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Author Topic: Recent encounter with two Priests  (Read 1353 times) Average Rating: 0
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SouthSerb99
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« on: March 06, 2008, 10:36:18 AM »

I wanted to ask some opinions here about some encounters I recently had with two Priests.  To begin with, I'm going to speak in general terms so as not to identify the individuals or Church they come from.

To begin with, my wife and I were recently asked if we would be Kum and Kuma (Godfather and Godmother) to another young Serbian couple we know.  The couple who was already married had no Godparents (long story) and wanted to know if we would Christen their daughter.  We agreed and were very excited.

They belonged to a different Parish than we did and this specific Parish had two Priests.  I knew one of them, but didn't know the other.

About two weeks before the Christening, I went to the Church with the father of my God children to chat with the Priest (as he had suggested). 

When we met the Priest, I greeted him in my customary way - kissing his hand.  My friend, who is sorely lacking in his belief in the Church (and other things for that matter), does not kiss the hand of the Priest when he greeting a Priest. 

Naturally, I disagree with what my friend does, but what surprised me was the Priests reaction.  He looked at my friend and said... "Do you see how you are supposed to greet a Priest... you have a lot to learn and maybe your Kum will teach you".

It was said, with a bit of anger and A LOT of pride.  It didn't seem right to me.  Am I wrong?  Although I totally disagree with how my friend greeted the Priest, to me it appeared that the Priest pride was hurt by not having his hand kissed and something about that rubbed me the wrong way.

The second issue happened with the second Priest at the Parish, immediately following the Christening.

As Kum, I wanted to pay for the Christening and the Church policy/procedure is that there are no set fees for a Christening, just donations.  I was told to give a donation both to the Church and the Priest.

I had prepared two envelopes with what I think was a very generous donation to the Priest and the Church.  I approached the Priest, gave him both envelopes and thanked him.

After about 10 minutes, the Priest walked over to me and said... "Listen, the old man at the front that opened up the Church also needs to get paid.  Did you give him any money"? 

Do which I responded, "no".

The Priest continued...

"Well, he opened the Church up for you and it is normal for you to give him twenty dollars".

I went to the back of the Church and thanked the old man and gave him $20.

Now, $20 does NOT break the bank, it does not even dent it, but again, something about the entire thing rubbed me the wrong way.  Not only was the Priest telling me I need to "pay" the old man, but he was telling me how much I was to pay him. 

In addition, I really think my donation to Church and Priest were quite generous, so I was taken a back a bit by the suggestion.  Any thoughts?  Am I wrong again?

Just wanted some outside thoughts.  Thanks.
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2008, 10:44:51 AM »

Hmmm....

1. As for the enounter and the kissing of the hand, has the priest had the debate with your friend before?  If he has, then the comment may have been part of an existing dialogue on the issue.  If I were you, either way, I wouldn't worry about it - let the priest deal with his issues before God, and don't let yourself be tempted to judge him for it, lest that become a stumbling block for you too.

2. As for the pay thing - I would have taken the gentleman's money from the donation you put in my hands, if I were him.  It seemed a bit tact-less.  Again, don't worry about it - thank the Lord for an extra opportunity to support His church, and don't let the encounter become a stumbling block for you.
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« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2008, 11:02:31 AM »

Yes.  I have to respond as to the gratuity issue.  I have been the Chanter for sacraments i.e. weddings, baptisms and if I'm available, funerals (I know funerals are not sacraments, strictly speaking) for my parish for over 30 years, now.  I do not receive a salary from the parish; God has blessed me with financial means.  However, I expect a gratuity for baptisms and weddings; recently I've increased the fee to 35 dollars.  I drive 15 miles to the church and devote, at least 2 hours to each sacrament.  I set up and clean up for the sacrament. I chant at other services of the church and do not want any type of remuneration.  However, I do expect the gratuity for sacraments, except for funerals, for which, I will not accept a gratuity.  My parish priest is good enough to ask for it for me, when nothing is left for me and I am very grateful to him for that.  I know most people do not know that I don't receive a salary, but it is customary to leave a gratuity for the chanter and the custodian, for that matter.  Their salaries typically assume that they receive a gratuity.

I certainly understand if you had a different understanding, but due to my personal involvement in these type of matters, I had to reply in order to let you know, that it is expected by those who are performing this function for their parish.
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 11:36:42 AM »

Both good responses.

Let me add.

George,

   The Priest had never had the conversation with this person before.  I guess I was expecting him to be more diplomatic (pastoral).  I am trying to get this person more involved in the Church and our beliefs and the stumbling block isn't mine, but his.  I know my Parish Priest would never have acted this way and I feel as though this Priest could be doing more to encourage people to come to his Church.

Trakas,

    Very good point.  I never contemplated it, partly because I didn't even see the old man (until the Priest told me about him).  He did not take part in the ceremony or anything else that I saw (other than the Priest telling me he unlocked the Church).
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2008, 11:51:23 AM »

George,

   The Priest had never had the conversation with this person before.  I guess I was expecting him to be more diplomatic (pastoral).  I am trying to get this person more involved in the Church and our beliefs and the stumbling block isn't mine, but his.  I know my Parish Priest would never have acted this way and I feel as though this Priest could be doing more to encourage people to come to his Church. 

I figured as much.  That's what makes the situation difficult - if the person involved (your friend) isn't very active but you're trying to get him more involved, then a lack of tact can definitely hurt the cause.  It is definitely a serious matter, as the actions of any priest (not just this one, in your story) are going to be seriously weighed by the Judge of All eventually, and any action that drives people away from salvation in Christ is serious.  I hope your friend isn't too discouraged by the priest's demeanor; while he may be right in what he is saying, often some clergy need help in expressing it in a way that doesn't drive people off.
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