That is what my parish priest told my husband this past Sunday, and I’m still reeling about it. I know I’m a newbie here, but I’d like some advice/feedback on this matter, as it’s eating me up inside.
Here’s the background… My youngest daughter was born in December (my first post was actually about not having Godparents lined up for her – that’s been solved, thank God!), and my husband went to the priest a few weeks ago to discuss her baptism. Once my husband finally got a hold of the priest, he was told to wait a week and call him. After a week, my husband went back to him and was told to “give me the courtesy of a telephone call” in an abrupt way. Fine, it’s no secret that this priest lacks people skills. Later that afternoon, my husband called the priest and was immediately met with an attitude. The priest told my husband that he feels used because we only come to church when we need something, and that if we are not making a commitment to the church, then we are no longer welcome there. However, just this once, he would do this “favor” for us and baptize our child.
Now, I have to be honest. We had a lengthy period of time where we were not attending Mass at this parish or at all because of personal feelings. Part of it was because of a negative experience with this same priest at my middle daughter’s baptism, when he yelled at me for something very petty, and part of it was just nonchalance about Mass attendance. However, after doing a lot of talking about how we would like our children brought up in my husband’s faith (he is actually Byzantine Catholic, not Roman rite), we decided we would return – for good – to this parish back in September '07, and at that time, enrolled our daughters in ECF, the equivalent to CCD in the Roman rite church.
I did call the priest and had a heated discussion with him about how offensive his words were to my family, and how I wish he had not just jump to conclusions about our intentions, but I was still met with a passive aggressive attitude even though he gave an apology. He is still agreeing to baptize our daughter, but I cannot help but to continue to feel hurt and to question whether we will stay at this parish after this incident. My husband and I have been hurt at another parish and we DO NOT want to have a repeat of that experience.
One last piece of this puzzle is that my husband and I are in an interracial marriage and I have often been the only Black person at Mass. I am actually the only Black person at our parish and frankly, it’s hard to cope with sometimes. I grew up Protestant, in a predominantly Black church and the feeling of warmth and community was wonderful. I do not have that feeling at this parish, even though some of the people are quite friendly and nice. It’s difficult to know my children won’t grow up with that, and it makes it even more difficult feeling that the priest isn’t exactly welcoming. I always wonder if it’s due to my family and our “differences”.
Sorry for the lengthy post, but I would appreciate any advice or thoughts about this.