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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Parish life in 2014...dismal at best



I’m not a cradle Catholic.  I fell in love with the Catholic faith because of its immense beauty.  Beauty that I found in its Sacraments, writings, architecture, stained glass windows, Gregorian chant, complete Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, Catholic hymns, incense, rites, ornate altars and vestments, Holy Water/Oil, sacramentals, devotions, feast days and the order and reverence of the Mass.  All the big and little things that set the Catholic faith apart from any other Christian faith.  

It was all the things that made the Catholic Church catholic that drew me in.  I wanted it.  I wanted to BE a part of the only Church Jesus Christ created on earth and I wanted all the things that made it Catholic.  Even before I was officially Catholic I set about immersing myself in all things Catholic.  I bought hundreds (literally) of Catholic books.  I bought Catholic statues, Holy cards, incense, crucifixes, rosaries and candles.  I transformed my home into a Catholic home complete with a home altar and kneeler.  

As a convert to the Faith, there was a great deal I was ignorant about.  I’m not talking about the Dogma’s and doctrines- I studied those intently before becoming Catholic and I know that is an ongoing education.  I am talking about being totally ignorant of parish life.  

I thought, one Catholic parish was as good as another because the readings would be the same, the Rubrics in place (I assumed all priests naturally followed them), all Masses would be the same- that is what I ignorantly thought.  

In reading hundreds of books about the Catholic Faith, not once did I read about Catholic parishes that didn’t seem Catholic.  Not once.  

When I joined RCIA back in 2006, I had already spent years educating myself in the Catholic Faith.  I read the catechism, books on Saints, Papal encyclicals, Papal Bulls, the Vatican II documents and anything else I could get my hands on.  I talked to priests and nuns and other converts and educated Catholics.  I contacted EWTN and they answered my questions in email and on television shows like The Journey Home.  I wanted to know what the Church was all about BEFORE I joined RCIA. 

Because I had educated myself, I knew right away there was something very wrong with the RCIA program in my parish.  I should mention, that at the time my town had ONE Catholic parish- so I didn’t have a variety to pick from and it probably wouldn’t have occurred to me to “shop around” for a Catholic parish- I thought that was a protestant thing and again, I thought all Catholic parishes were the same.  So I joined the local Catholic parish for three reasons 1) I thought they were all the same, 2) I wanted a Catholic parish where my children would attend religious education with their school friends and 3) I wanted a close local parish where I could easily volunteer and participate in activities (I had always been active in my Baptist community and wanted to do the same as a Catholic).  

Now, back to my RCIA experience.  The RCIA at the time (it has now changed DRAMATICALLY for the better with new leadership), had a “group team” of RCIA teachers (about a dozen) who all taught RCIA together as a group effort.  Not a single RCIA instructor in that group had read the Bible or knew the Scriptures.  They even admitted that to me.  

The RCIA director told me I “scared the hell out of her” when I joined because I could quote Scripture and knew where it was in the Bible without having to look it up (something every Baptist child has instilled in them throughout their childhood).  During RCIA, when a question came up about something in Scripture I had to find it for them and not one of them could tell the Catholic interpretation of it.  This was extremely disappointing to me because I had/have a great love of the Scriptures.  So from the beginning, Sacred Scriptures was basically off the table for RCIA class.  But the worst was still to come.  Apparently, I knew more about the Catholic faith than any of the dozen teachers I had.  Each one of them attempted to teach me that 1) women would one day become priests, 2) birth control was a personal choice to be made with your own conscience and 3) absolutely NO discussion on abortion, morning after pill (hot topic at the time here in CT) or how a Catholic should vote politically on these issues was EVER to be allowed in any RCIA discussion.   

The liberal RCIA instructors would simply not allow the Church’s official teaching on these things to be taught.  I was only a few months into the RCIA program when I had my first fight with all twelve RCIA instructors over women priests.  At first, they gave me that sympathetic look that said “ignorant convert-to-be just doesn’t understand yet”.  They even gave me a condescending smile that said “just you wait; you’ll see women priests one day”.  But God intervened in that class. 

