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Full Version: A bad experience at Mass
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So I was at Mass (My father works for the church and locks up after mass so it was a bit after the mass ended) and after a woman came to the church having missed Mass with her two young daughters and asked once she found out it was at 3pm and not 5pm asked for a book so she could read to the children.  An old woman would not leave so she was there when I was waiting for my dad. The first thing the old woman said was "Nobody is here anymore." The young woman answered "Well do you have a book I would like to read the Gospel. I thought the mass was at 5pm." The old woman than said "We don't give out books we don't even have enough for our parishioners." I went over to the women and said "We have some books in the library that." The old woman cut me off there and said "No we don't have any books for you." and gave her two other places for masses that she couldn't get to in time this being after 5pm and the masses were at 6pm and 7pm. The young woman was visibly upset. The old woman came up to me after watching the woman and the two girls go to the car and leave the parking lot, she said "We don't have any books we don't even have enough for the parishioners." I told her "I wasn't talking about these books (The daily bread missal) I was talking about the ones in the library." She answered patronizingly "Those aren't to give to people they are for the church they don't leave the church." (Wrong, it's a library you take the books home and bring them back when you are done.) I answered "I wasn't talking about those either, there is a whole shelf of books to give out for free." (There is as well as a big sign saying "Books for free, take as many as you want" and they take up an entire shelf) Her answer was now openly condescending "I have been a columbiette for 60 years and 20 years here and I never knew that." She than said "I need to go." She would not leave the parking lot until my dad and I got into the car, she waited for 15 mins while we were making sure the church was locked up. She left only after we got into the car. I have no doubt she complained about me.

I don't know what this woman was going through with her two children but shouldn't the old woman have tried to help her or let me help her instead of just shutting this woman down. By trying to help this woman she would have been embodying the gospel reading (MT 5:38-48) of the day but she didn't even try. We don't know what is going on with the people we meet and being rude and condescending to those who came to the church is not helping anyone but I see this so much among the older women who have been going to the church for a long time who are not actually involved with the church and I don't see them at the bible studies, the church office, they don't run any ministries or even volunteer at the church. If you're a good parishioner shouldn't you try to actually help the church? There is more to being Catholic than showing up and giving a few dollars into the basket and it's almost like no one in the church believes this now. Is this a thing that no one volunteers or is the fact that I think people should volunteer a carried over belief on my part?

Was I wrong? My mom and dad said that I wasn't wrong but I still feel bad and I'm not sure why, I don't think I did anything wrong either.
I think one of the requirements for a parish's existence is that there must be at least a few old ladies in the parish who are always at the church and who don't know how to stay out of other people's business.
Do not feel wrong! You were absolutely in the right. The old lady sounds like she's angry at the world!

What could you possibly have done wrong in the scenario as you described it? You answered a lady's questions. It's too bad if the busy-body biddy "couldn't" mind her own business, gave wrong answers, and was unhelpful and nasty.

It's too bad for the woman who showed up too late for Mass and was possibly turned away from that parish forever because of that old woman's nastiness.

It's too bad for the parish if that sort of behavior is what people can come to see as typifying it.

It's too bad for you getting your feelings hurt and being put into the position of wondering if you did something wrong.

It's too bad for the old woman herself who, at least in that instance, did not show the Love of Christ and will suffer the consequences of it.

And, worst of all, it's too bad for Christ and His Church as a whole. His Sacred Heart was wounded by such ugliness, and if people think that "that's what Catholics are like," it gives His Bride a bad name.
There is a certain type of old boot found in all churches (not just Catholic).  They think that the church belongs to them and they don't actually like new people joining, because they're comfortable with things just the way they are.  Such women, unfortunately, don't care if the parish dies in the long term, so long as it doesn't die before they do.

You had exactly the right (Catholic) attitude.  The only thing you might have done was be a bit more forceful yourself, but that's hard when one's raised to treat older people with respect.