QUAERITUR: How to make myself known to the parish priest without being too forward?

From a reader:

What is the proper/traditional etiquette for newcomers, particularly those registered in a parish, when it comes to formal introductions to the priest, (specifically British customs if you know them)? I was taught it is rude and improper to introduce oneself to someone, especially in higher standing. Instead, one should wait for the person to introduce himself to the person, or the newcomer is to be introduced to the person by someone who is already acquainted with them.

I presumed this to be true with clergy, and it is how I became introduced and known to the bishop. I have never been formally introduced to my parish priest, nor have I taken it upon myself to be so forward as to introduce myself. Now it’s going on to two years, and I will soon need a reference letter for scholarships from him to confirm my good standing as a Catholic and being active in the parish.

At this point can I presume he knows who I am from indirect means?

First, allow me to thank you for your attention to etiquette and your respect for your parish priest.  We have, as a culture, become far too informal.

Off the top of my head,

… you could ask a friend at the parish, who has been a member for a while, to introduce you.

You could also drop Father a brief note of introduction if you don’t want to “waylay” him after Mass sometime.  You could use the occasion of complimenting him for some good sermon, assure him of your prayers, and add a note about who you are for his opportune knowledge.

Moreover, since the parish priest has the “care of souls” and you are a “soul” for whom he has “care”, perhaps you are being a little too careful.  The parish priest should, if he is worth his salt, want to know the people who frequent his parish.

Thus, it seems to me that you might count on both his goodness and his office as shepherd and make yourself known to him either with the brief note I described or by finding him after Mass.

Again, I thank you for your respect for the person of the priest as well as your attention to decorum.

 

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44 Responses to QUAERITUR: How to make myself known to the parish priest without being too forward?

  1. Shellynna says:

    I have an old Catholic etiquette book, published in the early-1960s (right before Vatican II, actually), that recommends writing a letter to your pastor when you first enter a parish to inform him of entering his parish and to request envelopes. Since priestly recommendations are often needed for proving Catholic cred in a variety of circumstances (e.g., applying to third orders, becoming a Catholic speaker, etc.), this is probably still a good idea. At this point though, I’d recommend to the inquirer that the letter follow the lines Fr. Z suggests since he has already been in this parish awhile and is not a newcomer.

  2. wmeyer says:

    My own approach to this has been to speak to the priest–briefly–after Mass, mindful of the fact that he is there to greet as many members of the parish as may wish to shake his hand. Moreover, as was the case yesterday, the priest I spoke to was scheduled to celebrate four more Masses, and in need of some time before the next.

  3. Cool Catholic says:

    Look at it from the priest’s point of view… you didn’t introduce yourself during the past two years yet you will be asking him to write a reference for you. But, you’re not the first person to do that and you won’t be the last!
    You could call the church office and ask if you need to complete a form to be ‘registered’ in the parish.

    “At this point can I presume he knows who I am from indirect means?” You didn’t say what these “indirect means” are so it’s hard to know.

  4. rcg says:

    A card, vice a letter, is the best way to go, as it also respects the pastor’s precious time. Then after the next Mass you can greet him briefly and state your name. He is likely to recall the card and welcome you. If you are prepared to offer support of a parish activity you will likely get the chance to meet him during that activity.

  5. wmeyer says:

    …as to your desire for a reference, if you are not registered, and have never introduced yourself, why should the priest know you? And why should he be able to speak to your character and faith?

  6. fvhale says:

    Seems like a bit of a paradox: “I have never been formally introduced to my parish priest, nor have I taken it upon myself to be so forward as to introduce myself. Now it’s going on to two years, and I will soon need a reference letter for scholarships from him to confirm my good standing as a Catholic and being active in the parish.”

    Two years? Two years of listening to him preach most Sunday’s, two years of “being active in the parish,” two years supporting the parish and the priest with prayer, participation in at least some parish activities, and financially (i.e. “being active in the parish”), and still you have never been introduced?

