October 28, 2010

Emotion and Anger

Monday evening, I went to the parish meeting about our merger. My regular readers, all 5 of you!, know that my parish is scheduled to merge with another effective January 1st. I'm hopeful and totally convinced it's for the best. I remain so and I remain as much of a freak in my belief as I am on any given Sunday with my mantilla and Sunday dress on.

Anyway, I went to the meeting. I know!

The meeting was long on emotion and anger, short on reason and logic. I expected it; but I was still unprepared for the vitriol of some of my brothers in Christ.

The dissident block made an appearance. Let me give you some background. About 10 years ago, the parish got a new priest who essentially told the out of control music director his services would no longer be needed. He also told the choirs that Mass is not an concert and they needed to, uh, reign it in. He also started celebrating the Mass according to the rubrics and with reverence. Well, a lot of people got mad and left. However, a few of them hung around for seemingly no other reason then to try and make everyone else as angry as they are. They rarely attend Mass at St. Andrew anymore but when they do come around they waste no opportunity (if there isn't one they make one) to insult the former pastor and gripe. So, there they were again, taking the mic, making under the breath gripes about the former pastor (who retired a few years ago) and how mercenary the Archdiocese is and wah, wah, wah.

I have never had, nor do I still, had any patience for this type of wallowing and I decline all invites to these pity parties. Get on with life or get the (expletive) out.

But, sourpusses are never happier than when they perceive there is an audience for their poison. I kid you not, some of them only showed up to take the mic for their comment and then they left. That just sums up their entire life. Make everyone mad, walk away, and let someone else shovel up your crap.

Some people wanted to believe Monday night that the merger was all about the money. I disagree. At 42 I am in the one of the younger demographic blocks in the parish and scanning the Church Monday night, I'd say the average age was 60. That is the view at Mass too. We are not adding younger members fast enough to outpace funerals. Most of the surrounding neighborhood does not belong to the parish-they don't worship anywhere.

Some have stated they refuse to go along with the merger. They will never attend Mass at the receiving parish. That is unfortunate. There is a chance we could save our building and keep it open but if everyone refuses to even talk with the receiving parish then we are done. With no voice for St. Andrew at the new home, start pricing the bricks and interior now.


Blogger nazareth priest said...

That's just nasty, Miss Cathy.
Oops, sorry...
I know exactly what you are talking about.
Hope there is some light at the end of the tunnel there, eventually.

October 28, 2010 2:09 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Do you suppose they attend Mass anywhere after they left?

October 28, 2010 7:21 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

A couple have told me they do but did not mention where.

October 28, 2010 7:58 PM  
Blogger ArchAngel's Advocate said...

If they're mad now, wait unitl the 1st Sun day of advent 2011 when the new Missal goes into effect!

October 28, 2010 8:27 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Crap! If I had known it was open mike nite I would have gone! I think I have nearly perfected "Wind Beneath My Wings" the 'thank you' ending just rips my heart out. I'm pretty sure the entire room would've been in tears.

October 28, 2010 10:14 PM  
Blogger Tancred said...

There are always alternatives.

October 28, 2010 10:48 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

And this is the reason I am no longer interested in doing anything other than go to Mass, do my tithe duty, and leave.

The years with the SSPX and all the crud at my current parish is not something I ever want to participate in ever again...

October 29, 2010 12:19 AM  
Blogger Angela M. said...

For a moment there I thought you were talking about my parish! The same 10 dissident feminist 1970s leftovers wrote to Father and the council every time we made a peep about renovating our round church to something well, less round. Finally the church reno is underway and the polyester dinosaurs are still fighting us. Only now they've gone underground infiltrating the women's league and poisoning their minds. Father is very angry! Unfortunately there is no other Catholic church for these women to go to so we are stuck with them.

Oh, and the commenters at your parish open mic....they are seagulls - fly in, crap on everything and then leave.

October 29, 2010 12:54 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

AA: I know!

Ter: I know I would've been crying. lol

Tancred: I know

Auntie: Some days I feel like I wish I knew no one and volunteered for nothing.

Angel Baby: Polyester dinosaurs? Seagulls? ROFL. I think you know the people I'm talking about! :-)

October 29, 2010 9:33 AM  
Blogger Fr. Andrew said...

Your comment about the age distribution highlights the true need for Evangelical Renewal fueled by a New Pentecost as part of any pastoral planning. In my own diocese as we have been looking at numbers: overall American age distribution and attendance especially, it is clear that things will be difficult in the next 50 years. But no one talks about it and they just want their own convenient life to continue on... I weep, not for the Lord, but for us.

October 29, 2010 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Dear Cathy -

Stay the course. You have the right attitude. We heard the same kind of negativity and attacks on the Bishop during our merger process, and it only makes a painful situation much worse. Our Bishop explained that money in the bank is not the only reason to keep a parish open - we had to have a thriving sacramental life, and he had to use the priests at his disposal most effectively. I expect it may be the same in your Archdiocese.

There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I pray you are rewarded with a wonderful, loving newly-merged parish with a fine pastor, as I was. I will pray for you and your Archdiocese, but your people need to pray for your Archbishop, whether it is easy to do so or not.

Blessings from the Cleveland Diocese

October 29, 2010 12:29 PM  
Anonymous L. said...

Ohmygosh-Terry's comment made my day!:)

I'm praying for all of you at both parishes. We'll be receiving SA, but I haven't heard any grumblings yet.

October 29, 2010 1:28 PM  
Blogger Charlotte said...

I wish you would write a blog post about your experiences with SSPX. In fact, I would host it over at my blog, and let you do it anonymously, if you wanted.

October 29, 2010 6:08 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

Cath - hi!!

(I really don't have anything to add, but I wanted to say hi. Plus, I'm older than you, but not nearly as old as Terry.)

October 29, 2010 9:47 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Merges can work, and I hope your parish will work it out. Two small churches merged in a nearby town: between them there was a school and two churches. Now there is a school with the name of the first church and a church with the name of the second church. Everyone seems happy. There is no rancor. And the folks in the second parish got access to the school which is another plus.

As for age demographics, I guess it depends on where you live -- or perhaps where I live is not typical. I would have to deliberately sit and count to say what the distribution is for certain, but mostly what we have in our mission church are entire families -- the parents, children, and grandparents. Often they take up an entire pew. Perhaps it helps that we have no other outlets for amusement in town for our young people than the catechism classes, which tend to be pretty full. Something to be said for tiny towns. (Oh, and no crime here, either -- because of the size? because of the church/mission?)

Will say some prayers for your situation, that you might all find a win-win outcome and bury the hatchets that some seem to be bringing out of the woodsheds.

October 30, 2010 3:35 AM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

LarryD: Nobody is as old as Mr. Terry! (LOL!!).
Just kidding,
but really...
we have to just pray, hold tight, and trust in the good Lord, His Holy Mother, and the Holy Spirit.
Man's ways are not as God's ways.
We cannot ever forget this.

October 30, 2010 4:20 PM  
Blogger Georgette said...

Hugs, (((((Cathy)))))). Hang in there, hon. I'm praying for you and your pastor and parish!

November 01, 2010 12:33 PM  

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