While I was sharing with them what the catechism said and what Pope John Paul II had written on the subject, our parish priest walked in.  The RCIA director (sure she was correct and I was wrong) waved Father over and said something like “Father, we’ve had a discussion come up that we’d like you to clear up for us.  We were discussing the possibility of women one day becoming priests.  I’m sure Julie would like it if you could clear this up for her.”  And she sat back fully expecting me to be put in my place for daring to argue with the entire RCIA staff.  I smiled to myself because I knew what was coming. I knew this priest was an orthodox priest- I'd already had a LONG detailed meeting with him about the Faith.  

Father said something along the lines of: “Women can never be Catholic priests; this is not something that can change.  The Church does not have the authority to ever ordain a woman a priest.  Jesus Christ created a priesthood of men…” and he went on to talk about the typology of the Levitical priesthood, the twelve Apostles and some quotes I can’t recall anymore.  

That RCIA director was furious.  I could nearly see steam coming off her head.  You see, she has a brother who is a priest (liberal priest) who for decades taught her these errors.  As soon as Father left the room, this [now retired] RCIA director said “Father is just giving his opinion; women WILL one day be priests”.  She refused to be corrected by anyone – even her own priest.  This woman was the RCIA director in my parish for nearly thirty years teaching these liberal things to everyone who walked through those parish doors.  So it’s no wonder my parish is as it is today.  And that is what I want to talk about.

When my family and I began attending our parish, we attended the Saturday Vigil Mass (this was familiar to me because as a child I attended the Vigil Mass with my paternal Catholic grandparents at least monthly even though I was raised Baptist).  The Saturday Vigil Mass was (to me) affectionately called the “old people’s Mass” because it was very reverent, had organ music and we sang beautiful Catholic hymns.  

The Sunday Mass’s had/have bongo drums, a Grand piano, sometimes guitars etc, and never any organ music and rarely old Catholic hymns.  It’s more like a rock concert complete with people swaying and tapping their feet in the pews. 

I avoided the Sunday Mass the best I could for years. 

Then a few years ago, my parish was “yoked” to a parish in another town, and our beloved devout priests were moved to other parishes.  Now we have one new priest for our two yoked parishes, no Vigil Mass at my parish, no confession at my parish and he’s added “the children’s liturgy” -where just before the readings he calls up all the children ages 3 to 8 for a blessing then sends them down stairs for their own liturgy.  The kids climb over people trying to get out of the pews, race up to the altar where they are blessed then they race down stairs where they laugh, make loud music and talk loud enough that those of us upstairs hear all they are doing down stairs.  Then DURING the Consecration, while we are on our knees looking at the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity being held up by the priest, the children come racing back upstairs and begin climbing over kneeling people trying to get to their parents while waving in the air the pictures they colored during their 'children's liturgy'. 

Chaos.  

The reverence is nearly non-existent now.  The Holiness of the moment is broken as all eyes stop looking at Jesus and turn to the children.  The moment is lost.  It’s all very disruptive, yet in our parish bulletin I noticed this week it said the “children’s liturgy has been very successful”.  For the life of me, I can’t imagine what anyone could find “successful” about that chaos and loss of reverence.  And I wonder WHO has determined its success and what standards were used to come to that conclusion?

But it’s not all the fault of the newly instituted “children’s liturgy”.  As I’ve mentioned above for years now I have failed to find reverence at the Sunday Mass.  The ushers talk before and during Mass- during the Consecration and after Communion when people are kneeling and praying.  They jingle the change in their pants pockets, talk about sports and the weather all through Mass.  They are clueless to what is going on at Mass and they don’t seem to care at all if they bother the people trying to worship at Mass.  If you look at them [the ushers] and catch their eye to say “hey, I’m praying here” they look at you WHILE they continue talking.  No reverence, no respect and no basic common courtesy for others.  They’re a void.

