Sunday, 1 January 2012

If there's a vacancy, I'd like to apply

After Christmas Mass in a Protestant Liberal Catholic church I picked up a copy of the parish newsletter on the way out.

I like to see what is going on in mainstream Catholicism in the same way that I like to remind myself that eating large quantities of saturated fat clogs up the arteries and leads to a premature death!

One feels most virtuous at shunning things that are bad for one's health, like Krispy Creme Doughnuts and liturgical dances.

So, on scanning this exciting bit of puffery, my eyes ran down the  rota of duties within the parish. You know the sort of thing, "Wednesday afternoon, church cleaning managers will be Mrs Beryl Equal-Opportunities and Mr Mustapha Reception-Byhand".

The list covered not only cleaners but also servers, "Ministers" (by which was meant Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion), readers and welcomers.

Come again?.......Welcomers?.......Welcomers? 

What on earth are ****bleep****  Welcomers when they are at home?

"Welcome to Mass, friends, good to
meet you in the...flesh?"
I have never come across this designation before; I know about The Borrowers; possibly The Welcomers are little mouse sized folk who live in the Poor Box at the back of the church?

My mind runs riot (it's a wonder that it can run at all these days).

When you arrive for Mass are you perhaps met by a phalanx of professional leerers who mutter things like "Welcome to St Cheryl's, pleased to meetcha!"

Do they have to undergo any form of training for this highly demanding task? Do they perhaps have to pass a leer test?
Or practice shaking hands with a lettuce leaf?

It all sounds rather tempting and I rather fancy myself at being a Welcomer.

The model leerer - "Benvenuto Bambini!"
 My wife tells me often that I have a most attractive leer.
Is there any money in it I wonder?

I shall have to go into training......"Farewell my dears, so very nice to have made yer acquaintance I'm sure! So pleased to have metcha!"


  1. Reminds me of the Croydon Church I attended, where a woman opened the proceedings (Mass) with the words, "Good evening everybody! Welcome to St ***** Church. Our celebrant this morning/evening is Father *****."

    Very welcoming.

  2. I wonder if ALL the people at your Christmas Mass knew you looked on them as liberals and not worshipping God in an acceptable way. Perhaps some of them were sending up genuine heart felt prayers? God knows. ONLY GOD KNOWS.

    If you turned up at my parish Church (I often visit other Churches for Mass on Sunday) I would have you blindfolded, then escorted to a seat right at the front, so you wouldn't be able to sneak a peep at anyone else other than the Priest and altar servers during Mass.

    I would then have you give a talk after Mass, as to the love apparent amongst TLM preferers for the laity who have not yet encountered the Latin Mass. I would encourage you to speak of the love for your fellow Catholcs that inspires you to promote the TLM, wherever you go.

    It wouldn't be a lomg talk.

    Then i would invite you for coffee and biscuits with the Charismatics. You'll need your tambourine, they're a musical lot!

  3. Oh dear, a rather sarcastic and whinging post to begin the New Year; I do hope things improve :)

    Whatever they may be called, those who greet people who enter for Mass excercise an important function especially when a person is visiting a parish or attending Mass for the first time in ages and may have plucked up considerable courage to come home.

    It's not just the "liberals" who see the importance of such people. We are very fortunate to have the extraordinary form celebrated each Sunday in our diocese and there are always 'welcomers' on hand. They do a great job of easing the concerns of those unfamiliar with the EF.

    Have a great 2012, Richard.

  4. shadowlands, parepidemos - sorry, but I'm with Richard on this, and for the following reasons:

    1. I know that Jesus, as the Host (pun intended) welcomes me. I do not need any glad-handing from anyone.

    2. The Mass is about God, not about being chummy. I go to Mass to meet God, not people.

    3. I play flute, saxophone and violin. I have mildly arthritic fingers which I will not sublect to maltreatment from some beaming knuckle-cruncher who wants to demonstrate his manly grip.

    4. Said knuckle-cruncher has probably not washed his hands after going to the lavatory, reaming wax out of his ears, or whatever.

    If I seem rather nasty, please remember that not so long ago in England, though not in the U.S.A., my attitude would have been considered perfectly normal.

  5. Chris

    You don't have to be sorry for defendng Richard. I love Richard. I love fighting with him as well though

    You said:

    1. I know that Jesus, as the Host (pun intended) welcomes me. I do not need any glad-handing from anyone.

    Good for you and your soul Chris, knowing that. How do you know that? Someone told you. You might be the only someone, someone who doesn't know that, meets. So don't bury the knowledge of His love, shout it out!!!

    2. The Mass is about God, not about being chummy. I go to Mass to meet God, not people.

    And God on earth, in the Host, is about feeding man. Man is the most precious commodity in the universe. The building blocks of the Kingdom of Heaven will be made from man, God Himself became man and died for man. It's all about man, as far as God is concerned. No man, no sacrifice. John 3:16. Man is the gift offered to God, along with His only Son. Knowing this, is what frees us from 'self'

    3. I play flute, saxophone and violin. I have mildly arthritic fingers which I will not sublect to maltreatment from some beaming knuckle-cruncher who wants to demonstrate his manly grip.

    Fair enough, apart from judging the heart's intentions of the knuckle crusher.

