I tried to do a Novena to God the Father. Tried being the operative word. It was scheduled at the same time as Mission at St Greg's - the experience was terrifiying and overwhelming. I am not a social person.
I tried to sequester myself during breaks, didn't work. Always had someone trying to talk to me, even during breaks, when I would try to read and get some "me" time. I was not allowed to do that. I told one guy to leave me be - he did for a bit and then came back and wanted to talk. It was all about their needs and wants....not the "candidates" needs. If they wanted you to talk - you talked, no matter what you wanted.
If it had not been for Father Leon and Father David, I would not have made it through. But I sort of promised them I would go -so I did. It almost cost me my faith in the Church ( but not in God). I seriously considered leaving the Catholic Church again.
One of the speakers started off great....and went off on a tangent about what folks whose churches closed were upset about. WAY off! but it opened wounds I had thought were healed. I was in tears for hours, and spent much of the next day ( about 5 hours) in prayer. Helped some - but then Friday they did skits that mocked people and things. I was the target of one and those of us who lost their parishes in the journey of faith and grace as they call it, were the target of another. Father Leon was a target of a third.
I left - I find mocking people to be immoral - and mocking people in pain worse. I was too upset to drive and went into the women's bathroom to cry and try to calm down.
Now men, a word to the "wise" here - if a female goes to the bathroom to cry She.Does.NOT.Want.You.To.Follow. Just in case you didn't know.
But one of the deacons did just that - followed me into the bathroom, because he wanted to "talk" . Notice that? He wanted. And he carefully placed himself between me and the door. And me and the nearest stall. I was effectively pinned against the sink because He wanted to talk. Not Good.
He "convinced" me to go back and sit. Where he "talked" some more and then he left and the guy I mentioned in the first paragraph came over to see if I was ok. Not bad, but not comfortable.
Another thing you should know is that I did not eat all week...I literally had less than 1,000 calories all week, and lost 13.5 lbs. This did not sit well with anyone- except me.
My love of Father Leon is in tact. My love for Father Dave is in tact. My Love for my God is in Tact. My faith in men in general - not so much. But I don't have to worship them, thank God.
The following is what I posted on Sparkpeople.com about the week and today's aftermath:
Some of you know how I struggled with Mission...it was not something I enjoyed, but I made it through - because of a promise to a priest I love. But the reaction I had to much of what went on was NOT what Mission was intended to be. In fact, I considered leaving the Church because of some of the things that happened.
Tonight I went to church in a new parish, simply because it was the parish of the priest whose talk hurt me the worst. ( He made some off hand remarks about the parishes that closed, that re-opened the hurt of loosing the parish) Now, it may sound weird but after Mass, after praying especially for this priest and several others during Consecratoin, I wanted to go thank this same priest for taking the time to go talk to us at Mission..for doing the hour long drive each way simply to talk for 30 minutes or so.
What a healing experience! When I walked up to him after Mass, he grabbed my hand and held it the entire time we were talking - asked how the Mission went and I explained to him some of the issues I had,,,,No I did not tell him that it was his talk that hurt, but I did tell him that it was "One of the speakers" because he asked in so many words. Horrified would be a good way to describe his reaction...so I know he did not mean to hurt. I found myself talking to him for a good 15 minutes and in doing so seeing this priest as a gentle and loving shepherd. He urged me to talk to the priest who heads up the Church where I went through Mission and tell him of my concerns ( not going to happen) ---but it was one of the most healing conversations I have *ever* had. Simply seeing how concerned this priest was about someone he did not even know. God has blessed this parish with a wonderful shepherd
And yes, I am extremely Thankful for this priest's effort to be there - he did not have to and did it to teach us, the willing, the unwilling, good soil and bad and even the hurting. An hour each way. His entire evening for folks he did not know and would likely never know. Good man to do that.
I am going to make the trip to his parish again, it may well become another on the list of "fall back churches" where we go - when we don't know where to go. He is that impressive- and his sermons are not bad either.