Sunday, September 20, 2009

Complaining About Church? Yes, I guess I am!

What was the best thing about Mass today?

Well, I was going to say the food I ate at the diner after wards was the best thing about Mass today. But that's not true at all. The best thing about Mass for me has always been/is/will always be the Sacrifice of the Mass, Receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.

Unfortunately for me today I was concentrating more on the bad feelings that were growing inside me during Mass. For one thing we went to the Folk Mass, now I have no problem with any form of song that praises God, I just was more in the mood for traditional Hymns of Praise, but the folk group was fine.
What really started the fire inside me (and not the Good Holy Spirit Fire) was the fifteen to twenty minutes devoted to another talk (after the Gospel reading) of the dire need for parishioners to increase their donations to the church. I know the economy is very bad, I know the parish church and school are suffering too, I realize they are a big business with a big overhead, I realize that they rely heavily on the donations of parishioners. I have no problem with any of that. What I have a problem with is the fact that fifteen to twenty minutes was devoted to this type of talk. Only about ten minutes was devoted to welcoming the Catechists (the teachers of religious instruction for the public school children).
And the least amount of time was devoted to the Consecration! In my opinion the most important part of the Mass was 'rushed' through like it had to be quickly disposed of!
When Mass was done and we were leaving, Ray leaned over to me and said, "Now I remember why I never go to Mass anymore." I understood completely, it really is disheartening.
Ray came with me today because I wanted to take Jayden, I said I thought Jayden was at an age where he should be going each week now too, so Ray came to help out (it's been awhile since I had Jayden at Sunday Mass with me, and I have to say he was an angel, once or twice I heard "Umma, this is taking too long!" whispered in my ear, but for the most part he was very good. Jayden is more used to going to Mass with me during the week, and those Masses have no singing and usually no sermon after the readings, so they are very quick Masses.).
Anyway, I'm not only disappointed for myself, I'm disappointed for Ray that his first time back to Mass in years was 'business as usual'!

I want to find the priest that visited our parish once last Spring, and he said he wants the Church to go back to celebrating the Eucharist in the home just the way the first Christians did. There were no churches, no temples, no big houses of worship, it was all done in private homes in small groups, and it was solely devoted to the Honor and Glory of God.
I say "Amen to that!"

Ray and I both agreed with one high point at the very end of the Mass, the Priest did point out a baby that he had Baptized a year before while she lay in the hospital in an incubator, she was not expected to live, and here was this beautiful little miracle girl toddling up the center aisle to the altar!
So, I guess even though I thought the Lord was being snubbed in His own house, He certainly didn't snub us, He gave us a Gift of the heart to take away with us, and it was a much-needed Gift too!


  1. Hi EIleen-

    Miracle ndeed. I am so glad you all received such a gift and better yet, that you were all so open to receive it. Perhaps a true celebration of what Eucharist means.

    Love to you

  2. So many churches do seem to be a big business these days, but so is everything else...I remember corner grocery stores, smaller schools, and small family farms...bigger is not neccesarily better. I have old photos of my grandmother attending church in someone's home back in the early 50's. Times do change...sometimes reverting back to things of the past!

    Enjoy your week Eileen,

  3. Hi Eileen.. even though I'm not Catholic, I understand completely what you are talking about...I've invited people to church, only to find a "business" message, we want our guests/family members to hear the message that saves...the gospel...helloooo!!! I do believe we are going back to "home" church in the future, perhaps because of God's leading or perhaps because of necessity, but I welcome it, but in the meantime, we need to support our local congregation...they aren't perfect, but they are, hopefully, saving souls and discipling. Thanks for your comment on my blog...I knew you would agree...I'm glad our number is growing.

    God bless you and yours!

  4. I'm sorry to hear that your church experience today was not what you had hoped for..Especially since you had Ray and Jayden with you..
    Maybe this isn't an every week thing for them to do...and at least you did get some blessing out of it. I think more than anything...our Heavenly Father knew you were there..and why :)
    That's what counts you know :) I can relate though to your thoughts on staying home...we hardly go anymore either. It seems that some people where we go...have made a lot of it a big show for themselves...and that's not what it's all about..I think sometimes just quietly reflecting and talking about God together at home is more appealing for us...but everybody has to do what's right for them..We do go sometimes..but Mark doesn't go with me :( I hate going without I tend to not go..
    I know that's bad..but I can't seem to help myself...
    Thanks for sharing your deepest thoughts with us!
    Big Hugs....Jerelene

  5. OH, don't even get me started... I do understand. But more important, how is your daughter and huspand? I do hope all is well. As for the church thing, I believe church is in your heart and in your soul and any where you are, if you believe in God. I do not feel that God cares where you worship him, as long as you do so. I personally feel he walks with me at all times, and when things are really rough, he carries me. Have a wonderful week.

  6. I hate when that happens! I really don't think money should be discussed during the mass. I understand that it needs to be talked about but I think any announcements like that should be made after the mass is over or in the church bulletin. I do love the church and I think most of the masses are beautiful.

