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I want to moan and whinge about the mass attendence card for FHC.

(31 Posts)
LynetteScavo Fri 09-Nov-12 21:23:13

So...we were given a card in September, and it needs to be stamped until first holy communion in may. The exact date I will not know until February, but that's a different thread) I missed the meeting where these cards were handed out. We were given 2 weeks notice of that meeting...I had that date booked to go somewhere in my diary for 18 months. The priest was not happy I didn't go, even though I explained I had this prior arrangement.

Anyway I only found out today from another child on the playground that we should have 10 stamps before Christmas, and ten stamps after. Which is fine, especially after Christmas, but not that easy before as my DC tend to be run down at this time of year, and I'd rather they rested over the weekend because I work and really need them to go to school so I don't have to take time off. She has also missed a couple of masses as she has been on sleep overs, but with girls from her class, so I was presuming they hadn't been to mass either, then find out they have all been on a Sunday evening. Duh!

So DD only has 5 stamps, while other children have about 10 already. How, I'm not sure, as we have to hand the cards in when we attend mass and they are given back at school on a Thursday. So not able to get a Sat and Sunday.

Anyway, we went to mass on Thursday 1st November as it's a day of obligation, so last week stuck a post it on the mass card asking for a stamp for that day as well as Sunday. DD was given a signature dated 31st Oct. hmm

TBH, I find it very patronising. I am raising my DD Catholic the best I know how, and I don't see how 10 stamps before Christmas will prove that or not. I'd love to see them try and not let her have her FHC if she doesn't have enough stamps. We will have enough stamps....but they wouldn't refuse her if not...would they...? shock (I'd like to see them try!)

Oh, and we will book the date we want for FHC in February (no more than 5 candidates at one service)....there is a bank holiday weekend and half term in you think they will let those with the most stamps have first choice of dates? I already know Godparents won't be able to attend on certain dates, which will be a shame for them and us if we can't have a mutually convenient date.

This is the first year the church hasn't done all FHCs on one date. I am actually gutted very sad DDs teachers (class teacher, dept head and head teacher) who live in another town and worship at different churches may not be at her HC. So it could be no Godparents & no teachers.

If you have read my pathetic moan and whinge this far well done, and thank you.

Annunziata Fri 09-Nov-12 21:37:13

Mmm, I can see where you are coming from but the numbers of children who literally turn up in church just for the FHC is shocking. They need to have some sort of system.

PS. Mass is only an hour, surely they can rest before and after...

LynetteScavo Fri 09-Nov-12 21:48:26

I need to find these hour long masses. Our priest is making them last at least 1.5 hours now, as he is doing baptisms only during mass. (Something to do with Vatican II, apparently)

Yes, she can rest for the rest of the day, but if she is pale and coughy I'm not going to drag her out of bed when I know I need to for the next five days. It hardly ever happens, but when each stamp is precious I feel the pressure is on, when normally I would just send DH to mass with DS, and not be fazed.

A friend, who is a very committed Catholic is complaining that she is being put out because of others who are not so committed. I think she has a very valid point.

Grumble, grumble.

stinkinseamonkey Fri 09-Nov-12 21:50:49

FHC numbers are going through the roof here! they HAVE to do it in split groups now. I'm with you in that it's a bit sad, FC was always with your whole class in my day but they have more than just the RC school children doing it so it comes to about 80 kids. I don't know about choosing dates but I know that there is no chopping and changing. I don't expect to choose a date, it's not like a christening or wedding.

I think you sound a bit feeble re. attendance, I don't see how a weekend can't be restful and include a wee trip to mass, it's not just the sunday morning service, they could lie in both days and do sat or sun evening. I'm sure that even if those times at your church didn't suit one week you could get a signiture from another RC church for that week?

The parent's meeting is always compulsary here, we know that so will ask before we're told the date to make sure we have it free, it's not an unexpected event.

Yes they do turn down non regular attenders here for FHC, the numbers are so high and TOTALLY out of proportion with the number of children of that age who attend all year every year.

