What is up with my parish??

So, I called (again) and asked for an appointment with the priest instead of a private confession… The secretary totally grilled me about WHY I wanted to meet with Fr. P. i said it was personal and that I’ve been considering returning to the church. She said there was a ministry for that, led by lay people. I said that sounded nice but that first I wanted some spiritual direction and had some questions. She acted like I had asked for an audience with the Pope himself! Like I was crazy. “What is your name again? And what exactly do you need?”. Look, I know priests are busy men. We’ve gor a parish of 2500 families and only two regular priests. But they are making me feel like I am annoying them and asking for something really outrageous. I remember when I was young, it was not uncommon for a priest to stop by the house to chat and make a personal connection! Now it seems like he’s this uberbusy CEO that is “protected” from his irritating shareholders by a phalanx of staff. Like the only time we are supposed to see the priest is at mass, or the once a month 30-minute confession period! How are nearly all the rest of the parishioners taking communion when confession has been relegated to a difficult-to-access afterthought??

If dying with even one mortal sin on your soul can mean an eternity in Hell - parishes should be doing everything they can to get people to go to confession! This should be a priority if they really believe that mortal sin is serious. I don’t see any reason why a normal parish can’t offer confessions three times a week (unless the reality is that no one would even go!)


This has really gone too far - you have done all you can be expected to.

Now is the time to

  1. Head to the next parish you can reach - and see the priest there for Confession and explain why you need help telling him what has happened in your ‘home’ parish when you asked for an appointment

  2. A very calm accurate detailed letter to the Chancellor for your Diocese . This is a situation which should not happen

I assume the poor guy is overwhelmed trying to serve so many,when you were young;) how long ago was that? probably quite a few more priests back then.My friend…be patient and be willing to wait a few weeks for an appointment, that was what I did years ago when I decided to be Catholic.So few men want to be priests these days, you want to give it a try?:wink:

I suggest you read the OP’s original thread


2 priests for this parish is really not bad - I have a friend who has a parish of 2000 - no help , and he manages to offer Confession regularly each week

Hang in there. Just keep repeating, “I’d like an appointment, please,” until the secretary puts you on the calendar. And then tell her, “If there’s a cancellation any sooner, could you please give me a call, and I will drop everything to make the meeting?” (That’s IF you can, of course!) If the priest is the CEO, then you will have to be that pesky salesman who has to see him, or the CEO of another firm that needs a meeting ASAP. Church staff can be some of the most frustrating individuals because of the power plays that they get into. And secretaries do protect their bosses…some of them go too far.

I’d tell you to fib, and say the meeting is about leaving a legacy to the parish, but then you’d only have to confess that…


And in her very first post on her first thread JackieMom said

I’m trying to regain my faith, which is very weak. My parish offers confession once a month for 30 minutes before the Saturday vigil mass.** I work most Saturdays so I called the parish to see if I could make an appoibtment for confession at another time. The secretary said no, that more confessions would be offered the week before Easter and I only needed to go then.** Is this normal now? I’ve been away for a while.

Persistence so far has not worked - the OP really needs to start creating a few waves and going to another more welcoming Parish may help There is no way she should have been told to wait from November till Holy Week for confession.

The parish secretary may be shielding her boss but a comment like that goes far too far

Then I would catch the priest after Mass and give him my cell number, and tell him that his secretary is telling people to wait for confession for over 6 mos. and that I need to see him as soon as possible. And, I would also draft a letter to him and mark the envelope “PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL” and if I didn’t hear from him in a week, I’d give him a copy after Mass. Go around that watch-dog person and go straight to the priest.

Yes, she could go to another parish, but others at that parish may be going through the same thing and that secretary needs to be put on notice to stop what she’s doing.

Again from her original thread

All righty…I stopped the priest after mass and told him I needed to book a confession and that I worked most Saturdays…** He said not to worry and to go ahead and take communion until I could make a confession.** He said quickly that I should just try my best but that they’d offer more during Lent. He seemed to sort of chuckle me off, as though I were being a bit silly or naive.

and again

Yes, it seems as though the parish thinks confession is something that’s hanging on by a thread for the little old ladies, and is on its way out. To be honest, I really struggle with the concept of God not offering forgiveness unless someone confesses to a priest - that doesn’t seem reasonable or Godlike to me at all. I am trying to give Catholicism another shot, and trying to do things the “right” way. Not even sure what that means since it seems that a lot has changed since I went inactive. If the priest told me to accept communion - do I go by what he said (after all, I am supposed to cofess all my sins to this same man and trust that I get absolution thru him) or is he wrong regarding confession/communion?

