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Hello,  Smile

So, I posted here a while back about my conversion and the difficulties I've experienced over the 12 years of going to the modern mass, but I don't know how to find that post, so can't link to it.

I moved to a new town -- a small city that has 5 or 6 Catholic churches in or near it. None of them offer the TLM. I've been driving about 45 minutes away to go to a St. Benedict Center chapel for mass as often as possible. The town I moved from is only 15 minutes away, but I had begun to find the NO mass there, though as reverent as I guess it could be, beginning (in a nutshell) to harm my faith. So I am not at all keen to go back there, nor to invest myself in the parish I live in now. I have gone to several of the churches in this area over the years and since moving here, in order to fulfill my Sunday obligation, when I can't make it to St. Benedict.

The TLM there has been what's brought me back from the brink of great temptation to quit the Faith. It's the chapel of the Order, and there's a school there. I drive there, go to Mass, and drive home. I don't socialize with anyone, mainly because it feels like an established community and I have no real connection to it beyond attending Mass there. I am unspeakably grateful just to be able to go, but lately (maybe it's exacerbated by the move to a new town that I feel uncomfortable in) the lack of any kind of Catholic community that I feel I can sincerely belong to is really bothering me. I hope this doesn't sound like whining, when so many people are without anywhere to go for the TLM.

I'm just wondering if others feel kind of like they're flapping in the breeze and all on their onesies in their life in the Church, and if so, how do you deal with it? Offer it up? Or what else? I think all the recent sad, growing confusion in the Church and seeing how many people aren't even aware of it, or are even happy about what I see as tragic developments, adds a lot to this sense of isolation.
Get involved in some way with one of those Parishes. You might be another person that makes the group that brings the TLM to your town. Happened with my friends  Smile

But I'm not trying to dismiss what you're saying, you're describing how I feel anyways. There are traditionally minded Catholics everywhere, you've just got to get burned by liberals about 20 times before you find a chick who wants to wear a mantilla but is to embarrassed to.

Example. I stayed the hell away from the Newman Center because it looks like a gym and the parishioners are post vii fogies.  But ALL of the traditionally minded Catholic friends I have from here are from the Newman Center.
(01-29-2017, 12:50 AM)Margaret-Mary Wrote: [ -> ](snip)

The TLM there has been what's brought me back from the brink of great temptation to quit the Faith. It's the chapel of the Order, and there's a school there. I drive there, go to Mass, and drive home. I don't socialize with anyone, mainly because it feels like an established community and I have no real connection to it beyond attending Mass there. I am unspeakably grateful just to be able to go, but lately (maybe it's exacerbated by the move to a new town that I feel uncomfortable in) the lack of any kind of Catholic community that I feel I can sincerely belong to is really bothering me. I hope this doesn't sound like whining, when so many people are without anywhere to go for the TLM.

I'm just wondering if others feel kind of like they're flapping in the breeze and all on their onesies in their life in the Church, and if so, how do you deal with it? Offer it up? Or what else? I think all the recent sad, growing confusion in the Church and seeing how many people aren't even aware of it, or are even happy about what I see as tragic developments, adds a lot to this sense of isolation.

First, what you wrote doesn't sound like "whining"; it sounds like very common trad concerns. We're mostly alone, and so many of us are totally isolated. I'm sorry you're going through this, MM.

I totally encourage you, though, to stick around after Mass and start talking to people at your TLM chapel. It's sad that you, as a newbie there, might have to do the initiating, but it is what it is. Start talking to people. Invite someone out for breakfast. If you're the shy or introverted type, this might be reallllly hard for you, but just be straight up about that and watch how most people will go out of their way to make things comfortable -- i.e., "Hi, I'm Margaret Mary, and am sorta new around here. I tend to be super shy, so this is hard and really weird for me to just walk up to you like this, but I've been wanting to meet some of the people here, so want to introduce myself." If I were at Mass and you were to approach me like that, my instinct would be to -- well, I'm Italian, so my instinct would be to want to grab and hug you and start talking to you. I can be overwhelming like that, so try to tone it down LOL  At any rate, I'd likely tell you how brave I think you are to have done what you did. And I'd mean it. I'd find it brave and charming and honest.

Approaching someone who seems to be well-entrenched there and asking them to introduce you around could help, too. Or tell the priest what's up and maybe he'll grab the ball and know what to do to help you get to meet others.

