Thursday, August 18, 2011

What the Heck?

I once had a co-worker who said "What the heck?" quite often. And it was funny because she's a Spaniard so she's saying it in this crazy tone of voice. "Waaah the hhheck?" The kids picked up on it too and started saying it a lot. She once told me that she needed to cut it out, but I thought it was cute and indicative of her personality.

Today was a "What the Heck?" moment. We went down to the church to register. Incidentally, the fob works after it was dried out, which I figured it might. We get there and walk around the lot looking for the office. There's a school attached so I went to that office to get to the parish office. I walk in and the office worker asks "How may I help you?" I smile (sweaty and red from the heat of the day) and say "I'd like to register for your parish." But what happened next was...well I have no words other than "What the Heck?"

"You can't. We have registration after the 11 o'clock Mass on the first of the month. That's September 4. They provide you lunch and you watch a video about all the parish activities and fill out forms."

"Okay. Odd. So I can't register."

"No. I'd say it's not really odd, just different. It's how we do things."

"Can I at least fill out some registration form?"



"Because I don't have any forms."

I asked her another different question, tried to small talk a little to be nice, and promptly left with my "What the Heck?" moment.

Thinking it over, I remember why I don't volunteer anymore for parishes especially the office work. Not only are you mistreated (even though you're volunteering), but there's this bureaucracy that you have to get through. If you're new, your met with suspicion. If you've been there a while, you get treated better than everyone else especially if you volunteer for everything. And this is why people become Evangelical. For one thing they don't see the differences in theology as being important. For another, Evangelicals do not treat new people this way. They are ultra-courteous, informational, and want you to actually come. There's none of this "wait a total of a month before you can become a member of our parish" BS. And yes, it's total BS.

As I explained to Hubby in tears of disappointment, this church knows nothing about us. I'm almost 6 months pregnant. What if the baby is born pre-mature? We're in the hospital and there are no records about us whatsoever. There's no one to call or going to call to help us out. Sure I can get the sacraments from the hospital-assigned clergy, but the priest from my parish, who I theoretically should be building a relationship with, will not have our name, our phone number, or where we live anywhere on file. No volunteer from the church will be able to bring a little food to my family if we're shuffling between a hospital and home. Ask the local priest anything about us, and he would say "the ___family? Who are they?"

And that's how I felt. Like a total non-entity. Because some crazy office worker cooked up a grand plan to make people wait and basically go through a class in order to register with the parish. It's a bunch of BS; I tell you.

I'm a cradle Catholic and have thus far been a member of at least 6 parishes, 3 as an adult. I've also worked at one. I have never heard of anyone having to wait to register with a parish. I have heard about people getting nit picky about boundary lines, but besides that being prevented from registering is silly. So is withholding the sacrament of Baptism because of Lent, but that's more common.

After our "What the heck?" moment. I went to the public library to get a library card. The gentlemen who served us was friendly and nice. He got my card ASAP and directed me to the bottom floor which is entirely for the kiddos (nice library I might add). He also heard me talking about a drinking fountain to HB and told me that they were next to the bathroom's on the lower level too.

It was in total contrast to the church lady. This is totally sad to me. Here is a public servant who deals with crazies all day being nice to me and making sure that I'm taken care of. He was showing God's love. The church lady prevented me from registering. There was no open-arms there. This is supposed to be a church office where the love of Christ glows. I saw it shining in the public library instead.

Love the library btw. The area for kids is awesome. There's a play area. HB of course made for one of the computers and refused to do anything else. I think he's destined for an awesome career in computers/technical support.

So has anyone else experienced this waiting game before? I'd like to know if I'm totally out of the loop on the newest way to recruit membership.

Oh, and in case your wondering, I plan on calling and trying to speak to the priest or a priest at the parish. I plan on being simple, direct, and earnest. I want to register for the parish. If that seems to be a problem, I will probably go find the smaller church and write a letter to the parochial vicor or Bishop. It's entirely ridiculous to make a person wait to register. Registration is not a sacrament and shouldn't be treated like one.


  1. That makes me a little nervous... I hope we don't have to jump through hoops because there's no way we can usually be there at a certain appointed time as a family with Paul in class all day and then studying or working all the time and going with the girls by myself would be... interesting.

  2. Wow I have never heard of that either :-( Sorry you're dealing with that!

    Random side note... I used to end the phrase on a much worse note and in trying to cut out cursing (at least partly because of the kids, horrible I know) I started trailing off after and just saying "what the..." and now Kalila does it too. Its both funny and a little disturbing.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!