My parish is small.  We have small stained glass window inserts in large clear windows.  My parish is made of concrete blocks painted off white.  There are some statues and a few paintings a parishioner painted years ago that hang on the wall.  The altar is wood- the original marble altar lost years ago during renovations (no one can answer how the altar was “lost” or where the relic that was inside it went).  We have no relic in our altar now.  The Tabernacle is simple and plain- I hardly think it does justice to the One it contains. 

There isn’t much in my parish that says “This IS a Catholic parish”.  As a matter of fact, it could easily be mistaken for any number of non-Catholic communities if it weren’t for the Sacraments themselves.  Just looking at or seeing the Mass said in this parish, has nothing to distinguish it from so many others- not with the bongo drums, folk music, “children’s liturgy” and complete lack of reverence for the Eucharist.  The “catholic” in this Catholic parish is sadly lacking. 

You might wonder why I don’t leave. 

That’s a good question and one I’ve asked myself nearly every week in 2014.

Why do I stay?

The Sacraments are valid. 

It’s local. 

It’s where my children were Baptized and Confirmed and where we all entered the Catholic Church together.  We’ve got history here and good memories and people we love attend here. 

I teach RCIA and some years CCD in this parish.  The new RCIA director who knows I’ve been considering leaving has asked me to stay and continue teaching RCIA because I am the only other instructor she has. 

And because of my own personal history in RCIA, I feel compelled to teach, to make sure NO ONE else is taught the errors that for years had previously been taught at this parish by other [now gone] RCIA instructors.  If I stay, maybe I can make a difference. 

I’ve taught 7th grade CCD for a few years and those children and sadly their parents knew almost NOTHING of their Faith.  They didn’t know how many Sacraments the Church has or what they are.  They honestly thought the ONLY time a person should or needs to go to Confession is during Lent.  They believed you just saved up all your sins till Lent to confess them.  They didn’t know what Purgatory was and most of them couldn’t name a single Saint besides the Virgin Mary and the Apostles.  Most couldn’t remember basic Catholic prayers- hadn’t even heard of the Hail Holy Queen and didn't pray daily.  These were children who had been going to CCD for YEARS and would soon be preparing for Confirmation and they were clueless because no one had properly taught them their Catholic Faith.  I remember my youngest daughter in CCD class playing HANGMAN on the chalkboard for class- they had to use Catholic words like “Sacrament” or “Holy Eucharist”, but it was still hangman.  THAT is how the children were taught their Catholic faith the year of their First Holy Communion- is it any wonder this parish is falling apart? 

So do I leave and parish hop till I find (IF I can find) a parish that has more reverence or do I stay and attempt to make a difference? 

My personality (if you haven’t noticed from reading my blog) is I am a fighter.  Years ago, before I created this blog, I was defending and fighting for the Faith on other Christian and Catholic forums.  On one of them, I was dubbed the dreaded “Catholic Pitbull” because I wouldn't back down or give up defending my Catholic beliefs and the name stuck for years.  I don’t like backing off a fight – especially when it’s over my Catholic Faith.  I can’t honestly remember the last time I “gave up” and moved on from something important.  I’m just not wired that way.  And I actually LIKE to fight.  Some people hate it, I like it.  I’m not talking about fighting with family or co-workers, I mean fighting for or about my Catholic faith to defend it and my beliefs.  I like confronting error and I’ve got no problem telling someone “You’re wrong and here’s why…” 

I have a huge problem knowing someone is wrong about the Faith and not doing or saying something about it – like my old RCIA director attempting to teach me and everyone else in that RCIA classroom years ago her liberal views.  I didn’t care that I was a Baptist on the way to becoming Catholic and she was a cradle Catholic who had been teaching RCIA for decades.  She was wrong and I wasn’t going to shut up about it even though I “caused a scene” during class because I wouldn’t accept what she and the other instructors were teaching us.  I don’t think it’s in me to EVER walk away from that sort of situation.  

I can’t change the priest and his love of folk music, bongo drums, children’s liturgies, telling jokes at Mass and giving homilies while walking among the pews like a televangelist on TV.  He’s a different breed of priest – and I don’t like it one bit. My heart aches for an orthodox priest who will TEACH the people to BE Catholic and to embrace our Catholic Faith rather than trying to make it more protestant like. 