If there's a coffee and donuts thing going on after Mass, ask the priest if you could bring in some snacks for the cause. Then do it the next week. That could be a good "entree" into the "scene." If there isn't a coffee and donuts thing, ask the priest about starting one. Be the change you want to see!

If you're awkward with regard to starting conversations and keeping them going, just talk about the other person 95% of the time. Ask questions about them. Most people LOVE to talk about themselves (and will consider you a "great conversationalist" if you just ask them questions and TRULY listen to their answers, and use those answers to ask more questions. For real. If you're truly interested in people, this would likely be a piece of cake.).

If you're not shy or introverted, this all will be a lot easier for you, but making the first move seems to be the thing for you to do since the people who are already established there aren't approaching you as they should. I wish trad parishes and chapels were more overtly, consciously welcoming in that way...

Something else I recommend is focusing outward as much as you can. I've learned as a depressive type that focusing outward more than you do on your own pain is a HUGE help. Plus, it helps get you involved in the lives of others, which can lead to the friendships you're wanting. IOW, to paraphrase President Kennedy, "ask not what your parish can do for you; ask what you can do for your parish."

But no matter WHAT you do or don't do, don't let a lack of community harm your faith! While community is extremely important, it isn't the ultimate thing. We're there to worship God. Never forsake Him because you're disappointed by the failings of some of the human element of His Church! Never give Him up or turn your back on Him because of what people do. He deserves better than that. And so do you.
I understand. I go to a fairly reverent NO church because there aren't any TLMs nearby. The thing for me is that although I understand intellectually that the TLM is superior and I greatly appreciate its beauty I have grown emotionally fond of my NO parish. I wish the NO had never happened but because I'm so used to it, it sometimes feels very isolating.

Another problem of mine is that because of my preference for Traditionalism I'm constantly interiorly scrutinizing things other parishioners or priests and deacons say. Nitpicking for any sign of unorthodoxy. Its kind of exhausting and makes me feel like I'm being scrupulous.

Its kind of disturbing when an otherwise very devout and holy Catholic says that people who receive on the tongue "can't let go of the past" and similar things. The main problem with post VII Catholicism is that it can't even be questioned because of the sheer number of Catholics who have just assimilated Into it.

Overall my strategy is to just not really worry about TLM vs NO, just focus on Jesus in the tabernacle and find a group of devout friends who appreciate the NO not because of its novelty but because of what it shares with the TLM and perhaps look into establishing it in your parish. Pray that one day the church will come to its senses but until then don't worry about what you can't change.

When you can get to the TLM then by all means go and socialize but don't beat yourself up if you aren't able.
One thing I've been struggling with for a while now is not only lack of Catholic community but lack of Catholic identity/lifestyle.

I mean, I grew up in a cultural Catholic family. Other than being sent to CCD/Confirmation classes and going to church on some Sundays, we never prayed together, never read the Bible together, never did "Catholic things" together, etc  Often times I feel like I'm playing "dress up," like I don't understand this whole Catholic identity or lifestyle. I read about it and try to learn/emulate it but it all seems so far away or foreign to me. Prayer doesn't come naturally to me and I often have to struggle whether praying spontaneously or reading liturgical prayers. My "prayer time" almost appears as if it's just me reading the prayers and not much else.

I hate to say it but it's almost more like a hobby, not an identity or lifestyle. I don't think I appear any differently or live differently than our non-Catholic, Deist friends do. Western society is so lifeless and dead without Catholicism; I'm afraid I wouldn't even know what it's like to live in a truly, authentic Catholic society/community if I saw one. A Deist and atheistic society is so dead and stagnant, where "social justice" is the new religion and "values" have replaced virtues.

I've read books and studied about how to re-establish Catholic culture/identity. They all point to the Catechism as the answer. I only think that is partially true; look at what the complete focus on catechesis (CCD/Confirmation/RCIA) has done to our Catholic population in the west, merely emptying pews and giving our Catholics minimal knowledge about our faith. If the parents or family don't culminate Catholic virtues, catechesis, prayer, etc. from the start, how would we expect them to remain "fully" Catholic?

I would think it's almost easier for me to walk away from this whole Catholicism thing rather than trying to play along. Through and through I truly feel like  I am still a heathen.
I understand. I'm currently attending a NO parish where things come up from time to time that either annoy or outright bother me. I posted a very similar thread a while back. I understand how upsetting it can feel when it seems like you aren't blending in with a community.