  7. Oh Marcy I am so sorry for your experience today at Mass. The best part of the Mass to me are the sacraments....I so love them. Why they brought the business end into this Mass is beyond me....we have a finace committee for this and they usually contact us by letter. There are so many people at Mass that cannot even put money in the collection plate and if they did this at my church I am sure we would not have the attendance we do. Just know Marcy that all churches are not the same...sad really isn't it. Ray deserved a much better experience than he had today....when they spend time on the gospel and eulogy....then that is the Mass I enjoy. I am so happy you are introducting Jayden to our Faith, I hope he has the chance to see what a wonderful, spiritua experience it can be. Love you my friend and I pray your next Mass won't focus on money but the gospel......:-) Hugs

  8. Hi Eileen,
    I am on the board of directors at our church. Asking for or discussing needed finances during a service is something that frown on. We find it better to put requests on printed hand outs and leaving them on a table for people to pick up if they wish. If you know the story of Martin Luther, this is the reason that he broke away from the Catholic church and formed Lutheranism. I always joke and say that a Lutheran is a Catholic once removed!
    But you do have to keep in mind that all churches struggle with different issues. If you choose not to get involved than you really can't complain. There are many people that don't realize that Churches are also a business of sorts. People will complain about certain things in our church but they never come to voters meetings or volunteer for positions that desperately need to be filled. This is one of our problems right now. Everyone wants things to run smoothly but no one wants to help.
    I am not saying that this is you Eileen, you may volunteer for all kinds of things, I'm just explaining what we are going through right now. I have held six different positions over the years because nobody wants to step up. And it's always the same group of people. We try to recruit people but I guess everyone's lives are so busy that they just don't want to help.
    I'm sorry about the soap box talk Eileen, this is just something that really troubles me in our church. Maybe it was just not such a good Sunday and next week will be better! Did Jayden enjoy himself?
    Love Di

  9. Frustrating huh? I liked the story about the baby though. How sweet is that to have that little miracle toddling down the center isle.

    How is your daughter doing?

  10. Eileen...I'm proud of Jayden. What a sweet little trooper to sit patiently during Mass (I'm not sure wht Mass is because I'm Protestant)...but I can tell from your writing that your Jayden was a sweet li'l parishoner.
    Church is the body believers of Christ.I've read and studied my Bible, I found that Christ focused on spreading Love for His Father...our God...and didn't focus on how it was to be financed. The God that created the heavens and the earth possesses all the wealth anyway. We are simply stewards of what He has blessed us with. We need to be more focused on Exalting The Savior, Equipping the Saints, and Evagelizing the world. I would have been discouraged had I been in your 'shoes' today at Mass...but, don't let this one service discourage you from doing what the Lord wants you to do...and I know you won't. Thank you for sharing your feeings. I see that it has stimulated a lot of discussion...and that is always a good thing.
    I am so happy to hear about the healing of the little girl.
    Smiles and love from Jackie

  11. As long as you have the faith thats all that matters dear.

  12. WOW!! Lots of opinions on this one!

    First, I have to say that I LOVE Jackie's sentiments that "We are simply stewards of what He has Blessed us with." Beautiful!

    Second, I really don't have a problem at all with any church seeking funds to keep it's head above water, or to seek funds in order to supply services to others, in fact, I feel it's a way for me to give back a little of what I have been Blessed with.
    I do believe in tithing (and more when it's possible). I've always said everything we get is from God and He doesn't ask for 90% of it back, He doesn't ask for 50% back, He only ask for 10% back. That is not my problem.
    Now, my problem lies with the seeking of these funds right after the reading of the Gospel, there is very little talk about the Word or sometimes the Word is used as a convoluted way of asking for more money, and it's a big problem to me when that is the focus of the sermon, especially on a day of indoctrinating the new Catechists. And especially when the Consecration, the most Sacred part of the Mass has to be rushed through in order to not hold up the next Mass.
    I also have a BIG problem with the Pastor asking for "just a few dollars more, maybe five or ten dollars more each week". Are you kidding me? I know some families that would find it a hardship to give just five or ten dollars each week, nevermind giving an EXTRA five or ten dollars each week, and he makes it sound like it's nothing.

    And all this stems from my own personal experience with giving to this particular parish. For many years it was a great sacrifice for Ray and I to throw even a dollar in the collection basket each week. Through the years things got better for us financially and of course we gave more, and then suddenly we were recognized by the Pastor, called by our first names at Communion time, I was kissed 'hello', Ray was called to be on the Altar on Holy Thursdays for the Washing of the feet. All this because it was EASY for us to give lots of money, but when it was the REAL SACRIFICE for us to give the dollar we were unknowns.
    I'm sorry, that burns me up!
    Here we were going home to bowls of cereal for our Sunday dinner and you could look into the dining room of the rectory all set up for the priests with shrimp cocktail for the start of their dinners!
    No Pastor knew our names then, no kisses hello, no phone calls asking Ray to sit at a place of honor on the altar on Holy Thursday.

    Am I bitter? On this subject, you bet I am!
    Giving lots of money does not mean you are sacrificing financially! And giving a meager amount can definitely be a financial hardship.

    Okay, I'll step off my soapbox now too!

    And I do agree with Diana about the volunteering, I know when I was on a Church Committee it was the same thing, all the same faces all the time, it can be disheartening.

    And, no, not every Sunday is like this, it's just this one Pastor, I'm in a much more spiritual frame of mind when I get one of the other priests!
    I know his job is to raise funds and keep the church running, but it's really too much.

    And, no, I don't think Jayden enjoyed it much at all, he enjoyed going and lighting a candle before Mass started, and he enjoyed some of the songs, but he was looking to leave!

    Thank you everyone for visiting and thank you for your input!
    Love, Eileen

  13. G'morn Eileen ~ I think if you spoke directly with your pastor it would be far more appropriate & effective than saying nothing at all to him. We attend Mass & our pastor will do a one to two minute discussion on the need for/or finances & is a very impacting speaker, the message is clear without the 'hammer'. You are doing both yourself & your pastor a disservice by not speaking directly to him.

    Have a beautiful first day of autumn. TTFN ~ Marydon