A heart breaking thing happened last Sunday that has taken me till today to come to terms with because it involves my church. We had a guest speaker last week who talked about giving to the church and how we all give in different ways. Our priest followed up by announcing the three new alter servers would start next week. M2 was devastated, she is not an alter server and no one wants to work with her to be one but her buddy in church K is. She cried tears of genuine grief as I explained that it would be too hard to do by herself. Compounding matters is the fact that M1 is an alter server and I am the Sunday School teacher. M2 between sobs asks “How me post to give to the church?”
My heart tore into a million tiny pieces, she wants to help and yet there are not a lot of things she can do independently. I rack my brain and remember, our church has greeters. They stand in the door, say hello and hand everyone a bulletin. M2 can most certainly do that on her own yes of course I would be on hand but still.. I relay the idea to her and her whole face lights up she thinks it is a great idea. I promise her after mass we will talk to the priest.
I approach the priest and his reception is less than welcoming. I explain M2 wants to give to the church and wants to greet people and he immediately states she is not old enough. I point out gently that she is 9 months older then K who is independently serving on the alter and assure him I would stay close. His look says it all, he is not willing. I ask that she be put on the rotation and he defers saying she would have to be trained first and I question on what exactly. I remind him she can smile, say good morning and hand a bulletin which is all the job entails. He states she can help the other greeters and maybe fill in if they are missing. Again I request she be put on the rotation and again he suggestions she just be a helper.
All of the sudden it all floods back to me..
I have asked for three years for First Communion but was denied because “no one else is interested”
M2 was in the role of Mary for the play and removed last minute because she could not say the line. No one told her why they just said “it was decided” (she cried for days)
When I asked if she could serve with her sister I was told “she would be too disruptive”
When the First Communion class is finally offered they decided only kids who “understood” what was going on could participate. (Yes fought that one fiercely)
It was then that I realized that M2 is not welcomed by the Pastor of our church. She was not allowed the same opportunities and when I said out loud “Father Jesus said let ALL the little children come to me” He suggested that maybe there was something different she could do to help. I hurt to my core at that moment. How could you not be accepting of every child and welcoming ALL their strengths. Devastated I walked away, I could not fathom it.
I reached out to other churches to see what was available in our area. One seemed super welcoming and offered to meet with me immediately after service to discuss how I could become part of their family. It gave me some hope but still…the hurt is so raw.