Switching parishes...but not without a lot of heartache

As some of you may know from my previous posts, I have been a member of my church’s choir for about seven years. This past June marked our summer break, and tomorrow (Monday September 9th) will be the first rehearsal back.

After giving it a lot of thought, I have decided to not return to the choir. Mainly because I cannot stand what my parish has become. There is absolutely no reverence at my church anymore, to the point where I feel like it might as well be a Protestant service. The big issue however, was at the beginning of the year when I entered church and found that my group had put chairs in front of the Tabernacle. Now, I did not try to make a big show of this, so during father’s sermon, I quietly sat down on the floor, because I could not bring myself to sit with my back to Our Lord. One would think that to be common knowledge among all Catholics…

This continued on all year. I have very bad knees, and at one point, there was a spare chair by me so I began sitting there. Well, the next week, one of the members took that chair and also put it in front of the Tabernacle! I know this was done on purpose (not to sound paranoid), because there were already more than enough chairs for all of the members. Also, the “friendships” I had with these people slowly began to diminish, and they began treating me like I was some terrible person. They’d snicker at me, whisper about me (and I know it was about me, because I heard it several times), and started to act like I was a lesser member of the group. I felt so unwanted and alone.

The priests at my church are also not particularly friendly, and another pet peeve of mine is that they do nothing about the congregation showing up to church dressed for a beach party. I began hating attending Mass, and quite frankly, that scared me and I knew I needed to get out. Because I knew that if I stayed, I would eventually stop attending church because of the anger I felt.

When the choir started break for the summer, I knew I needed to try a different church, and so I began attending a parish that has a lot of family history for me. My great grandfather (when he came over from Italy), helped build the church; four generations in my family were also married there. It’s simply lovely. The choir is beautiful and everyone is so reverent and friendly. It seems like a little piece of heaven on earth.

Well, I have decided to not return to my old parish. This is going to be difficult for a variety of reasons. First of all, my mother is having an extremely difficult time accepting this. She told me that she supports my decision, especially because of how rotten things were toward the end, but at the same time, it was her church from the time she was eleven years old. Basically, she won’t come to Mass with me at my new church, because she prefers it at the old one. I feel terrible about this, because she has stopped attending Mass as a result of it. I offered to go to two Masses on Sunday so she could get a chance to go, but she seemed very indecisive when I made this suggestion. She also has a lot of physical ailments, and so getting around is difficult for her at times.

Problem number two…quite simply, I have been in love with the choir director’s son since I was seven years old. That’s a whole other story which I won’t mention here, but let me just say that I know that if I do not return, chances are that I will never see him again. And that hurts me very deeply, even though I never had a chance with him in the first place. If I go back, I truly would be a glutton for punishment in more than one way.

Finally, today I ran into one of the nicer members of the group, and told her about this change. She cried…and it broke my heart. There have been so many good times, and I have met a few great people, but it’s also not enough to make me go through all of that again.

Am I doing the wrong thing? What should I do about my mother? I feel so guilty, in that respect. Also, how do I break the news to my choir director? She really was not one of the people who caused trouble for me, and I know this will crush her when she finds out. What do I say?

My heart really, really hurts. Please pray for me.

I’m unclear why you haven’t just talked to your pastor or choir director about the chair placement and simply asked that they be moved so that you are not sitting with your back to the Tabernacle if that is your primary concern.

I mean, really, you sat there all year and never said anything?

“When the choir started break for the summer, I knew I needed to try a different church, and so I began attending a parish that has a lot of family history for me. My great grandfather (when he came over from Italy), helped build the church; four generations in my family were also married there. It’s simply lovely. The choir is beautiful and everyone is so reverent and friendly. It seems like a little piece of heaven on earth.”

I’m sure they’re not absolutely perfect, but it sounds like it’s the right place for you now.

“Well, I have decided to not return to my old parish. This is going to be difficult for a variety of reasons. First of all, my mother is having an extremely difficult time accepting this. She told me that she supports my decision, especially because of how rotten things were toward the end, but at the same time, it was her church from the time she was eleven years old. Basically, she won’t come to Mass with me at my new church, because she prefers it at the old one. I feel terrible about this, because she has stopped attending Mass as a result of it. I offered to go to two Masses on Sunday so she could get a chance to go, but she seemed very indecisive when I made this suggestion. She also has a lot of physical ailments, and so getting around is difficult for her at times.”

If she wants to go to Mass, she can go with you to your new parish if she needs assistance. She is choosing not to go to Mass. This is not your fault.

“Am I doing the wrong thing?”

No. You are going to a Mass where you are able to concentrate on the liturgy without distraction. That’s a good thing.

“What should I do about my mother? I feel so guilty, in that respect.”

She is a grown woman and she is responsible for the choices that she is making right now. Keep asking her every Sunday if she wants to come with you, and leave it alone otherwise.

“Also, how do I break the news to my choir director? She really was not one of the people who caused trouble for me, and I know this will crush her when she finds out. What do I say?”

