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    Dear Edith

    Starving at Church Response #3 – Andrea

    Dear Edith Response #3 -- FemCatholic.com

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    Dear Starving But Wanting to Stay,

    I have been there, too, and I hear you!  Oh, have I been there.  

    We are a military family, and we move quite often.  One of my biggest worries with each move is what our next parish will be like.  We have lived in those tiny Southern towns with one Catholic parish, overseas with maybe one or two options in English, and — currently — in a diocese where questionable things going on in the liturgy is more commonplace than not.  

    So, let me share with you a few things that I have learned along the way.  

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    Dear Edith

    Starving at Church Response #2 – Kyla

    Dear Edith Starving but wanting to stay Response 2 Kyla -- FemCatholic.com

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    Dear Starving,

    I saw your letter a few weeks ago. I wasn’t exactly planning on responding to it, but it’s been sitting in the back of my mind ever since and this feels like something that I should write back to.

    The reason why I wasn’t planning on responding is that I don’t exactly see what the problem is. I don’t want to say that in a dismissive way – I am not in your shoes, in your parish. I am sure that the culture surrounding the church is different than what you have grown in. I do not see all the things that the priest is or isn’t doing. So please, do not think that I am trying to minimize your feelings.

    You can go to a church anywhere in the world and experience the same mass in community.

    The word “Catholic” means universal. Its one of the things I love most about our faith. You can go to a church anywhere in the world and experience the same mass in community. Now, that community is very important. We are a part of the body of Christ – one body, universal, one in love and one in community. I can imagine that that becomes even more important in places where Catholics are a minority, such as this bible belt region you are speaking of. So gathering together to, say, sing Happy Birthday and celebrate life as a community… I think that’s a joyful, wonderful thing. The parish in my parents hometown, the one I grew up in – we would sing Happy Birthdays. We would also have people come up for blessings depending on the occasion – students for the beginning of school, couples celebrating anniversaries, and others – and we would bless them as a community. I thought it was awesome as a teenager – I was participating in sharing the bounty of God’s Grace with others.

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    Dear Edith

    Starving at Church Response #1 – Jacque

    When Parish life leaves you feeling dry -- FemCatholic.com

    Read the original question here.

    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 --FemCatholic.com

    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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