    Something does not add up. Surely somebody would have introduced you to the priest by now if you have been “active in the parish” for two years. [Surely you don't think that the priest has the opportunity to meet every person... especially the shy. Ideally? Sure. In reality?]

    Now you want a “reference letter for scholarships.” Why not write a letter to the priest and thank him for the opportunity to be in his parish for two years, tell him of the joy with which you received the graces of his sacramental ministry, and specify all the ways you have been active (which parish groups, with whom), and then ask if he could write you a letter of recommendation? If the facts are in order, it is pretty simple.

    Unless the facts are not in order, and you have a granduncle who is a major donor to the parish, and he introduces you to the priest, and suggests that the priest might be able to write you a recommendation. That approach is also quite timeless.

  7. acardnal says:

    From my own experience, one of the best ways to be noticed and remembered by the priest(s) in your parish is to attend the weekly Holy Hour with Benediction. [What do you suppose is the percentage of parishes that offer that weekly?]

  8. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Dear CC,

    (Almost) no parishes in Britain have a church office, and we don’t do parish registrations (… unless I’ve been doing it wrong – I notice now that the enquirer does refer to registration).

    (It seems odd to me that you’re supposed to register with your parish in the US.)

  9. Father K says:

    This is an example of where social conventions get in the way of common sense. The Catholic Church, on the universal, diocesan and parochial level isn’t a social club or even ‘polite society,’ it is a family, with all the rough and tumble that goes with it. That is why we call priests, ‘Father,’ and each other ‘brother and sisters.’ [and the Pope, 'Holy Father'].I don’t suppose you waited for a formal introduction to speak to your biological father. Get real and get on with it…two years? Get off it! [And perhaps you should "get off" a person who is interested in being polite.]

  10. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Dear acardnal,

    (Almost) no parishes in Britain have a weekly Holy Hour with … Oh! I see what you did there.

  11. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Perhaps the enquirer could ask for a reference from the bishop?

  12. (X)MCCLXIII says:

    Seriously, though, the parish priest ought to make sure that he knows his flock, and I think it’s probably perfectly in order for newcomers to introduce themselves. We’re not all good at that, and if both priest and faithful are shy, I can see that it might not happen. Also, at least in many places around where I am, parishes are amalgamating, meaning that congregations are in flux as are priests’ responsibilities. So I can see how things might, well, slip.

    I suppose that means I agree with Fr K., albeit somewhat more tentatively. It would be really useful to hear from more parish priests about this. Fathers?

  13. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Wow. This is a mean, mean thread. First off, the questioner is registered in his parish. He says so straight off.

    Nobody’s ever introduced any priests to me, and I’ve been a Catholic for nearly 42 years. Priests have introduced themselves to me, which works out. But in most parishes I’ve been in, most people don’t know you or recognize you, even if you go every Sunday.

    Now, if you go to a parish like my current parish, which is fully equipped with little old ladies who know everybody and have an intricate surveillance system covering the surrounding area; or if you have a parish equipped with tons of schmoozing ushers and parish men who also know everybody; or if you have people of both sexes and all ages who are just darned good at recognizing people and greeting them — well, then it is different. But not all parishes are like that.

  14. anilwang says:

    If there is a parish office, you might also want to make an appointment there.

    I hesitate to speak after mass precisely because the priest is likely busy with other masses or appointments or simply tired since the ratio of priest to parishioners is often ridiculous. Even if you have no consideration for the poor priest, chances are your request will fall through the cracks because its not the right time.

    If it were only possible to speak to the priest on the weekends and the only time you know you can talk is after mass and I didn’t have someone else to introduce me, I’d make sure I used the proper address ( http://www.wikihow.com/Address-Catholic-Clergy ), and model my request after the request of the quite literally untouchable outcast person with leprosy to our Lord (Matthew 8:2), and simply say something to the effect of “Father, if it pleases you, I am in need of some references…. Would this be a good time to make my request?”.