It does strike me that there is something very wrong here - she has said on more than one occasion to the parish secretary , that she is a returning catholic and was looking for help.

Does your parish have open confession? You can express yourself there and the priest will lay hands on you as well. If you confess what you stated here he will make himself available to you at another time. Even if it is a closed confession, please voice your frustration and I am sure it will be resolved.

I agree completely with this, but recommend taking Step 2 one step further and CC’ing it to the parish priest. That will get his attention.

The OP is far more patient than I was when I was trying at multiple parishes to find a priest to hear my confession when I was trying to return to the church. The final straw was when the priest from my territorial parish that I grew up in, received almost all my sacraments in, and was a registered member at the time, flat out refused to hear my confession after Saturday evening Mass, and berated me in front of other parishioners for my request. I went to another parish that had the FSSP sharing it and went to confession with a priest from the FSSP. I have zero patience for unnecessary rudeness.

Read post 6 on this thread

:thumbsup: I would do this. There is clearly someone there on the staff who feels they own the place. She’s not the Secret Service, and Father is not the Pope. He is a PARISH priest for cryin’ out sideways — he needs to be making himself available for his parishioners - especially someone wishing to return to the Faith!!!

Lay people who push their weight around in a parish really cheese me off.


As soon as you said ‘personal’ the secretary should have shut up and given you an appointment. I was a parish secretary for many years and yes, I did ask why they wanted to see the priest – because often they wanted to speak to him or see him for stuff that was mine to deal with and the priest was only going to send them back to me anyway. But the minute a caller said something was personal, that was my cue to mind my own business and get them in touch with the priest pronto. It could mean anything from counselling to confession to marriage problems or wanting an annulment - all things that had nothing to do with me.

All that said, we don’t know how the priests expect the secretary to deal with calls. Were I the OP, once I got my appointment I would tell the priest what transpired and ask if that is SOP for the parish. It’s possible that the priest doesn’t know how she is dealing with calls. I’d have been skinned alive if I’d dealt with parishioners that way on the phone.

Try going with what was suggested to you: meet with a member of the lay ministry to discuss your concerns and questions about the faith, and then reserve your personal questions for Fr. P. or Fr. Q.

Folk - please read both this thread and her earlier one.

They have Confession once a month for 30 mins !!

The OP has tried everything - she has spoken to the Priest after Mass and got nowhere very fast, she can’t get past the dragon in the Parish Office.

It’s time to take this up the chain

Why not just go to morning mass during the week and speak to the priest after. Our parish is about the size of the one you describe and there are very few people then. You can almost always catch the father after one of those.

Okay, wow. If she’s already tried going directly to him and he blew her off, :eek: What if she were carrying around a MORTAL SIN!!! He just advised her to compound her sin by receiving unworthily! :eek::eek::eek:

Time to find another parish.

Still sitting here in shock that a priest would assume someone has no serious sins to confess and can wait until Lent. My goodness.


Odd to think that we only hear one side of the story, and the staff member is judged as feeling “she owns the place.” As a self-ascribed agnostic, the OP would not be allowed to vote in any election if Mr. Voris “owned the place,” so I have to wonder if she should likewise be denied the right to testify, too.

Talk to the priest. If you talked to him once, talk to him again. Find him when the secretary is not there to carry his water. Be polite, be patient, be persistent if need be. Be humble.

Don’t email the bishop’s office and all that. Please. Work it out with the priest in good faith. Or go to a priest down the street if that does not work out. Really, I am wondering how this blows up into such a huge deal. If you want to go to confession, -go to confession! There is a way if you want it.

I have the same problem. We have confession once a week while I am working. Our priests are busy, I do not ask them for off hours. Sometimes I leave work early. Sometimes I go to a communal pennance service with confession on a Sunday. I have called a priest from a neighboring parish. Just go to confession. It seems that you are more upset at not being serverd well than with the fact that you miss going to confession.

I don’t think the issue is waiting for the appointment or impatience, I think the issue is the unwelcoming, off-putting, nosy attitude of the person she spoke to. It’s hard for me to believe it doesn’t reflect the attitude of the pastor and I wouldn’t bother seeing him at all, I’d do what another poster suggested and look for another parish.

It’s highly inappropriate for anyone on staff to ask you your business unless they are fending off salespeople. I waited an extra two years to convert because of the rudeness of the first priest I ever spoke to who pretty much accused me of being a liar and was totally rude. God had a different place in mind for me. Perhaps He does for OP also. Perhaps you didn’t read the post carefully enough to discern the issue correctly, either.

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