Last week I was employed by The Medaille Trust.
I was really excited to finally be working within my own diocese ~ in a life of service to others, within my Church ~ which is what I have trained to do as a part of my Pastoral Mission degree from Heythrop. I was over the moon to have secured such a post. I was so looking forward to evangelising for people who were victims caught up in the slave trade and human trafficking ~ and to raise much needed funds for the safe-houses around the country that protect them. I was so looking forward to exploring the different churches within the diocese ~ and couldn’t wait for my new life with its broader and richer outlook. I Love Catholic Worship. I equated it to great healing ~ in a diocese where I have felt the greatest and deepest of pain.
Thank God for the opportunity ~ to which I knew I would do an excellent job ~ keep my head down ~ work hard ~ be respected ~ get results ~ embrace the challenges ~ maybe later (after I prove my worth) to be given other opportunities.
There are almost 90 churches in the diocese ~ I could attend almost all of them without a problem. However inside myself I panic at the point that I am asked to shadow someone on a talk previously booked at Brentwood, as a part of my valuable training. ~ And then I am also asked to attend a previously booked deanery talk, to see if we can secure talks with parishes within the diocese.
I personally have no problem with either of these ~ even if it would be a little awkward on my part ~ I would have been absolutely professional. But based on my ‘autobiography’ out of respect I thought it important to know from others how they would prefer me to deal with the requests ~ So I wrote and asked ~ and was completely ignored ~ Invisible. ~ I think of prisoners whose name is degradingly taken away from them ~ and they are issued and identified by nothing but a number.
Ignored ~ I Am not even a number.
I turn with respect to my parish priest ~ he turns up late for Mass again and again and again ~ and then after Mass he only has the time to chat to me briefly ~ he says he will consider the situation and get back to me.
The following day we chat after Mass. He asks me to disclose to the manager of my role that I am not to attend the Cathedral. I ask him what I should say if she asks Why? ~ or what to say when she has asked me to attend a deanery talk outside of the Cathedral. He asks me to explain why I can not attend ~ thus condemning myself in my new role before it has even barely begun. I get angry and raise my voice slightly ~ the tears stinging in my eyes as I look at him and say ‘What about my dignity?’
‘Where does my dignity come into it? . . . . or the year of Mercy?’
I explain that I desperately need the job ~ (£400.00 per month for 16 hours work at the weekend which fits around any restrictions!) to give me some financial independence ~ as R and I have never had a joint bank account ~ and since I have been asked by the Catholic Church to live with him as brother and sister, although he pays the household bills and the mortgage, and buys a weekly shop ~ I am absolutely financially independent, with no money provided by him at all. I cannot work a regular job as I need to attend the junior school run as he goes away on business.
I pay all the children’s school travel expenses myself, so that they get a Catholic education, as R wanted to take them out of the Catholic School and send them to the outstanding local. I defended the children’s Catholic education on the proviso that I would pay for them all to get there! ~ I tell the parish priest how desperately I need this job ~ My parish priest looks at my eyes stinging with tears and he just looks at me and he intimates that the conversation has ended.
Upon leaving the church I make an involuntary scream of utter frustration desperation and pain. A job with every meaning of hope, value, dignity and worth.
I refuse to condemn myself any further ~ I refuse to concrete myself as convicted ~ for something that has been ‘applied’ to me by others.
It is hypocritical for the Church to preach Mercy ~ Forgiveness ~ and Welcome to All ~ and yet not to practice it ~ to the extent that someone who is trying to live a good life and move forward is condemned to the point that they lose a bloody good job.
In my care I refuse to implicate others in my situation with my employer by saying anything that might condemn me or them ~ or to disclose information to my employer about a situation which has long since been dealt with ~ yet all along has been unjust. So without further condemning myself or anyone else, I ask my manager to return to her number one connection within the diocese to see if they could better recommend somebody else ~ and if not, I know that I am ok to continue in the post.
I was given the weekend to think things over. I waited to hear back. However before we had made contact after the weekend ~ I had received an email from Caritas saying that the Medaille Trust, in response to the exchange of emails, has sent me a letter in the post accepting my resignation.
I have tried to make contact since ~ I have said that I don’t want to resign ~ but nobody has contacted me in return.