  15. anilwang says:

    Father K wrote “it is a family, with all the rough and tumble that goes with it”

    Please recognize that families around the world are not all rough and tumble and there is real respect for parents in some cultures, especially cultures that have Confucian influences, Germanic cultures, and even in some Spanish cultures where parents are always addressed with Usted (i.e. the formal word for “you”) rather than the Tu (the familiar word for “you”).

    Respect has its place, especially in places where reverence is valued and people (and things) who are consecrated are actually treated as if they were consecrated. I trust you recognize this as well. Would you not kiss the ring of a visiting bishop? Would you throw a holy relics in the washing machine to get them clean?

  16. Will D. says:

    I the problem with this thread is that some of us just don’t see the problem. I have never believed that a priest was some sort of awesome creature that can not be approached by merest of lay mortals. And, certainly no priest in my experience has encouraged that view. [The problem with this comment is that is the questioner was not saying that the priest is some sort of "awesome creature".]
    I think Father K is right on this. A simple “Excuse me, Father, but we’ve never been formally introduced. My name is John Q. Parishioner and I’d like to ask a favor of you, if it’s convenient…,” would seem to fit the bill. If you absolutely can’t bring yourself to do that, then try asking one of Suburbanbanshee’s parish worthies. They will usually be happy to grease the skids.

  17. iPadre says:

    As pastor (parish priest) for ten years, I see how easy it is to let people slip through the cracks. For that reason, I always tell my secretary to ask new parishioners to introduce themselves to me after Mass. In fact, a great new family that moved into the parish just over a week ago introduced themselves to me after Mass the week before last. This past Sunday, three of their sons, ages 14, 17 & 19, served Mass this past Sunday, while dad and two daughters, ages 10 & 13, sang in the choir. Both mother and father are going to teach Religious Education. So, I’m not insulted if they introduce themselves, I’m really happy! In fact, the boys are going to learn to serve the Extraordinary Form shortly. Thank you Jesus!

  18. Mike says:

    Interesting. My current pastor and I have never been formally introduced. I did introduce myself to his associate priest, and we got along well. Over time, I have been impressed by how well my pastor knows about me, my family, etc.

    Good shepherds know their flock.

  19. AnnAsher says:

    I have been mulling this issue of dignity and decorum lately. I agree it is left wanting today and steps should be taken to correct the situation.
    For the record I can see how a quiet person might be active in a parish and still be left without being introduced to or knowing the pastor. It is usually busy bodies who hang from Father’s billowing cassock in my experience.

  20. poohbear says:

    I guess I’m one of those who doesn’t see a problem. Just stand in line like everyone else after Mass and introduce yourself. You might want to apologize for not doing it sooner, since it has been two years. But, I wouldn’t ask for a reference then. I think that would be rude, like you only wanted to say hello because you want something.

    I do find it odd that someone who is ‘active in the parish’ hasn’t met the priest yet. In all the parishes I have ever attended, I have found that the Priests make it a point of knowing the active people.

  21. digdigby says:

    I think an oratory (extraordinary form) is a different situation than a parish. I have not expected any ‘shepherding’, personal spiritual guidance and all that sort of thing from my probably very overworked priests and deacons etc. I am thankful for what we have.

  22. Rachel K says:

    Hmmm, I find this one baffling too. My experience (in the UK) is that all the priests stand at the door after Sunday Mass and greet everyone leaving. I thought this was a universal practice. Therefore, Fr will get to notice any newcomers and people introduce themselves at that point. It is expected that you do the same as a passing visitor too- especially in tourist areas or towns. Often the priest will make a point of welcoming visitors or newcomers at the start of Mass.
    I am confused by what appears to me to be the over-formal regulation of manners in this case- is it a generation thing or is it cultural? [Yes.]

  23. APX says:

    @poohbear

    Just stand in line like everyone else after Mass and introduce yourself.
    Not all priests wait around after Mass to visit and shake hands. Mine (FSSP) makes a swift and stealthy exit from the sacristy into the Confessional and will be in there for quite some time. I’m not complaining, but it’s a fact. I have also run into those moments where you want to introduce yourself to the priest, but get stuck behind someone who wants to visit with the priest for quite some time.