FishEaters scratches that itch for me. Pray and make sacrifices that your loved ones will become Catholic, if they aren't, and then they will serve as your spiritual community in a special way.
(01-29-2017, 10:49 AM)Sequentia Wrote: [ -> ]One thing I've been struggling with for a while now is not only lack of Catholic community but lack of Catholic identity/lifestyle.

I mean, I grew up in a cultural Catholic family. Other than being sent to CCD/Confirmation classes and going to church on some Sundays, we never prayed together, never read the Bible together, never did "Catholic things" together, etc  Often times I feel like I'm playing "dress up," like I don't understand this whole Catholic identity or lifestyle. I read about it and try to learn/emulate it but it all seems so far away or foreign to me. Prayer doesn't come naturally to me and I often have to struggle whether praying spontaneously or reading liturgical prayers. My "prayer time" almost appears as if it's just me reading the prayers and not much else.

I hate to say it but it's almost more like a hobby, not an identity or lifestyle. I don't think I appear any differently or live differently than our non-Catholic, Deist friends do. Western society is so lifeless and dead without Catholicism; I'm afraid I wouldn't even know what it's like to live in a truly, authentic Catholic society/community if I saw one. A Deist and atheistic society is so dead and stagnant, where "social justice" is the new religion and "values" have replaced virtues.

I've read books and studied about how to re-establish Catholic culture/identity. They all point to the Catechism as the answer. I only think that is partially true; look at what the complete focus on catechesis (CCD/Confirmation/RCIA) has done to our Catholic population in the west, merely emptying pews and giving our Catholics minimal knowledge about our faith. If the parents or family don't culminate Catholic virtues, catechesis, prayer, etc. from the start, how would we expect them to remain "fully" Catholic?

I would think it's almost easier for me to walk away from this whole Catholicism thing rather than trying to play along. Through and through I truly feel like  I am still a heathen.

Sequentia's post is a perfect encapsulation of what I, and probably a lot of us are going through.  When I returned to the Church, it was definitely as a "hobbyist".  I've only recently tried to take it as serious faith, but I struggle with it always.  Do I really believe this?  I really want to believe this and I believe I believe this, but sometimes I feel like I'm just doing a Catholic version of Renaissance Fair: playing dress up on the weekends because I'm dissatisfied with the blandness of modern society.

I heard Marshall McLuhan once say when we wear blue jeans, we are yearning for our grandfathers' time when they worked with their hands or in the fields.  Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing the same thing going to this old church with this old Mass.  Is it just a brief escape from the modern world?

I don't think this lack of community is a particularly trad Catholic problem either.  I see everyday, especially with my younger siblings, a longing for meaningful relationships, but at the same time a complete unwillingness to expose themselves to the vulnerability of relationships that are more than physical.

Someone at church asked my wife where we met and she replied truthfully, "At a bar."  There was a brief feeling of embarrassment, before I realized how almost antiquated and anachronous a "how'd you meet?" story like ours would be today.  Is there anyone under thirty that doesn't use internet dating services?

This isolation is and will be a huge challenge.  Something will come along and fill this void of interpersonal relationships, I just pray that something is benevolent.
Thank you all for your replies. I read them all and have been thinking a lot about the various things everyone posted.

Last week I was unable to go to Mass at all, because -- in yet one more isolating factor of my life -- one of my kids is disabled and has unpredictable needs for total care. But today I was able to go to the St. Benedict Center for Mass, and I was prepared to take the good advice to just approach some people afterward.

However, there was the opportunity for confession directly after Mass, and I felt I should go, so I got in the long line (yes, they have a long line for confession there!) and by the time I was out, no one was around any longer.  All was not lost, because I took the chance to have a chat with the Priest after confession. He said he'd come to my new place and enthrone the Sacred Heart and bless my St. Benedict medals, etc. He even told me he would go the the gift shop and give me a Sacred Heart image. I told him I have one on the wall at home, but he wanted me to have another one for a different room -- it was just so sweet. We exchanged contact info so we can set up the time to do all of that. So now I have made a good connection, and I'm thinking it will grow from there. Especially once he visits here, there'll be more of a chance to talk to him about the "scene" there and ways I can possibly get more involved.

Interestingly, he also encouraged me to attend any of the NO masses in my area to fulfill my obligation when I can't make it to there. Somehow that does help me feel a little less icky about doing that when need be.

