Wondering how to do this


#1

For many years now I have carried the crushing weight of seeing 99.9% of my peers leave the faith. Our Catholic schooling was inadequate. More than that, my Parish, where I am now, and where I grew up, has played a large part in failing in their duty to adequately cathechise its children. I went through a First Communion Programme which failed to prepare us for this Sacrament-other than to focus on the dress we would wear etc. We never heard the word sin, for example, I never knew I was recieving the Body of Christ. Yes. a fundamental. Not taught.
A few years later. Confirmation. I learnt something about some Holy Spirit. That’s about it. And I needed to choose this Sacrament for myself.
A few more years. Having had our first child out of marriage, we attended Baptism preparation-a lot of vain chit-chat-and vaugue exhortations to “be nice” to our kids-all very shallow and secular. I learned nothing about the Sacrament, never heard about original sin, or any of that.
Next year. Marriage preperation. More vauge platitutes. Try not to argue too much, and if you do, make up! Lot of “discussion” again-some sneering mocking of non using of birth control by a participating couple-no attempt to explain NFP or anything. Learnt nothing of any importance about marriage.
Fast forward some years, having had two children go through the sacrament of “colouring in”, or First Holy communion, not being ecstatic about their preparedness-but kind of being too chicken to say anything-and trusting in the promises of the catechists, and the support of the Parish Priest.
Now I am approaching my third child going through these preparations, and suddenly I feel “NO MORE”.
My peers and I were armed for battle with the spiritual equivalent of a teaspoon-is it no wonder that when we went out into the world we on the whole embraced a secular agenda.

What do I do?
I find it very difficult to have a conversation at the best of times. I lack certain basic skills such as eye contact, and subtleties. The thought of going to see my parish priest is overwhelming. But this week in particular, it has become very clear that I CAN NO LONGER REMAIN SILENT. The hemorrage of souls has been too great.My parish has and is failing to raise people of faith.


#2

Cont…
More than that it is being impressed on me that as a Parish, we need to Publicly repent, to pray, fast and make reparation for this neglect of God’s precious souls. We cannot reach those we have lost from the church, but by our sorrow, and our repentance, Jesus and Mary will return these souls.
Furthermore, a a Parish we have to ensure this never happens again. Catechisis have to be not adequate, not good but excellent. It needs to be taught not by those who are seen as most qualified-i.e. the qualifiued teachers, the child “experts”, the confident-middle-class set, but by those parishoners who LOVE Jesus and Mary and the church and what she teaches.
Here’s the thing. I don’t know how best to present this proposal, so to speak, to the parish. Too many of the movers and shakers, when it comes to organising and running such things SEE NOTHING WRONG. “Ho hum, these things happen, they say”, “all young people go through a stage of lapsing, they’ll come back when they are ready”.
Will they? So many souls? Without a solid foundation? It is perfectly possible that Richard Dawkins and his ilk will “come home”, after all. But make no mistake. This is not the inevitable lapsing of some people, this is the massive, massive loss of God’s precious souls, entrusted to us a a parish, and we have fundamentally failed them.


#3

I know that there will be people that are going to disagree with what I am going to say, but I would run away from that parish as soon as possible. They have proven that they have no desire to change. Do not take the chance that your own children will have the same dismal experiences that you had. I know that it is often difficult to travel to another parish, but that is what I would do, even if it means spending a fair amount of time on the road to get there. As for those that will say that YOU should be the change your parish needs I don’t agree that that is the solution. It can take many years for changes to come and you do not have the luxury of waiting that long for this involves the spiritual lives of you and your children. And quite honestly, not everyone is capable of being the catalyst for change. That doesn’t mean you don’t recognize the need for change.

Please find out where the next nearest parish is, pack your family into the car, and go make a fact finding visit to that parish. Repeat as necessary to find a parish that is going to really represent the Catholic church and all it teaches and not just some “feel good” watered down nothingness.

I wish you all the best in your journey and will pray that you find a parish you can find a home in.


#4

I agree with Irishmom, there´s noting wrong with attending a parish away from the place you live.

I myself am considering it too (a 100km round trip) because my local parish is dying out and depressing. If and when I have kids I want them to be part of something vibrant and inspiring.