It would have been good to talk to her about your concerns regarding the chairs in front of the Tabernacle previously, but it sounds like the issues with your old parish are so global that it’s not realistic to expect any major changes unless there is a change of pastors. Just say, I’m going to St. Z’s now and leave it at that.

I don’t think your leaving is going to “crush” her. Other people have no doubt come and gone before you without that happening.

I apologize, I did forget to mention that I confronted the choir director about the chair placement and she said that our priests said it was okay. Now, I cannot fault her for that if she is being told otherwise…it’s the treatment I’ve been receiving that hurts the most.

lovedance4ever,

If you wind up going through a similar situation at your new parish, I suggest that you start thinking about whether it’s them or it’s you. It could be that you have odd behaviors or are committing social faux pas that you don’t realize.

Best wishes!

I am new to the forum, but I can put myself in this person’s shoes. I too may switch parishes and soon. At my current parish, it seems that the same things are happening. The priests are indifferent for the most part, there are only a couple of programs, such as St. Vincent de Paul, which I was participating in, but it is very controlled by one or two. No fund raising except one or two things the fund raising person is interested in. The entire mass (and I have attended all) are disrupted by inconsiderate parents who think small children are going to sit quietly through the mass. As soon as one starts prayer, they start with the noise, throwing missals down, moving the kneelers, putting books in the holders many times and when corrected, have a tantrum. I was always taught that church was a sanctuary, not a kindergarten and one could expect quiet. Sometimes, I don’t choose to attend mass because I can watch EWTN and get more out of it. During Ash Wednesday, kids were doing tumbling in the aisles, and the parents let them do it. Some younger people come to mass dressed more like they should be working the streets rather than attending mass. I was also asked by one of the ladies I know why I didn’t attend Adoration. My answer is: Why, I wouldn’t be able to pray or hear most of it, why bother.

So, I am now going to check around at the various churches in my area and probably change. Anyone have a solution?

This might be off topic, but the OP mentioned something at parishes that I don’t quite understand, even though I realize its a cold, hard fact …it’s the part about choirs (or ministries of various types, or individuals and families) taking a “summer break” from church and parish activities.:shrug:

I wish the ones with the disruptive children would take long vacations.

Many many years ago when my kids were little (they’re 18 to 23 now), I realised some people were ticked off because my children were fidgety and hard to keep still even though we always tried to sit in the back seat… so we stopped bringing them and my husband and I attended different Masses. Well one early Sunday morning I was chastised (nicely enough) ***from the altar ***by our Priest for not bringing the kids to Mass. He had baptised all the kids and new us quite well.

(My children were all diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder eventally)

Yes. Concentrate more on our Lord and less on what other people are doing. :wink:

We have needed to switch parishes over the years and looking back, I have found that we have met some wonderful, loving, awesome Catholics that we would not have met if we didn’t decide to move. The kind of people that make me go Wow. May it be the same for you. Changing parishes is difficult and yet it can be a time of growth. God is with you!

lovedance4ever,

There is no need to second guess your decision here. People change parishes often and for various reasons. The desire to worship in a parish that will allow you to concentrate on the mass (and other worship) better is understandable. I hope you can make new friends there and become involved in parish life.

While this sounds direct, I think you should give it some consideration. If you do find you experience similar concerns, you may need to rethink what it is you’re doing socially that may contribute. You may be misunderstanding other people’s behaviours, and/or you may have some behaviours yourself that others misunderstand.

Best wishes with your new parish.

It sounds like it’s definitely time for a change of parishes. Something new might be a good thing givej the long history of frustration. Your mother may go to Mass with you and so that is indeed her decision.

I hope you enjoy your new parish and meet a lot of new people.
Mary.

It sounds like the change will do you good. First, there is something toxic in your old parish. I also think it’ll be good for you to strike out on your own, away from your Mom. If she chooses to follow, great, but you are an adult and need to stake out your own life.

Embrace change, it’s part of life!:thumbsup:

I wish people like you would take long vacations!

But more importantly, would Jesus want those children there?

With a little ingenuity and study, one can easily figure out which Mass times attract fewer small children. Toddlers tend to have afternoon naps and early dinners, so a 5:30 PM or later Mass or an early afternoon Mass will generally not have a lot of small children.

Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t feel the same.

Or an early one such as 6 or 7:30!

This is a good comment! Dear op, the reason we go to mass is to concentrate on Our Lord. Its good if you also make friends there but that is secondary. So, if you find that yiu cant pray well enough at a parish, then find one where yiu can. Our Lord is present in all the tabernacles.
And please remember, church is not school or some form of a contract.

You have a dilemma and I would have a tough time making this choice myself. First, if you can not attend Mass at your current parish without having these issues distract and upset you clearly something has to happen. Second, I would probably give up the choir and attend Mass with my Mother in your circumstances, she sounds like she needs you now, giving up the choir might reduce your stress. Last, remember to let God lead and guide you to this next step, He will help you solve this and I will pray for you to be able to hear Him.

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