At Mass he made an important announcement. Some guy had purchased superbowl tickets well in advance, and had forgotten that it was his wedding date, so he couldn't go. He said if anyone there would want to take his place, it was at St. John's in a nearby town, and the girl's name was Susan.  LOL

I am thinking a lot about you who said that you feel like maybe you're just acting out a role, getting dressed up in a vacuum, and wondering how to live out a meaningful Catholic life in the current culture. Definitely have had those feelings many times. As for donning the TLM gladrags, I think of it as getting dressed for a special occasion, and that helps. I think of putting on the veil as an act of reverence and love for the Presence of the Lord. I do wear skirts on a fairly regular basis anyway, so it doesn't feel too unusual. I try to look somewhat invisible, if that makes sense. So when I'm there, I seek to be hidden away in communion with the Lord -- the clothing becomes unimportant.

Sometimes I wonder if God allows a certain amount of isolation for us because maybe that actually makes it easier for us to practice our faith in some ways. The message of the importance of solitude and prayer has been getting my attention lately.

Vox, thank you for your helpful and thoughtful words! I'm Greek, so I would hug you right back and maybe even kiss you on the cheek. Smile
(02-05-2017, 06:55 PM)Margaret-Mary Wrote: [ -> ](snip)

Vox, thank you for your helpful and thoughtful words! I'm Greek, so I would hug you right back and maybe even kiss you on the cheek. Smile

LOL  My Pops used to say this about us Italians and you Greeks: "una faccia, una razza" -- "one face, one race." Besides which, the part of Italy where my paternal Grandma comes from was once known as "Magna Graecia." We probably have a lot of the same blood in our veins, you and I.

ANYWAY! I'm so glad you approached your priest and he was very kind and open toward you. Sounds like you're making your way! I'm happy for you Smile

P.S. Keep dressing nicely and keep veiling! It's a matter of respect! Plus it sets a good example! Like I said, BE the change you want to see!
(01-29-2017, 10:49 AM)Sequentia Wrote: [ -> ]One thing I've been struggling with for a while now is not only lack of Catholic community but lack of Catholic identity/lifestyle.

I mean, I grew up in a cultural Catholic family. Other than being sent to CCD/Confirmation classes and going to church on some Sundays, we never prayed together, never read the Bible together, never did "Catholic things" together, etc  Often times I feel like I'm playing "dress up," like I don't understand this whole Catholic identity or lifestyle. I read about it and try to learn/emulate it but it all seems so far away or foreign to me. Prayer doesn't come naturally to me and I often have to struggle whether praying spontaneously or reading liturgical prayers. My "prayer time" almost appears as if it's just me reading the prayers and not much else.

I hate to say it but it's almost more like a hobby, not an identity or lifestyle. I don't think I appear any differently or live differently than our non-Catholic, Deist friends do. Western society is so lifeless and dead without Catholicism; I'm afraid I wouldn't even know what it's like to live in a truly, authentic Catholic society/community if I saw one. A Deist and atheistic society is so dead and stagnant, where "social justice" is the new religion and "values" have replaced virtues.

I've read books and studied about how to re-establish Catholic culture/identity. They all point to the Catechism as the answer. I only think that is partially true; look at what the complete focus on catechesis (CCD/Confirmation/RCIA) has done to our Catholic population in the west, merely emptying pews and giving our Catholics minimal knowledge about our faith. If the parents or family don't culminate Catholic virtues, catechesis, prayer, etc. from the start, how would we expect them to remain "fully" Catholic?

I would think it's almost easier for me to walk away from this whole Catholicism thing rather than trying to play along. Through and through I truly feel like  I am still a heathen.

In some ways I have a similar story, but I wouldn't even go so far to call ourselves "culturally catholic" growing up. That would be generous. I had to learn everything - from prayers to traditions - as an adult. I still feel like an outsider a lot of the time, because I still don't know things off by heart, I still don't know to live "Catholic".

On the other hand, my husband grew up *Catholic*. They had a shrine in their house, and they did all sorts of (what sometimes feels like) crazy customs. Rosary every night. Vacations were planned around what shrines they could visit. Lots of kids. Catholic school. All the boys were altar servers from the time they were 6 years old. They attended a traditionally-leaning parish for many years until it closed down.

Yet despite that, I sometimes think my husband is "Catholic by habit" instead of having a deep, mature faith. He knows the superficial stuff, but the underlying theology and faith that underpins it all eludes him sometimes. Is it lack of catechises? Maybe. But it's also symptomatic of what the church has become today, I think. Our parish has been real big on "getting to know your neighbour" and shaking hands and all that nonsense lately. There's been homilies that are toeing the line with Pope Francis' messages about being "rigid". About stopping looking inwards and start looking outwards. And yet there are still less people every week.