Best of luck :wink:


#5

apricot I feel your pain. I know exactly where you are coming from. I hold a lot of resentment (which i shouldn’t) towards the Parish and school I was brought up in and my siblings and I attended. It was pathetic as far as catechesis goes, in the sense of omitting and purporting blatantly heretical ideas like abortion=OK, premarital sex=inevitable, use protection, you get the gist. Is it any wonder that I’m the only of my siblings still practicing? The others with the exception of one have renounced Catholicism and religion entirely. My parish school classmates, same thing. I’m in touch with all of the people I went from kindergarten through 8th grade with ( through facebook:p) and only 2 out of 31 are still professing Catholicism. That’s a pretty bad statement right there.

I’ve moved away from that old parish and belong to a far more orthodox one now, but in your situation I think you could do some real good. You obviously have a great passion for the Truth and are a great mother who wants the best for her children.

You know, you say you aren’t good in social situation, with confrontation etc., I can empathize with that. But I have to say you’ve gotten your point across very well in writing here. Would you consider writing to your pastor?


#6

It sounds like you have your work cut out for you.

Can you start with the materials being used in sacramental prep? I think that many teachers rely heavily on the text/materials they are using (I know I sure do) so switching to something more orthodox might have an immediate positive effect. I don’t know what your approach should be. I would probably start by finding something first and then suggesting it to the DRE or the pastor in a positive way. You could say you ran across this great material and heard it worked well for some other parish. If that doesn’t work you could point out any problems with current materials.

If you do actually get somewhere with that you’ll probably have an easier time than you might think turning things around. If you get stopped cold, well, you can decide then if you think it will be beating your head against the wall.

In the meantime can you go through the motions with FHC for this year through your parish and teach at home? It’s noble of you to want to turn things around for the masses, but right now you’ve got your own children to worry about. I wouldn’t wait around for your children’s sake.


#7

Leaving the Parish is not an option. I have wanted to leave, but I have felt God calling me to stay put. The Parish has introduced Mass Bags(holy items to aid children’s participation in the Mass), and also Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for Children. These we all things I felt called to get Father to introduce. It helps that we have a good, enthusiastic priest here now. My biggest fear is that he will dismiss this as something all young people need to do (lapse), rather than the mass exodus of souls.
I have been in a state of IMPODENT FURY and SORROW for years and years. Now I believe God is asking me to do something about it.


#8

I second this! I would try writing a letter to your pastor and perhaps your bishop too.
If all else fails, then I would find another parish if I were you.

God bless you for sticking with the Truth despite it all :thumbsup:


#9

May the fire of your love of God, set a part of that parish aflame, and may it all catch alight, I pray. :slight_smile: An it can be so, let it be so. You have my prayers.

Be certain to gather what merit and spiritual oomph through prayer and deeds that you can to support yourself. Adoration is wonderful for that.


#10

I do not resent anything, nor anyone-parents including- for not helping me understand the Love and the word of GOD…I too grew up pretty uhm ignorant about a lot of things, came here to the Catholic Forums and in the past what 1-2 years have learned so much more than all my 30 years of life going to church, parish gatherings and family taught religious speeches… :frowning: Pretty sad…But I am learning and not despairing…Trying to live better and according to the word of Christ…I have been reading more on the Bible verses than before…I use this website helps me whenever I am on the computer I can glance and read a few and you know keep on going…
biblebb.com/tnivarea.htm

When I don’t have time to grab the Bible and just read it out, with the kids I just read from this online Bible verses and pray alone…At least I am trying to keep GOD close to me and to learn from my mistakes and to learn more about GOD…


#11

I have decided to email father. This is what I have decided to write.

Dear ,Fr

I hope and pray that you will hear me out, on something that has been bothering me for a long, long time. What I have to say might make you mad, I’m going to apologise for that right now. I’m going to apologise for any parishioner I offend by this letter. What I do ask is that you Hear what I need to say.