What I can do is pray for my priest and parish to change. 

I can stay and share the Catholic Faith as I KNOW it to be.  The beauty of the Faith- of all of it; the parts that have been lost in my parish that the parishioners don’t even know they are missing.  I know and it bugs the heck out of me each and every time I attend Mass in my own parish.  We are being ripped off.  There is so much more God and His Holy Catholic Church have for us and these liberal priests are robbing us of it.  It infuriates me. 

So do I leave or do I stay and fight? 

For now… I stay and fight - but I honestly don't know how long I will last if things don't improve. 

I don’t know what 2015 will bring, but I am praying, sacrificing and offering Masses for a change in my parish.  It’s time the Catholic laity take back their Faith and DEMAND our clergy stop denying us the fullness of our Faith and the beauty of our Faith. 

In my personal experience and opinion, 2014 has been a TERRIBLE year in my parish, but I am hopeful that 2015 will bring answered prayers from God and amazing changes in my parish and our priest.  I hope good things will happen in your parishes too.


May God bless us all in 2015.



In Christ,



Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner




26 comments:

Annmarie Skaggs said...

Julie, I am a cradle Catholic and I'm in the same situation as you in my parish. I teach my children all that my church leaves out. I refuse to let happen to them what happened to me. I have taken my birthright back,my Catholic faith.Like you I'm fighting the good fight! May God bless all of us who struggle with this.And may He Bless you abundantly in this most important work you are doing. Love and prayers.

Patricia said...

Julie,

I am a cradle orthodox Catholic, somewhat rare for my age of 48, and I have been on both sides of this issue. Sometimes my family and I have stayed and fought, and sometimes we shook the dust from our feet when things got too bad. No one should ever judge another person for his or her decision in this regard. When it is not a danger to the state of one's faith, staying and fighting can be a heroic thing to do. When staying demoralizes you or even becomes an occasion of sin or dangerous to the faith formation of one's children, finding better pastures may be the wise decision. No one but you, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit through prayer, can make that choice.

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Thank you both for your words of wisdom! I will continue to pray about the situation and cling to the hope that things will improve, but if it gets worse... I don't know if there is anything to be gained by staying.

Again, thank you both for your words of wisdom.

God bless you!

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

Kathy said...

We were at a parish like that and tried to fight. When they wouldn't let us have Children's Eucharistic Adoration, that was the last straw for us. I think many people in the office administration there (and quite possibly the priest himself) do not believe in the Real Presence.

Our biggest concern was the influence all those poorly catechized fellow parishoners were having on our children. When you're walking up to Communion and the people around you are chatting and chewing gum, they are no longer fit to be role models to children.

We left and haven't looked back.

Gary Adrian said...

Sadly, I gave up. I tried and just became demoralized. I guess I am not made of the same strong stuff you are. I ended up driving over 60 miles to an FSSP Latin Mass parish because it was the only parish with reverence, strong sermons, and everything else Catholic that has been lost at most parishes. I thank God for what that move has done for my faith. It has made me stronger and closer to God.

Steve Cherry said...

We moved for job reasons from a pretty good parish to a small parish in a rural area. I don't regret the move because it helped me get out of a very stressful job, but the lack of reverence here is appalling. We started looking for a better parish over four years ago and have visited the place we want to move to five times. Just before Christmas we found a house within a 10 minute walk to the Church. We're going over this Saturday to look at the house and have been pre-approved for a loan. The big hurdle will be selling our current home. God bless you for your willingness to stay and fight. I will continue to pray for our priests here, but I'm not going to stay if I can swing it.

TTC said...

Julie,

This is the story of nearly every parish in the United States. Sometimes it makes sense to stay and others it doesn't. Nobody with children under 18 should stay IMO.

Pope Francis adds a whole other dimension of chaos to making judgments about whether to stay or find a priest who pastors us with the our religion. It has already done a lot of damage in a little time. It remains to be seen if the situation will render parishes irreparable at present and we'll all just have to find shelter and stay there until it passes. It always does.