Plus... well if you're cooping your kids up in central heating all weekend they're more likely to get run down, wrap them up and have a nice brisk walk to and from mass - that'll keep them healthier through winter!

stinkinseamonkey Fri 09-Nov-12 21:55:19

i think the current FHC system a bit of a shock to non particularly practicing cradle catholics because in our day there was none of this, FHC just "happened" through school.. but anyone who attends weekly will have seen this in practice and getting tighter every year over the last few years. I know the system and haven't had a child do FHC because there are regular announcements in mass about it.

I don't see how the system inconveniences any weekly attenders at all. We've had to sign in at sunday school for the last year for reception admission.. which makes no difference to us what so ever since we're there anyway

Annunziata Fri 09-Nov-12 22:10:20

How is your friend being put out?

1.5 is awful long. Strange about baptisms- I've only ever seen them done during Mass at Easter.

LynetteScavo Fri 09-Nov-12 22:11:47

I think part of the problem is I think we go every week, then the stamps show us very obviously that DD doesn't. blush

Some people have changed churches over this and are now going to the parish church, rather that the church the school is connected to.
I'm am sticking with the school church we usually attend because it's where the DC were baptised and DSs had their FHC -- and it's much older and therefore more picturesque--

If dragging her out of bed, wrapping her up and walking to church kept her healthy, why doesn't it work when I do it 5 days a week when she goes to school? I wish it were that easy.

I'm going to try Sunday evenings. I think they might suit us better.

stinkinseamonkey Fri 09-Nov-12 22:13:46

if she's in bed ALL DAY 50% of weekends then perhaps a trip to the doctor might be in order? That doesn't sound like normal winter sniffles

Annunziata Fri 09-Nov-12 22:21:19

Sunday evening or Saturday evening is a great time to go to Mass, especially if they're younger. Could you even do an evening one week and a morning the next?

Sorry, I'm so tired tonight, are people going to the parish church to make a point about the cards?

LynetteScavo Fri 09-Nov-12 22:36:30

No, she's not in be all day 50% of the weekends!As I said we missed one stamp from not going to the first meeting, and she had 2 party sleepovers from 4pm Sat - late morning Sunday. Which is how some children have 10 stamps and she only has 5.(I really can't figure out how they got the other 2!) I remember DS trying to get 10 stamps in 12 weeks for his confirmation, and at this time of year it was harsh dragging him out white as a sheet to sit in a cold church to just get the stamps. Funnily enough he no longer goes to mass. hmm

My friend feels she is being put out because she really wanted her DC to be involved in a children's service, with some of the children doing a reading, and each child having a special part to play in the service. She really wanted all children to take FHC in one service, like they have done in previous years. She also can't inform relatives abroad when the service will be and so she and they can't yet plan any holidays in May.

Personally I am a bit control freaky and really want to know which day it will be so I can book to go away over they May bank holiday and for half term.

Apparently the priest has said last years service was "a circus" and doesn't want a repeat of a church full of non-practicing Catholics turning up for a relatives FHC and talking through the service.

I don't really have a point. If I did, I would have written to the priest, like many other parents have, but he is very stubborn and refusing to budge, even though the school head has asked him to re-think having one FHC service.

And I'm blush to admit I was secretly rather relieved to find out someone else has already lost their card. I'm terrified DD will lose hers!

LynetteScavo Fri 09-Nov-12 22:50:46

Yes, the local parish church with no school connected is doing one FHC service for about 10 children. We already know the date. No stamped card needed.

The school church (which is the parish church for most of the town) is doing 8 different services for 40 DC.

I have had parents phone me to ask which date we are going for, as they want their DC to have their FHC with my DD.

I need to let go and not care which date it is, whether Godparents are there or not, and whether or not DD has her FHC with friends from her class, or some children we hardly know from the other class.