For many years now I have carried the crushing weight of seeing 99.9% of my peers leave the faith. Our Catholic schooling was inadequate. It was worse than that even. More than that, this Parish, where I am now, and where I grew up, has played a large part in failing in it’s duty to adequately catechise its children.
I went through a First Communion Programme here which failed to prepare us for this Sacrament-other than to focus on the dress we would wear etc. We never heard the word sin, for example, I never knew I was receiving the Body of Christ. Yes. a fundamental. Not taught.

A few years later. Confirmation. I learnt something about some Holy Spirit. That’s about it. And that I needed to choose this Sacrament for myself.
A few more years. Having had our first child out of marriage, we attended Baptism preparation-a lot of vain chit-chat-and vague exhortations to “be nice” to our kids-all very shallow and secular. I learned nothing about the Sacrament, never heard about original sin, or any of that.

Next year. Marriage preparation. More vague platitudes. Try not to argue too much, and if you do, make up! Lot of “discussion” again-some sneering mocking of non using of birth control by a participating couple-no attempt to explain NFP or anything. Learnt nothing of any importance about marriage.

More recently, when my husband went through RCIA in 04/05, he successfully managed not to learn anything of any relevance. He joins a group of Catholics who look elsewhere for their religious instruction, through self-study, or more often, sadly, through the mainstream media.
Fast forward some years, having had two children go through the sacrament of “colouring in”, or First Holy communion, not being ecstatic about their preparedness-but kind of being too chicken to say anything-and trusting in the promises of the catechists, and the support of the Parish Priest.
Now I am approaching my third child going through these preparations, and suddenly I feel “NO MORE”.

Now OK. This all happened before your time here. But this is the legacy we have inherited. I will raise my hand here and admit that I am not familiar with more recent preparation courses, aside from FHC. But we cannot dismiss this systematic and long term -and I’ll call a spade a spade here-child abuse.

More than that it is being impressed on me that as a Parish, we need to Publicly repent, to pray, fast and make reparation for this neglect of God’s precious souls. We cannot reach those we have lost from the church, through the church, we cannot turn back the clock, but by our sorrow, and our repentance, Jesus and Mary will return these souls.
Furthermore, as a Parish we have to ensure this never happens again. Catechesis has to be not adequate, not good, but excellent. It needs to be taught by those who LOVE Jesus and Mary and the church and what she teaches. It needs to be dripping in prayer. We deserve it. Our children deserve it. My peers and I were armed for battle with the spiritual equivalent of a teaspoon-is it no wonder that when we went out into the world we on the whole embraced a secular agenda.

“Ho hum, these things happen, they say”, “all young people go through a stage of lapsing, they’ll come back when they are ready”.
Will they? So many souls? Without a solid foundation? It is perfectly possible that Richard Dawkins and his ilk will “come home”, after all. But make no mistake. This is not the inevitable lapsing of some people, this is the massive, massive loss of God’s precious souls, entrusted to us a parish, and we have fundamentally failed them. ****failed them.

I find it very difficult to have a conversation at the best of times. I lack certain basic skills such as eye contact, and subtleties. The thought of going to see you is overwhelming. But this week in particular, it has become very clear that I CAN NO LONGER REMAIN SILENT. The haemorrhage of souls has been too great. This parish has and still is failing to raise people of faith.

My biggest fear is that you will dismiss this as something all young people need to do (lapse), rather than the mass exodus of souls. Please don’t tell me that the past is the past, and my dear friends’ souls are not worth fighting for.


#12

:thumbsup: I love this:) Good work!

If I may offer a suggestion, perhaps you can add on a positive note, that you somehow want to be part of this drastic change in your parish? Even in a small way if you can say “I want things to change and I’m willing to help”, even if you aren’t able to physically help much ( I know you are an uber busy mom) you can offer a novena for the parish, for Fr. something along those lines. Offer to organize or research material for faith formation at home…something along these lines.

You’re doing a great thing and something more lay people need to do! Prayers are with you.


#13

Okay so you’re going to come right out with it… good for you! At least you’ll know where the pastor stands on the issue.

I see you have had some success with the adoration and Mass kits and all. That is a very positive sign, and I would reference that in the email.

Good luck!