    I do find it odd that someone who is ‘active in the parish’ hasn’t met the priest yet. In all the parishes I have ever attended, I have found that the Priests make it a point of knowing the active people.

    I’m as active as I can relatively be, yet I’ve never formal met or been introduced to our priest. I tend to be pretty quiet and keep to myself. Further, priests are busy. I see no point in bothering them unless it’s for something really important. I also assume that given the amount of church gossip that goes around, I don’t doubt that I’ve become known by osmosis. Obviously my existence is known, as I did receive a request for money some time ago.

    @AnnAsher
    For the record I can see how a quiet person might be active in a parish and still be left without being introduced to or knowing the pastor. It is usually busy bodies who hang from Father’s billowing cassock in my experience.

    Or need a baby baptized every nine months or so. Really, if you’re unmarried, not retired and are preoccupied with things like work and school during office hours, you go unnoticed and unknown, even if you do manage to help out with things when you can.

  24. Imrahil says:

    No, it is definitely not universal practice that the priest stands at the door(!). I thought it universal practice that the priest leaves off for the sacristy, while the people stand in front of the door, chattering, not unfriendly to newcomers, but in all regularity not asking any new face who he is if he doesn’t get active himself.

    Another thing, it may be generational, but I do not quite get the emphasis on etiquette, sorry. (No offense!) Decency, all right. Respect, veneration, all right. But when it comes to the point that actually decency hinders communication (for fear of being indecent, etc.), then it must in my humble opinion be just a little excessive.

    We all know how to respectfully address a superior (which the priest is). In English, it is even the matter of address is settled: “Father”. No thoughts about whether we dare (or must) use the old-fashioned “Reverend”, or the “Mr. Parishpriest” style.

    And I think, the rule that you do not introduce oneself to one higher is a rule maybe opportune in some places, and definitely inopportune in others. Beggars, for instance (whom we are not to despise) never have held to it. And then you happen to belong to the said pastor’s flock! The pastor is not an person of society who has nothing to do with you and still is above you; which is the only case where this norm makes any sort of sense. Think of a subordinate soldier who is transferred in a new platoon. Of course he will “introduce himself” (well, something like) to the new platoon leader. (Indeed not to the batallion commander.)

  25. APX says:

    @Imrahil
    Think of a subordinate soldier who is transferred in a new platoon. Of course he will “introduce himself” (well, something like) to the new platoon leader. (Indeed not to the batallion commander.)

    Bear in mind, this person would have been ordered/instructed by someone higher ranking than him to “report to” so and so.

    I made the mistake once as a new probation officer in an office of emailing a manager to inquire about something that he directly over-saw on a day when my supervisor was away. I knew him and was on good terms with him from my internship. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. I case conferenced it in my case notes as per policy. My supervisor was auditing my files while I was away at training, only to return the next day and get berated for “jumping rank” and that it was absolutely “inappropriate to email a manager to ask a question.” The point I’m making, what might not seem like a big deal to us, can be a big deal to other people.

    I didn’t think it was that big of a deal to ask a priest to hear my confession after Saturday evening Mass, but the priest I asked chewed me out for asking outside of his (non-regularly) scheduled times. That’s how I ended up at a parish 600 kms away where the priest is actually more than willing to hear confessions. Not all priests are the same, and what seems normal and fine to us, can be a set off for some priests.

  26. Thank you suburbanbanshee – “Now, if you go to a parish like my current parish, which is fully equipped with little old ladies who know everybody and have an intricate surveillance system covering the surrounding area”.

    Awesome. I hope to be one of those ladies one day!

    Anyway – maybe I’m missing something but I think introducing yourself to your parish priest is just fine and not forward at all. I would think it would make things a bit easier on him if everyone did. That being said – alter christos – who he is among us, who Father is to us, why would anything stop you from introducing yourself? I would think that Father would be someone you would want to know and to know you. Say hello and offer your help in whatever he needs! If Jesus was standing at the church door would you wait for an introduction?