It was so easy and lovely with the DSs. You got 10 stamps between January and the end of April and off you went with your friends from school one Sunday afternoon. The head teacher licked her hand and smoothed down your hair, gave you a hug, and off you went. A group photo, then a cup of tea and some cakes in the church hall.

Those were the days wink

sieglinde Sat 10-Nov-12 10:41:01

Um, not wanting to ruin the tolerant mood, but if you are RC Sunday mass should be a priority over e.g sleepovers. In this respect I found yr post pretty astounding.

Do you live in a city? If so it might be easier to find another RC church that has Saturday vigil mass or early mass and widen your options, but mass itself is not supposed to be an option, but an obligation.

I kinda respect your pp for enforcing this. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear, but maybe it's a time to think about the message your dcs are getting.

ClareMarriott Sat 10-Nov-12 10:48:17

LynetteScavo You may think that I am concentrating on just a few things you have said in your various threads, but it strikes me that you need to look at what you are actually doing in respect of your DD's FHC. When I was a child, you went to Church every Sunday ( if not more ) and I don't think a stamp system operated before you took your FHC. You say that it was in September that you found out that you needed these 10/20 stamps for the FHC in May next year, ie 9 months but you missed the meeting where the cards were given out although you had been given 2 weeks notice. You go on to say that that the DC tend to be run down at this time of the year... rested over the weekend .... and have missed masses when having a couple of sleepovers.!!!!! It's 9 months and how old is she ? I think you were trying to redeem yourself by saying you went to Mass on November 1st .

Are you the only practising Catholic in the family as you have said you have sent your DH with your DS to mass in the past ( your DS nolonger goes to Mass it seems ) but then say you want to raise your DD catholic as the best I know how.

You can't dictate to your parish priest when the FHC should be held so it fits in with your social calendar and those of your relatives. Forget what all of your friends are doing because if YOU are really committed to your DD's FHC you should find the ways of getting these stamps ( if that is what is takes ) so she will be ready in a practical sense as well as a spiritual one too.

stinkinseamonkey Sat 10-Nov-12 11:13:35

you don't really sound like you get anything out of mass OP, We don't find going such a drag/challenge! we enjoy it. Are you really into having a catholic family life?

LynetteScavo Sat 10-Nov-12 13:16:45

I'm sure you will all disagree with me, but I actually do think what I attended on the day of the FHC meeting took priority over the meeting.(I'm not going to say what it was under this poster name as it will out me) It had been planned 18 months in advance, and people were relying on me to be there. I had gone to great lengths to arrange childcare.

ClareMarriott, yes, I know what I've said. I've married into Catholic family, and am really trying. Obviously I'm not doing very well in most peoples eyes, but I am trying.

I am not physically going to drag DS1 to mass, even if I could. We have enough trouble getting him into school (see my previous school refusal threads from the past 5 years) and getting him to leave the house full stop, so don't even go there with that one.

I personally do like going to mass. I don't like forcing my DC attend if they are not well. Ior if they need to stay with non Catholic relatives on my side of the family for the weekend. If it were me or DH getting the stamps we would be well away, lol, and the DSs managed to get the stamps easily enough (although we did struggle slightly with DSs confirmation ones, again at this time of year).

I do see where you are coming from with the sleepovers, sieglinde, but at the time I reasoned, all the other girls on the sleepovers would be missing mass too. I was surprised they were organised for those times, and very nearly asked to collect DD early, but didn't. With hindsight, I should have probably thought for myself, rather that go along with what everybody else was doing. I think I got a bit carried away with the honor of DD having an invitation.

Initially I didn't care what date the FHC was going to be, but I'm getting so much grief off friends and relatives I now do care, (and I don't like not being able to plan...once I have a date, any date, I will relax) to the point of thinking we shouldn't do it this year.