#14

I definitely sympathize with your worries…I think, though, that it is often not so much a problem with particular parishes, but with the prevailing mindset in general, nation- and world-wide. With that in mind, I might perhaps take down the tone of the letter, just a little? It’s important to indicate your frustration, of course, but you also want to project a reasonable tone…as a priest, he has probably faced all sorts of indifference, mockery, insufficient catechesis, etc., throughout his whole life, and he might really appreciate hearing from someone who presents herself immediately as a strong, understanding, and clear-headed ally, with as little antagonism in the letter as possible…?

Best of luck in all you do…complacency is definitely an enemy of true spirituality, and I wish there were more people out there taking a stand against it!

+AMDG+


#15

tuviskazinai said, " it is often not so much a problem with particular parishes, but with the prevailing mindset in general, nation- and world-wide. "
I agree. This is a problem IN THE WHOLE ARCHDIOCISE, and generally speaking, in the whole of the UK.Hence why moving parishes is not an option. Friends of mine have moved parishes 50 miles away to an SSPX parish. That’s a different sort of rebellion IMHO. It doesn’t help. They have forgotton that Christ is truly present in the tabernacles of their local chuch, even if the outward behaviour of the parish suggests otherwise.

I have removed some of the content that I feel could be interpreted as a direct attack on the Parish Priest. I believe him to be a good man, and this is why I feel I can approach him with this.

I will also state my willingness to help, especially with regard to alternative resorces etc.
Please pray for me, as I open this can of worms.


#16

Apricot yoghurt, just on the letter that you wish to send to your local priest - if I were you I´d remove the this phrase “But we cannot dismiss this systematic and long term -and I’ll call a spade a spade here-child abuse.” “Child abuse” is a very strong term to use, and honestly I can´t see how it would apply in this situation. These people are not abusing your children, they are just perhaps not making enough effort.

Anyway, if you wish to encourage your local priest, I´d remove this line and maybe add in something positive at the end …something like “I´m really looking forward to being part of the renewal of this church, and I´m willing to help you in any way that I can”.

By the way, you criticise yourself contantly for your social abilities, you´re a passionate and articulate woman, there´s no need to always be putting yourself down!! :):thumbsup:

Best of luck and please let us know how it goes :wink:


#17

I just removed that line about child abuse. Our parish has actually had a priest who went to jail for this very thing, so it is probably not helpful.


#18

apricot yogurt’s experience is sadly believeable in today’s world. i see it in my own life to a certain degree. Every day it seems i am learning something new about the Catholic Church, especially when i visit these fora. i’ve been Catholic my whole life. Went to CCD, went through with the 4 sacraments, etc. Yet for years i did not know what the Mass was about. In CCD i know there is not time to cover everything, but they could have at least told us about Imprimaturs and Nihil Obstats if we desired to learn more about the Catholic Faith outside of class.

i try not to blame this on the priests and CCD teachers. It could very well have been their own teachers or published materials used that were like that, and even certainly i am partially to blame for not asking more questions. What i do try and do though, is give thanks that my upbringing was as good as it was. i am reading stories like apricot yogurt’s and realize things are worse off in other areas than in my own.

apricot yogurt, the one thing that jumps out to me about your email to your pastor is the 99.9% figure. This sounds like an exaggeration. It might not be an exaggeration, but sounds like one, and therefore since it is the first line in your letter raises an immediate flag and has great potential to cast doubt on the rest of the email’s content. Maybe 90 or 95% is more in order. i don’t know your life and you could be right in that 99.9% figure but i’m saying perception plays a huge role here.

apricot yogurt, i pray you are given the strength to go through with this. Pray to God that the hearts of the those in the parish may be softened in order to change for the better when they do hear the Truth. If you do not decide to pursue this past an email at least, AT LEAST pray for this softening of their hearts so that if someone else should come along to correct them they will be received warmly.


#19

Other than the items you’ve already corrected, I think you’ve done a great job with your letter. It is an honest expression of your heart’s longing for Christ. I will pray that it is well received by your priest.


#20

I 100% agree here. I would also let the parish priest know exactly why you are leaving and anyone else who asks…perhaps that in itself will be a catalyst for change for some who may be feeling the same that you do. God bless you and your family.


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