Happy New Year!!

Nate C said...

Julie,

Without a doubt you should leave that parish as soon as possible. I grew up in a somewhat conservative parish by Vatican II standards but when I got married we moved and decided to join the Catholic parish 5 minutes away that is very similar to what you have described where we experienced much of the same.

You should leave because I know what a distraction to your faith all these issues can be. The constant battling, the constant head shaking over irreverence and other nonsense, etc.

I sincerely hope you do not have children because they will/are being modernized, protestantized, and scandalized by all that takes place in parishes like these. It is your duty as a Catholic to protect them at all costs! Even if you don't, other families and children who respect you will assume that if you remain that all is well and okay - which obviously it is not.

You need to vote with your feet. You need to abandon this fruitless fight at a parish where your faith is being marginalized and your focus will never be completely on Christ.

At the parish I mentioned above we thought if we stayed we could be a good example, we thought if we got a new priest some day it would be better, we thought that God was calling us to endure it all... but for what? We made friends with a few good Catholic families from this parish but they like us - struggling to keep the parish Catholic!

We have children and when they were younger we had to deal with children's liturgy garbage and more.. but when the children reach the age for First Communion - watch out! Don't expect Fr. Nice or anyone else to allow them Holy Communion on the tongue.. I could tell you stories!

We drive 30 minutes every Sunday and Holy Day to an old inner city parish where the priests are very orthodox and reverent now. They have a Novus Ordo Mass by the rubrics & without altar girls or EMHC's. Holy Communion is offered standing or kneeling (Communion rail style).

They also have a Vetus Ordo (Latin Mass) every Sunday too! My family attends the Latin Mass as it is the closest thing to heaven on this earth! We have had different priests which effects the Novus Ordo sometimes but the Latin Mass remains the same.. but this is a different discussion.

Bottom line is, I stopped going to Mass and leaving discouraged. I stopped feeling like I had to protect my children from scandal, like I was constantly fighting a battle! The families I knew from the other liberal parish? They all left eventually too!

You're trapped in a bubble where all you know as a Catholic is this fight, when you escape it you'll look back and wonder why you didn't leave sooner. You will be able to focus on Christ at Holy Mass without any of these distractions. You won't have this bottled up frustration that you are expressing in this blog post!

I've never read your blog before but reading just this one post, you sound just like I did about 8 years ago. I shopped all the local parishes and I found that the most reverent & orthodox parish for Novus ordo also offered a Latin Mass every week. We eventually fell in love with the Latin Mass and it has changed our lives forever. Look like we did, find a parish like this! Ignore the negative stereotypes about traditionalist, they are not true!

Nate C said...

Sorry I missed the part where you did say you have children.. all the more important that you do not delay!

E. G. Lewis said...

Julie:
I thought of your blog post this morning at Mass. The couple in the pew in front of us brought their teen-aged grandson and he sat there texting and flipping through screens on his phone. When he grew bored with that he raised his arm and took a picture of the star-shaped Christmas banner, which covers the crucifix behind the altar, and then sent it to a fiend. When we rose for the opening acclamation, he stood with his hands in his back pockets. I had to fight the temptation to lean forward and ask, "How many saints can you name?" Like Cardinal Burke, I grew up in the fifties...a time of richness and depth in the Church. How far we've fallen.

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Thank you everyone for all your amazing feedback. I am truly thinking over all your words of wisdom and praying on it.

To clear something up, my children are all older teenagers now and Confirmed. They can attend any parish they want, though currently we still attend Mass together where I teach. I've mentioned the possibility of visiting other parishes in nearby towns this coming summer when my current RCIA obligations are over. I'll keep you all posted and share our experiences here on my blog.

One more thing to add...since writing this I have written to my Bishop (he's a good Bishop) about the situation and I am praying and hopeful that perhaps he will step in and do something.

God bless you all and thank you again for sharing your own stories and wisdom.

In Christ,

Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

Discipula said...

I found this article on PewSitter, I don't usually have much time for blog reading but your article's title was eye catching.

