Going To Roman Catholic Christmas Mass With The Parents

I flew home to Maine for the holiday season with plans to hang out in the southern part of the state for the first and last legs of the trip, culminating in a highly anticipated New Year's Eve party, The Great Gay Gatsby Celebration at one of my friend's bars in Ogunquit where I should remember to stick with champagne, but alas, I am sure it will get messy.

For the middle part of my holiday vacation, I would be spending it with my family in the middle of the state which was -17 when I flew in. My family is  pretty low key, we all get along, and they are much warmer than the temperature.  The two older siblings still live in the same town we grew up in and have children as part of their heterosexual marriages.  Grandkids were checked off the list by them.  The other sibling (still older) is the other single kid in the family and he resides in New Orleans.  We both feel like we are off the hook to reproduce.  As the baby of the family, I think I'm of course the closest one to mom and like to be there as much as possible for her.

So when it came to Christmas Eve, I had the choice of going to a friend's house for a little gathering or join the two 'rents and go to 6 o'clock mass.  With the two older siblings busy with their families and the other spawn not in the state, it was up to me to accompany the 'rents to the Christmas celebration.  It was clear I did not have to go, but mom likes to hear me sing and often tells me she misses that so I delayed the party and jumped into the car to drive mom and dad to mass.

I don't mind mass, I actually ran the church choir at college for 4 years while I attended.  I wouldn't consider myself an Atheist, but I would label myself a nonpracticing Roman Catholic and an educated individual.  What I usually do when I go to mass is listen to the stories, sing, and try to figure out which pagan belief was absorbed and rewritten by "the church" to make the fable its own. 

As the mass went on with many shouts from a parishioner with Tourette Syndrome, I was wondering what the homily would be about.  While I scanned the crowd to see if the married man that hit me up on SCRUFF was in the crowd, the priest talked about upsetting news that we can find right at our finger tips.  With everything a click away, he said, it's very easy to lose hope.  He mentioned natural disasters, shootings, the economy, and to my shock the upsetting results of the election.  I think my jaw hit my hymnal.  I quickly looked around to see how the parishioners responded to that statement but no one was really visibly upset or shocked nor did they make any sign that they were in agreement.  I asked my parents later about the stance the Catholic church, the parish, and the priest all took on the election back in November.  Mom said that all the priest had mentioned about the election was that they needed to vote our conscience, vote what was in their hearts.  Mom said that was the most he had ever said about what side he favored.  Was this the case in most Catholic churches?  How did other priests say to vote in the election, if anything?

Mass continued and I skipped saying most of the generic melodic chants along with not doing the bread and wine communion ritual. 

All in all, I was able to sing some good Christmas hymns, the church did not burn down, and I did not burst into flames, but I know mom was happy that I went to mass with her and dad.

The things we do for mom.


Do you bite the bullet and go to church when you are home visiting? 

Do your parents expect you NOT to go?

And if you were the guy in the white button up sweater with blue trim, send me a message.

 

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As a practicing Roman Catholic, I can assure you the same thing happened in my church.  The Sunday before the election one of our younger priests fresh from the seminary said the exact same thing:  vote your conscience.  He reminded the congregation that there will never be a perfect candidate that lines up 100% with Catholic doctrine.  We needed to look in our hearts and follow our conscience and that neither he nor the Church could (or should) tell us how to vote. 

Also, I am sorry that others in our community have felt abandoned by our faith.  I get it.  I can see why and I don't blame you for feeling that way.  This is entirely the Church's fault.  However, that's not been my experience.  I continue to attend the parish I grew up in and have never been made to feel anything less than welcomed even after I came out.  As a rule, politics and most social issues stay off the altar.  The topic of homosexuality and LGBT rights have never come up in sermons or homilies.  Our priests are more concerned with preaching Christ's living example, of accepting the "Other/Outsider," and understanding the bible in the context of its times as well as applying its message to our modern day lives.  I guess that's why I stay.  I have a spiritual home in my church.

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3rd option = Ignostic.  clearly not enough going on in your world; Sunday morning could be for sleeping in.  Be it you live in a helicopter family.  You can pick and choose from a ready made religion but at night its your bed you sleep in, your taxes you pay.

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I also live in Maine. Also non practicing catholic. My mom was very accepting of me and very accepting of my husband. Back when the state was deciding if marriage equality was right for the state the Catholic Church spent so much time and money trying to make sure that we did not get the right to marry. My mother did not agree with the church, but she still believed in the religion. She was in her 80's then and not in good health. She wanted to attend mass at the Cathedral. How could I refuse my ailing mother who wanted to go to church. I did take her many times. She knew it was not easy for me to attend a church that did not want me. But it made her happy to attend mass with her second child. So to answer your questions, she did not expect me to go but she appreciated it that we went. To bad the church turned it's back on us, I don't believe that god would have, but the religion did!

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