    4. Said knuckle-cruncher has probably not washed his hands after going to the lavatory, reaming wax out of his ears, or whatever.

    Is your local parish next to a quarry or something? All these mucky knuckle crushers.....

    I know you are not really nasty Chris. You're just a bit of an inverted snob. Shine Jesus shine!! ;}

  6. If it just amounted to a handshake at the door it would not be so bad!But in my own experience it was so much more than that.Returning to Mass after many many years,I just wanted to creep in,sit in some dark and dusty corner,and then creep out again.Not possible!I was met with a row of "Welcomers".One thrust a local pastoral magazine in my hand which I refused(I had read it before and consigned it to the bin, several items being discussed within it, being against church teaching)One questioned me.Was I new to the parish or visiting etc.How could I answer without a lie?One asked me my name and promptly stuck a label to my jacket...explaining that it was "Name Day Sunday".I found my way to a pew eventually...but the crowning moment came at the sign of peace,when I was kissed (yes ,kissed)and cuddled and "WELCOMED" again.Now I do not doubt for one moment that these people are totally sincere,that they are good,honest catholics,more faithful,more "Christian" than I.But at that particular time all I wanted was to sit and wonder,it was after all between me, and the great God himself.I have to say that I am quite a private sort of person,some I guess would regard me as being not very sociable.I accept totally that criticism.Maybe,the welcomers approach would work for others.It didnt work for me.I felt as though I was entering their particular house and community ,instead of the house of God.Maybe, indeed I am just a particularly crusty person who finds it difficult to respond to that sort of outreach...who knows.


  7. shadowlands - I wasn't defending Richard, but explaining my own dislike of being fussed over and welcomed into God's House by other guests.

    And I am not a snob, inverted or otherwise. Like an old dog, I just do not like being handled by strangers.

    sandy - agree with you entirely.

  8. Sandy, all that can happen if you're a regular at a parish too. I don't like being made to feel a visitor in my own parish, just because the welcomer doesn't personally know me. Were I a visitor, I'd be truly put off by some of the enthusiasm. Although I don't mind being passed a hymn book with a smile when I arrive.

  9. I like the Anglican-style of the priest waiting by the door to greet the parishioners as they leave. I know some Catholics dont think it essential, but it helps a priest know his parishioners and vice-versa.

    This role being given to a parishioner may lead to the kind of snobbery others have warned of here, where that person becomes the "second in command" and the conduit through which we pass on messages to the priest.

    I like to get to Mass with no kerfuffle, no noise, no chattering, no good mornings within the church.

    When we all exit then there is plenty of time to nod a hello, shake hands and chat outside the church.

    Just my ha'pennyworth.

    Of course if we had traditional, solid dependable prelates we wouldn't have to chatter of the pros and cons, the decision could be made and we could all bend the knee in obediance.

  10. At our (NO) parish, the reader 'welcomes' people about 5 minutes before the start of Mass, tells them what page the Mass readings are on, and then invites them to prepare for Mass in silence. That was introduced by our PP, trying to reinstate some sense of the sacred.

    At the EF Masses we go to, people just turn up, keel down, and pray till Mass begins (and presumably keep doing so...)

  11. This is the ugly face of Catholicism. Uncharity so entrenched in this piece of writing which twists it into some form of devilish amusement and scorn. Nausiating...offensive to people who gather for the Lord in the EF and the OF.

  12. Sandy - I think you have provided evidence that sums up wonderfully. Thank you.

  13. Mmmm...Krispy Creme doughnuts. They have those in Wales?

    One fellow complained that he left the Traditional Latin Mass because the people weren't sufficiently "welcoming"; (they were likely too busy praying in the pews). Now he attends the Novus Ordo, where the "welcomers" greet him with a big smile, a handshake, and an invitation to doughnuts after Mass. I guess he's happy there...

  14. Left-Footer--LOL.

    Oh yes, we are a crusty, grouchy, uncharitable lot, aren't we! How thoughtless of us to kneel in the pews silently before Mass praying for the salvation of souls, rather than shaking hands and gabbing with the newcomers... :)

  15. Christine - no welcomers, a Latin Mass AND Krispy creme doughnuts afterwards; is that asking so much?
    God bless.

  16. Isn't it one of the joys of the Catholic Church in ay city that you can go to many different parishes but get the same Jesus.

    I don't mean flagrant liturgical abuse. That is obviously never called for.

    I find it hard to complain about someone either praying before mass or waiting at the door to say "hi" to me. If someone wants to fulfill their Sunday duty silently, fine; but it is alos fine that someone else is there 15 minutes beforehand greeting and 30 minutes after chatting and having coffee. Each parish has its way.

    I have been to at least 30 different parishes that were orthodox (OK, a few had minor abuses like lighting the altar candles at the oferatory) but the style of music and the before and after changed a lot between them without being un-Catholic.

  17. It's going to reach the point where there'll be so many people doing "stuff" that there'll be one person in the pews as the token layperson. Acting in persona laicus.

    As for the welcomers - usually nice people trying to help but I have the same reaction to the shop assistants who increasingly bug one in shops ("Need and help there?" "Yes, of course. I'm in my mid-40s and I'm such a moron that I can't buy anything without help")