I understand that you love the good fight, and appreciate it too, but understand that your children likely do not. My mother also loved the good fight, it brought the Irish spirit right out of her but the only thing we understood was that she was never happy, that the Church she described didn't seem to exist on this earth, and the one available wasn't good enough for her. What used to be we suspected had never really been except in mother's imagination. This contributed in part to my siblings leaving the Church, my older brother eventually came back, but the others might never.

Do not gamble with your children's souls. Flee, and shake the dust from your feet.

Therese said...

Julie, I had to leave. I had been in my old parish 25 years. I had met my husband there ,married , baptized our children, sent them to the parish school. As a cradle catholic ( now 49 yrs old), I had no idea of how little I knew the faith. only as I began to wake up did I realize that in all those years never once was a sermon on sin. on contraception, abortion, abandoning ones marriage vows was sinful behavoir , on why homosexuality could not be lived out and still consider oneself to be chaste. no sermon on being chaste for that matter. Only after our children became teenagers and left the faith. only after my husband walked out on me, with the ok from a liberal priest- who assured him he could get an annulment and get a 'do over". Only after my child- now an adult began living openly gay. At first I tried talking. I tried complaining. to the pastor who promoted a ministry for parents of gays, one that I had thought would be catholic- but then to my shock realized it was anti- catholic- condemning the very church I dearly loved. my love for the church had grown. for true orthodoxy , during my struggles. Having my prior parish priest assume that I- then a married woman both civilly as well as of course in the church- was after all -in a 'new relationship " as my adultering spouse was- he said to me directly. I could no longer stay,. Yes I complained to the BIshop but he offered no help. Instead- through the wonderful providence of God himself I had began to attend another parish two cities away- a non diocean run parish, run by an order, a conservative orthodox Catholic order of friars. I was Home. sermons from priests who really love the faith, and care about the salvation of their parishioners. A beautiful parish, with altar rails. with the tabernacle where it belongs in the center. statues of Mary, St Joseph, the Saints of the order. the masses are reverent and holy. confession available, and the long long lines. the confessors dont rush you but actually take time with each person to really scrub your soul clean and to even give a bit of spiritual counsel. So many times I walk out with tears of joy, at leaving behind my burden of sin. people come from all around, from much farther than I do to attend this parish. I called the old parish years ago and told them to take my name off the mailing list. and I joined the new parish as a parishioner. I am home and my faith has grown so much. I am thankful that I had the option to leave.

Edison Frisbee said...

I can only echo most of the advice already provided....I would vote with your feet (and wallet) and leave. Maybe if enough folks do so they'll get the message (doubtful though).
Ultimately you are only responsible for the souls of you and your children. I live in a very orthodox diocese(the best I've ever been in) but even here there are differences. I switched to a new parish because of a vastly improved liturgy (TLM and ad orientam novus ordo). My wife converted to Catholicism and has taken to it like a duck to water...not sure that would be the case at the previous parish.

Patty said...

Fighting for the Faith doesn't necessarily equate to fighting the battle on a liberal front with the fruit being increased exhaustion. Fighting for the Faith can also mean doing that which is necessary to cultivate the Faith in your own soul, Julie. Even the best and finest soldiers need to refuel.

The natural proclivity to fight - even for the Faith - can be a trap to negate your own spiritual needs. Letting these parishes fail by natural attrition, in my view, is often the most merciful thing to do as they seem intent by all the machinations of 'new this and trendy that' relying on human means instead of Faith.

So perhaps the fight is now best waged by leaving modernism to the modernists. And not financially supporting it.

Martin McDermott said...

Julie, 3 January, 2015
Stay, if you can, and keep fighting,teaching in your parish, with your guardian angel and all the saints helping you--and my poor prayers.
In the 1940's I attended St Thomas Sem.in Bloomfield, which was good and orthodox, then joined the Jesuits and live abroad. The later devastation you describe breaks my heart. Keep fighting and I'll pray.
Jesus will win but he needs help.
Yours, Martin McDermott, sj

Jim Chester said...