  27. frjim4321 says:

    I appreciate someone coming up to me after mass and introducing themselves, though as previously stated the after-mass greeting are not intended to be on prolonged discussion with one person. It is rude for one person to monopolize that entire period. It would be more polite to wait until the “rush” is over and then await an opportunity.

    We have Pizza Saturdays and Doughnut Sundays which helps with this because people tend to stay around a bit longer.

    Often someone calls on the phone for some pastoral reason and I will ask them to introduce themselves after mass. It also helps to produce a parish pictorial directory every so often so the parishioners can get to know each other.

  28. I think that the Questioner’s attitude is simply wonderful and spot on to how we ought to reverence the Priesthood. It is unfortunate though that he never met his own spiritual Father in two years.

    I believe it was St. John Chrysostom, a Doctor of the Church, who said one time that if an Angel were to appear before you next to a Priest, you ought to bend the knee to the Priest first, and then to the Angel. This is because of the Priest’s divine role of being the alter Christus and being the instrument through which Christ bathes us in His grace from birth until death through all the Sacraments, but the good Doctor of the Church ties the Priest’s dignity specifically to the Sacrament of Confession. What an unbelievable honor, he says, has been given to men, that they bind and loose sins from souls as the representative of Christ? Such a power is not even given to the angels.

  29. I very much like greeting people after Mass and chatting a bit; and if folks tell me their names, and a little about themselves, that’s even better. So I would be very grateful for any new parishioner who did that, after Mass. I’d be delighted.

    That said, I, too, appreciate the inquirer’s attention to manners.

  30. APX says:

    Perhaps the questioner’s priest is like mine and doesn’t hang around after mass to shake hands and greet people. Though, having just received some news not too long ago, it would appear I myself will have to formally introduce myself to my priest after having been at the parish for a year.

  31. Gratias says:

    Just say hi.

  32. Michelle F says:

    I’m glad that Imrahil brought up the military as an example as I was having this thought myself as I read the posts. I was in the U.S. Navy for a few years, and I (a convert) tend to picture the Church’s hierarchy as being like a military chain-of-command.

    If I understand things correctly, the parish priest is the person immediately responsible for the well-being of all of the souls in his assigned territory. When I move into the priest’s territory, it is my responsibility to “report-in” to the priest because he is immediately above me in the chain-of-command (i.e., the unit commanding officer), and he is responsible for me to both God and the bishop.

    When, where, and how this should be done may require a little finesse. After Mass may not be a good idea because of the crowd, but one could make an appointment through the parish secretary to see the priest, or send him a letter stating “I have moved into your parochial district and I would like to meet with you so I can properly register in the parish.” Even if formal registration in a parish is not required or is not the custom, making a request like this lets the priest know that you are present, and it gives him the opportunity to respond to you the way he wants to respond.

    If all of that fails (or the secretary brushes one off with a form to fill out), there will likely be some parish social event at which the priest will be present, and one could introduce oneself by saying “Hi, I’m Joe Parishioner; I’ve been here for a few weeks (or months), and I just wanted to let you know that I am very happy with my new parish home” (be sure have something positive to say to back it up). This method also gives the priest the opportunity to respond to you however he wants as well as making your presence known to him.

    By the way, I admire the concern of the reader who wrote to Fr. Z. regarding etiquette and protocol. In a civilized world we would have third parties who could make proper introductions for us. Lacking that, however, applying some common sense padded with politeness will have to fill in the gaps.

  33. JaneC says:

    I attend a parish staffed by a religious order. Recently, I was heading back to town from vacation and happened to see a priest in the habit of same religious order at the airport, waiting for the same flight. I knew that a priest was being transferred to the parish, so I screwed up my courage and addressed him. He was a little surprised at first but we soon fell into easy conversation and found that we had some acquaintances in common. It was not awkward at all, and I think that Father was happy that I introduced myself to him.