I know I can't dictate to the PP about dates, which is why I haven't written to him, although other parents have, and have urged me to do so. There has even been talk of a petition. One mother I met in the supermarket was in tears about it.
And my point about going on Thursday, was not to redeem myself hmm but I was wondering why it was stamped 31/10, and not 1/11. confused

sieglinde Sat 10-Nov-12 13:50:29

Lynette, it's v. tough getting reluctant kids to mass. How old is ds? Dd?

We found huge numbers of holy books worked well for mass; dd loved art anthologies about angels, and ds liked saints' lives. If your ds is becoming sceptical, the idea might be to let him choose, but talk over the iissues wiht him; why we go to mass, what it's for.

Does your church have a children's liturgy for pre-communion children? Our church also has a vestry where mums and dcs can go to scream read aloud but till listen to mass.

Or - even more simply - the European way is to go for breakfast pastries afterwards and make God sweet, as my grandmother said. That way, your own dcs will likely clamour to go; I did this to break mine in to 8am mass grin

Choosing a date for FHC seems odd to me; we never got a choice with either dc. I'm being a bit thick; why does it matter to you?

LynetteScavo Sat 10-Nov-12 14:24:49

DS1 is 13. He went through a phase of telling people at his school he didn't believe in God, and therefore not Catholic. He told me if people at school ask him if he's Catholic he says "No, but I'm from a Catholic family". He then told me he did't think he has a soul, and love is just a chemical reaction necessary for human survival. (Which made me cry, but his -raised Catholic- psychologist told me he is actually right.) He has since told me he does believe in God, and I asked him if he would pray if he was in a plane which was about to crash. He said "No, of course not, I would be too busy figuring out how I was going to survive." He was saying "I don't believe anything Catholics believe" but when I started to un-pick this, he was shocked to find out he did. grinIt's tough, but I do believe the softly softly approach is best with him.

I do bribe with sweets after mass, it's the only time I ever give my DC sweets (I'm a mean mother). It's no mass, no stop off at the shop for sweets afterwards. The younger DC take great delight in waving their packet of fruit pastels at DS1 when they get home. There is a children's liturgy, but the DC usually prefer to stay with us during mass. DD likes mass, and DS2 is happy to go along with what ever DH is doing.

I wouldn't mind choosing a date if I could choose NOW, or just be told now which date it would be (which I would prefer). It's the uncertainty of not knowing which is bothering me. That probably makes me seem odd. Not knowing how we will actually sign up for a date, is also bothering me. What if 10 people want one date? The priest has said only 5 children per service. I'm not sure how it's going to work. confused Maybe the children with the most stamps will get first choice!

geogteach Sat 10-Nov-12 14:59:33

I think you need to look at this from the other side. I am speaking as a catechist and a parent of a child making first holy communion. We are a parish that until recently was 3 seperate parishes (so 3 churches), at present there is one priest. We run the same programme in all 3 churches, the parents sessions are combined and the kids sessions take place at the church where they will make first communion. The church I am involved with has 70 candidates, the others 24 and about 12. The smaller groups will make FHC at Sunday mass, at my chuch there will be 3 extra masses over one weekend, families know the weekend but not yet the mass. What I am trying to say is that the logistics are a nightmare and that is before you start worrying about who is attending mass, whether kids have been to the preparation sessions and if their parents are actually doing any preparation at home. I would like to bet that whoever is organising it would love to hear from you if you are able to offer to help (I would be surprised if the priest is that involved, ours tries hard to attend sessions, hard when they are in 3 different locations at the same time, but he has far too much else to do to be worrying about which children are at which mass). As to teachers and head teacher being there, ours always send a representative to every mass even though they live outside the parish and are not all even catholic.

ClareMarriott Sat 10-Nov-12 21:22:47


I'm really sorry that you are so confused about everything. Just so I am reading the situation correctly, your DH is the Catholic member of the family, you are not, your DS has been going to mass but now does'nt and you are trying to organize your DD's FHC. If this is the case, your DS cannot say that he is not a catholic if he has been baptised in a catholic church. Was he baptised? How old is your DD?