My family and I will be moving from the eastern part of CT to the western part of the state. We hate to leave our church, because it is everything a Catholic church should be. Does anyone know of a real Catholic church in the western part of CT?

Tom said...

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/09/10-years-without-michael-davies-ii.html

Michael Davies figured this out long ago. He began by fighting essentially the same battle.

Tom

JimC said...

I am a 'Roamin' Catholic. I grew up in Connecticut in the Archdiocese of Hartford. Things were in a state of flux because of really poor introduction of the Mass of Paul VI. We had good priests and bored priests. Sermons well they weren't memorable. Homilies on the readings were of the most basic type. There was little or no catechesis for those in the pews.

When I graduated UCONN I left for a career in the Army. Military Masses made Connecticut seem a hotbed of sound Catholicism -- which it wasn't. Army parishes seem to be run by out of control lay people who are all about a shared meal and fellowship and not so much interested in reverence and holiness. My experience certainly not representative, I pray, of the whole system.

Retired now in Kansas where I shop around and join a sound priest's parish until the archbishop moves him and sends in a 70's or 80's priest. Then I shop around for reverence and Orthodoxy and change parishes. Sad but true.

I really have angst on Sundays when I visit family in Connecticut because things have gotten worse. Most Masses seem rushed, poor homilies, and music featuring Marty Haugen.

So God bless all of you in the Archdiocese of Hartford as you suffer the purgatorial experience of Masses featuring poor liturgy, no reverence, crummy music, and bad homilies. I know there are good parishes out there but where I visit not so much except the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches.

Catholic girly said...

Julie,
Run for the hills. Times a wasting. All you will be doing is getting aggravated each time you go to Mass. When I went through RCIA 10 years ago (a revert) it had a lot to be desired. It was a half-hearted attempt by the Priest running it. When I taught CCD the same Priest stopped into the classroom to vist. I told him we were discussing martyrs and how they go straight to heaven when they die for the faith. He corrected me in front of the children saying that wasn't true, we don't know if they go to heaven or not. I was mortified, luckily in their next class I did a review and asked them what happens to martyrs and they yelled out "they go to heaven!!"
It took over 10 years to finally get a holy "administrator" (as Card Dolan likes to call them). He got rid of the childrens litury, he said it isn't liturgical. Yeah!
He deserted us after only 6 months, so now we will have a wait and see to see how our new administrator pans out. I will pray for you. Please pray for us!
PAX

D.O. said...

Yes, I totally understand your predicament. My husband and I have agreed to stay and have our children finish receiving the sacraments (2 are prepping for confirmation & next year our youngest will begin it), and we'll go from there. In the meantime, we are cutting our contributions to $5/week and will not be taking part in any functions other than what are required for their confirmations (these requirements are in themselves a disgrace: our kids are required to attend 2 weekend retreats during the year at a total cost to us of $210). So,
I am focusing on clarifying their understanding of what is right & wrong in both society and our Church, and they are smart - kids know Truth when they hear it, and they will know it. At our parish, there is a paid, busy-body woman who is the confirmation director, and the priest has now shown his true colors since he led the confirmation kids and parents on a new age type prayer: "now close your eyes, and focus on your breathing - just relax, and now focus on the sensations in your hands..." Really? Have we regressed this far in the Church? A few years ago we moved from a rather faithful parish in southern CA to a very lukewarm parish in SD. I had heard of, but never witnessed, these types of bizarre things. Apparently past bishops ordered people to stand during Communion, and moved all tabernacles off the altar. The new bishop has since reinstated kneeling during Communion, so I have hope he will put the tabernacles back. I think I will be writing him about this, too, since you said you'd be writing your bishop. I'll bet mine will be the only letter he has or will receive on the topic. Everyone seems to be so mindless around here in regards to their faith. I am a revert and God & Mary have led me to all the right stuff in learning my faith. No. 1 is the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, NUMBER ONE! Not No. 2, not out of the way so as to not offend those protestants, or be embarrassed about our "old, outdated" Catholic traditions. You are right, we are being RIPPPED OFF! I will be respectful, but I don't care if our priest is made uncomfortable when I tell him we cant see the tabernacle from the pews, and so now he sees me as a problem parishoner. I have asked God for the grace to not worry about how it appears when I stand up for our BIRTHRIGHT, OUR TRADITIONS, OUR LATIN, OUR LORD & HIS CHURCH!! God bless you in your struggles, Julie. Please pray for me and I will be praying for you!
Your sister in Christ,
Donna

