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?
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.