You also need to look seriously at this bribe of sweets after Mass. Does your DH know this is going on and does he condone it ? If you are also rattled about not having a date for the FHC ( is'nt it sometime in May next year ? ), why don't you just speak to the parish priest yourself and ask him any questions you have. If you do not realize that the parish priest acts as God's representative on Earth, how do you think he would feel receiving a petition from parents ( if it comes to that ) worried out what date their DD's were going to do their FHC. !!

Don't keep worrying about other people - just do what is best for your DD

sashh Sun 11-Nov-12 06:03:46

OP id it doesn't have to be Sunday mass then this is not much of a problem. There will be a mass said somewhere every day, just check the times.

When I was at an RC school (many many years ago) we were encouraged to go to the 6am mass in the local convent.

I know where I live now there are a few churches that do 7pm mass during the week.

LynetteScavo Sun 11-Nov-12 13:40:08

It does have to be a Sunday mass, but children who are low on stamps have been known to be given one for mass attended with school <<shrugs>>. I'm relieved DD was up bright and early so she is now well on her way to 10 stamps. smile.

Yes, DH does know about the reward of sweets after mass...he was the one who introduced it.

I have asked the priest about what will happen about signing up in February, and am told "Watch the newsletter." Which doesn't help me now.

Most of the preparation is done by the teachers in school, and the priest when he visits. He has 3 assistant priests (although one is old, so obviously does very little), and 40 children taking FHC, so nothing like one priest for 100 children, as in geogteach's parish, which sounds like a huge amount of work!

The mum who was thinking of starting a petition was more concerned about there not being one service for all the children, rather than the date I think. I found out this morning she is now attending another church where they will have one service, and there is no need to have a card signed.

And going in this morning, a girl in front of us had forgotten her card, and was told "Don't worry about the card." shock Now, if I could just stop worrying about the card.....

Annunziata Sun 11-Nov-12 15:24:45

Eh, I fully funded the after mass cake stand for years, I wouldn't worry about the sweets!

The uncertainty about the date is odd. I think they tried to do it by surname in my nieces and nephews' classes, but they organised it in plenty of time in case there was a clash. The head teacher and plenty of school teachers should definitely be there, I don't think you need to worry about it.

As long as the priest sees you, I don't think you need to worry about your card. St Peter isn't going to ask you for it when you get up there grin

SilentMammoth Sun 25-Nov-12 08:10:20

Just reading through these posts, there seems an awful lot of worry and thought going into cards, stamps, invitations, and very little about relationship with God.

sashh Sun 25-Nov-12 09:27:38


And your point is?

RooneyMara Sun 25-Nov-12 09:51:36

Oh gosh this makes me sad.

I remember doing my first communion. We were at a Catholic school, there was no stamping of cards, we just had a booklet of emotionally manipulative sad stories to read and understand with our parents for a term or so beforehand.

I understood the moral behind the stories but I didn't understand about communion, just was told the general point behind it, what it represents etc.

I felt too young to properly understand it, or believe it/not believe it.

I think when it has come to the point where the church is insisting on stamping a card as 'proof' of commitment to the church, there's somewhere along the line been a breakdown in trust, and in thinking the best of people, and in believing them.

And this is clearly, clearly not your fault or anyone else's who genuinely wants their child to be initiated into the church.

There are a lot of people who just want to get into a good school, I know, but honestly - that's where the problem is and stamping your card or not isn't going to make any difference to your family's commitment to being there.

I would struggle with making a poorly/run down child go to church too. But then I don't like church - I would rather have a personal relationship with my faith, or God or whatever but it doesn't have to involve rituals and other people's hierarchies and traditions. That's a very worldly sort of thing imo, you can be a great Christian and live a bloody excellent life without even setting foot in a church.

Maybe it is about the protocol then - for the church that is implem,enting these rules - maybe that matters more to them than how you feel. But imo it shouldn't. If you want to subscribe to that way of being then I guess you have to drag her out of bed.

It seems a shame though. Sorry no answers x

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