K. said...

Hello Julie,

I started recently following your blog. This post spoke to me a great deal. After 7 years we switched to a new parish. I had a similar experience to yours. The ushers were obnoxiously loud, talking during the Mass. One of them was actually using a clicker to count how many parishioners were in the church. It was so loud and disruptive. When I gave them the "look" they got even louder. It was so difficult to focus on the Mass. The children's liturgy was so disruptive with children climbing over everyone and walking downstairs on those old creaky wooden stairs.

However, what bothered me the most were the constant homilies on politics and on who to vote for. Honestly!!! People could not wait to get out of the church and run others over in the parking lot. Nobody kneels after the Mass anymore. People talk before they even leave church ruining the prayerful time for a few faithful souls.

We are in a new parish now. It is far from ideal. My faith suffered so much. I feel I do not grow spiritually nowadays. This parish has also very liberal views on certain things, and I feel like some of the New Age practices have made their way there.

The sad part ... I loved the Masses said in my native country, which back then, was a communist country. The reverence, the depth of the homily, the unending respect for God... I was lucky to be able to attend a Mass in Latvia once. I was so amazed and so beautifully surprised at the depth and reverence of all those people attending a Mass. The church was so full people were standing outside on the stairs.

Anyway, just like many other readers here, I continue to search for a new parish. I am just waiting for my teen to receive her confirmation sacrament. There are many times that I rather watch the Sunday noon Mass on EWTN. I get so much more out of it than going to church (except for the Body and Blood of Christ).

I am so tired of people who are disrespectful. Just today, I sat next to a couple who took a piece of chewing gum in the middle of the Mass and chewed like cows in the field, and later went to the Communion. After the Mass, so many people walk out before even the priest leaves. The church is large and there is a huge echo there. People do not leave quietly. Instead, it reminds me of a market place.

Any suggestions for Western CT parish that will help my family grow in faith? I am willing to travel a reasonable distance.

By the way, I also love old books, particularly old prayer books. I find the prayers to be so respectful and so helpful.

K. said...

Small correction: It was not Latvia, but Lithuania. Sorry:)

Ever mindful said...

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

2Timothy 4:7

Christopher Schaefer said...

I'm seeing this for the first time 2 years later, so I hope people still get this comment in their email. My wife & I left our New Haven CT parish 3 1/2 years ago when the priest (Dominican!) gave a homily re. why there's "nothing special" about the Catholic Church. I had heard about St. Mary, Norwalk, CT so suggested to my wife that we give it a try. And we've been there ever since. We attend the Solemn High Traditional Latin Mass, which is their PRINCIPAL Mass @ 9:30 AM on Sunday. HOWEVER, even the "Ordinary Form" aka 1969 "Novus Ordo" Mass at 11:30 is like nothing you'll find elsewhere: people's parts sung to Latin chant, Scripture readings chanted--not read, Liturgy of the Eucharist done at high altar. We don't even HAVE a free-standing "table altar". The previous pastor got rid of it about 7 years ago, re-installed the communion rail. The 1:15 Sunday Spanish Mass is celebrated likewise. We think of this parish a a REAL "Vatican II parish", not the fake "spirit of Vatican II". We travel 35 minutes every Sunday to get there, but some people come as far as 2 hours away--every Sunday, from all over CT as well as New York. People are hungering for this. http://www.stmarynorwalk.net/

Connecticut Catholic Corner said...

Thank you Christopher for stopping by, commenting and sharing that info with me!
I do get emails from old post so I don't miss any comments. ;)

God bless you!

In Christ,

Julie

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