  34. asperges says:

    When I moved house 2 years ago (UK), I thought it courteous to go and see the local parish priest even though I was unlikely to attend many of his Masses (as I usually go to EF Masses). Accordingly I went to a weekday Mass and introduced myself to him afterwards. He was delighted I did and we had a brief chat. As is the custom over here I said any time he was passing, the kettle was always on etc, and a week or two later he did pop round for a chat. Unfortunately he was moved elsewhere soon afterwards, I was sorry to learn.

    His successor I have met but he is somewhat less congenial. I think the process of introduction might depend on the size of the parish. US parishes I have seen are quite large compared with ours with parish offices and the like. Do not most parishes have a card to fill in for newcomers? Perhaps that might be a sensible starting point. In some places (eg a Cathedral) it might be less likely to get oneself known unless one makes the effort to speak to the clergy. They cannot be expected to seek out all newcomers themselves. Many in these parts though, it has to be said, rather enjoy a certain anonymity and find the mateyness of parishes a bit stifling. Each to his own.

  35. Inigo says:

    I think the problem here is, that the questioner means something different in “active parishioner” than everybody else. That is why it’s rather strange, that he hasn’t been introduced to the parish priest in two years.
    I think what he means by active, is a reguar mass attending Joe Catholic, who goes to confession at a given parish. But as I read I see, that most of the people here think, that active parishioners are the people working for the parish, either by helping out here and there, or by literally being employed by it. In case of the latter, not being introduced to the parish priest would really be strange. I personally think that the main issue here is not so much politeness, but rather how to [i]get[/i] a recommendation without an awkward scene. I don’t think that awkwardness is avoidable in a situation like this.
    Be brave, and get over it as soon as possible!

  36. Darren says:

    I cannot agree more with Father Z’s statement: “We have, as a culture, become far too informal.” I love looking at the photos of my parents when they were young back in the 1940′s and 50′s… my dad, always well-dressed, with a shirt and tie, maybe a nice sport-jacket or even a nice suit… and my mom with a nice dress on… for what? Just to go out and hang out with their friends.

    But, back on topic: My parish just got a new pastor the first of July. He was a priest at my parish 20 years ago, when I first moved here. Not until 6 years or so ago, when I first became active in a parish ministry, did I come to personally know any of the priests or deacons. I am a “professional introvert”. Some people aren’t the type go up to people an introduce themselves on a whim, and are more comfortable being introduced or having the right situation to feel comfortable introducing themselves.

    I did not know our pastor 20 years ago, but a good friend of mine who has been in this parish all his life had know this priest from years ago. In fact his whole family did. So, I was talking to him and his family after mass and our new pastor was greeting parishioners. He and has family went to say hello to the pastor, an “old friend”. I stood off to the side until my friend introduced me to him, who made certain to ask me my last name, not just my first with which I had introduced myself.

    If you know someone who knows the priest, hang close to him as he starts to talk to the priest until he introduces you to him. It is polite and effective, especially for a shy, quiet or introverted individual.

    The person who wrote to Father Z should not be criticized, but commended, for the attention to etiquette – something hard to find, at least, in American culture today.

  37. LisaP. says:

    Letters of reference don’t mean what you might think (or might want) them to mean. Organizations often require letters of reference from specific parties and its pro forma. For example, many of my grad school apps required letters of reference from college professors even though I had been out of college for over ten years. No negotiation. When I wrote one old prof that I remembered fondly but who certainly — absolutely certainly — did not remember me, he was very gracious and had no problem writing me a nice, boilerplate reference based on my record and needs.

    To me, I’d like to get letters of reference for anything from people who know me well. But applications usually require them from people in certain categories. I realize for some people those two groups intersect, or they plan life so they do intersect, but not for all of us.

    So, for example, even if the person inquiring spent his days on the streets bringing Bibles and soup to the homeless in service to a religious order, it wouldn’t matter for that blank on the scholarship application. He needs a letter from his parish priest, period.

    I don’t fault him one bit for his parish priest not knowing his name, and honestly I don’t fault the priest. You can be a “good Catholic” in the back pew as well as the front, and you can be a “good priest” who simply doesn’t personally know every parishioner by name. I need priests to bring me the sacraments, I don’t need them to know my favorite color.

