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Parish life

    Dear Edith

    Starving at Church Response #1 – Jacque

    When Parish life leaves you feeling dry --

    Dear Starving but Wanting to Stay,

    There is a letter by J.R.R. Tolkien written to his son, to which I refer frequently because of Tolkien’s eminent reverence for the Eucharist; but Tolkien also gives his son a piece of advice that I think about often and find appropriate to share here:

    “I can recommend this as an exercise (alas! only too easy to find opportunity for): make your communion in circumstances that affront your taste. Choose a snuffling or gabbling priest or a proud and vulgar friar; and a church full of the usual bourgeois crowd, ill-behaved children – from those who yell to those products of Catholic schools who the moment the tabernacle is opened sit back and yawn – open necked and dirty youths, women in trousers and often with hair both unkempt and uncovered. Go to communion with them (and pray for them). It will be just the same (or better than that) as a mass said beautifully by a visibly holy man, and shared by a few devout and decorous people. It could not be worse than the mess of the feeding of the Five Thousand – after which our Lord propounded the feeding that was to come.”

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    Dear Edith

    Dear Edith: Starving but wanting to stay

    Dear Edith Starving but wanting to stay at your Parish

    Dear Edith,

    A recent move has landed my family 20 hours away from home. We now find ourselves in the rural south, in the middle of the “Baptist belt.”

    The Catholic parish is very small, and I am embarrassed to admit this but I absolutely hate the parish life. I’ve disliked priests before, but never to this extent.

    Our pastor is a good man, he’s faithful and is available for all the sacraments; my dislike is totally a clash of personalities. I also disagree with the way a lot of things are done within the liturgy. Often things are included and made a part of the mass that have no business being a part of the celebration (for example, once a month we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to everyone who is celebrating their birthday that particular month).

    I’ve worked in professional ministry settings for the last 7 years and I have a degree in Theology and Religious Education. I think this is partially why I get so frazzled. I volunteer at the parish, helping where I can, but I’m not in a position to “fix” anything.

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