on the subject of marriage, and so did St. Paul.

It doesn’t make any sense that for everything else, confession will do for forgiveness, but if you were married outside the church, confession isn’t enough, you are in mortal danger.

Because the situation is on-going. The marriage to the Protestant woman is still happening - it didn’t come to an end at the time of the wedding. That’s why it has to be resolved.

Irish_Mick,

When you got married you probably didn’t realize that, since you were a baptized Catholic, the marriage had to be witnessed by a priest. This is a rule for all Catholics. If you didn’t know this, you didn’t act sinfully. But, although the Catholic church recognizes you are legally married, you didn’t received the sacrament of marriage because you ignored this binding church law. Now that you are aware of the law, you should receive the sacrament as soon as possible. This is easy to do by renewing your vows in the presence of the priest with as much or as little ceremony as you wish. This also will be a source of much grace to you and your wife.

If you decide to change parishes, be upfront with your new pastor about this. You are married legally, but the sacrament of matrimony is important for you to continue to receive the other sacraments and to be active in the church as a lector, teacher, or deacon.

I agree with another poster who said some priests who come across as rude are really shy. Not that you should stay where you are uncomfortable but it might be worthwhile to talk to the priest if you are able to.

By the way, the church is not trying to force your wife into anything or to imply that she did anything wrong. If she has strong feelings about going through the ceremony, you could apply for what is called a radical sanation instead. However, after your happy years of marriage, it might be nice to renew your vows in the Catholic church. My parents did this at a Sunday mass.

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