    In these situations, it’s best to make an appointment and explain your need. Often the priest will ask you to write your own letter which he will then sign, it is not dishonest, it is the best way to get the reference tailored to your needs when every application is a little different. I wish the writer the best in getting his paperwork done, no fun at all!

  38. Traductora says:

    Start with a compliment. If you liked his homily or something about the Mass, compliment him on it, introduce yourself and say you’ve been a parish member for about two years and you’re very happy to be there.

    He may not have much time to talk, and you shouldn’t drag it out very long either. There are other parishioners who probably want to compliment him on his homily, after all! But you could then make an appointment with him later and he’d have a face to put to the name when you call for the appointment.

  39. introibo says:

    The original poster mentioned that it is proper for the priest to introduce himself first. But is the priest really going to do that? I mean, if you’re attending his Masses, and his name is in the bulletin, it’s probably assumed you know who he is. If you go to Our Savior Church in Manhattan, Fr. Rutler will NOT introduce himself to you..you know it’s he..but he is very willing to chat with you, even if you’re a perfect stranger. I’ve introduced myself to many priests over the years…yes, they are priests and their position should be respected, but they are also people. By the way, I have had priests say to me, after chatting, “I didn’t catch your name” or “what is your name?”…I don’t say the onus should be on them to ask someone’s name, but if you are a member of his flock, he should be eager to know who you are.

  40. trespinos says:

    A suggestion that I have found workable: an e-mail message of introduction. That is clearly the least demanding imposition on the priest and yet quite effective, assuming poor Father’s spam filter isn’t set really, really high. He will usually respond with an invitation to repeat the introduction after Mass, and at that

  41. trespinos says:

    (cont) at that point, the ice has been broken, so to speak.

  42. Gulielmus says:

    I was taught it is rude and improper to introduce oneself to someone, especially in higher standing.

    Bearing in mind that standards of etiquette, even formal ones, vary from place to place and period to period, I think that this is not a universal rule. I have a copy of Emily Post from the 1920s which is filled with standards of conduct when visiting a lady in an opera box (do NOT remove your white gloves), or how to respond when a stranger sends you a wedding gift in hopes of being invited to the wedding (politely, but coldly, in case you were wondering). But even then she said there are times when one can introduce oneself, even to those of higher position. If you have a number of mutual friends, for instance, or are involved in the same charitable work. I would say that belonging to a priest’s parish is within those bounds. (Her reasoning for not generally introducing oneself to others is that it invites a charge of social climbing. That does not seem to apply in this case!)

  43. Laura98 says:

    It isn’t always easy to meet with or informally chit-chat with the parish priest.

    Our usual parish priest, Fr. X we’ve seen regularly for over a dozen years now, as our daughter went through the Pre-K to Kindergarten school program & Vacation Bible School, I went through RCIA and we have the usual parish activities. Fr. X was/is always there at almost every event or activity, unless he is ill or required someplace else. For some reason, at every fish-fry, he’s holding a baby. Haven’t figured that one out yet! :)

    Now, when my daughter was attending another Catholic school (1st-4th grade) and I volunteered and worked at the school (4x a week), we sometimes attended Mass there on Sunday. Fr. Y gave my daughter her First Communion. I don’t think I saw Fr. Y more than 3 times outside of Mass the whole time I was there. I don’t remember seeing him at more than a couple of school activities or fund-raisers.

    So, I think it can also be the priest in question. Some priests are naturally more outgoing than others, just as anyone else. I am also a rather shy person, I would be nervous about introducing myself to someone, especially someone important, like a priest. I have to take it a little at a time… do the thanking Father in line bit several times, before I would even thinking of making small talk at a parish event. But by now, Fr. X knows me, so I’m good! ( I hope! )

  44. poohbear says:

    Really, if you’re unmarried, not retired and are preoccupied with things like work and school during office hours, you go unnoticed and unknown, even if you do manage to help out with things when you can.

    This is so, so true at many parishes.