When my son was getting married the 'bright spark' working in the Parish Office charged me for his Letter of Freedom the tiny piece of paper that she filled in half a dozen words on and rubber stamped the Parish Priest's signature.
It used to be that you only paid a small 'offering' for actual Certificates like Baptism, Confirmation or Marriage.
There was never any charge for the Letter of Freedom which the former Parish Priest always signed himself but the new Parish Priest did not bother and just had the Secretary stamp and hand out!
A lot of the Churches in Dublin who employ staff specifically for the purpose of booking masses have "set price" offerings which is fair enough to cover staff costs etc., but it is very, very sad to hear some Parishioners in Bray who are on welfare and now go to the local Church complain that there is a price listed on a poster now giving the minimum donation and if you don't have the money you don't get a Mass.
As any Priest will tell you - you cannot 'buy' a Mass - you give an offering and this is very cold hearted and uncaring for a Secretary to turn someone away because they did not have the minimum amount accepted but that is the way things have gone in this Parish unfortunately.
These offices in local Churches need staff with a heart who care and often know the odd situation of a person coming in to book a Mass and you can make exceptions especially when it is a mission mass going off in a lump sum to the missions.
It is sad to hear a person say how they felt very small and belittled because of the attitude of those now working in a Parish Office regarding this where there is no caring for the dignity of the person you are there to serve in the Parish.
Most believe a Parish Secretary is a 'vocation' not just an office job.
You have to be a people person and 'care' about people and have a heart and great patience as most of those visiting the office are quite elderly and you cannot ask them to stand outside doors while you make phone calls etc., as many have now witnessed.
Others get so frustrated at this they end up walking out!
That brings the Church back to a cold hearted uncaring business which is not what your local Church is meant to be.
If that is what the Church has become a money making enterprise then I suppose if you are SELLING a service then it is probably right to tax the service as they are talking about taxing Masses in Brazil.
Value Added Tax on Masses - what next?
It is also sad when due to unqualified staff who cannot multi task a very limited service at the office is available for parishioners.
The office is open for just 2 hours to Parishioners to book Masses etc., 10.30 to 12.30 in spite of a later daily Mass which people attend and would like to have office open to them.
This limited availability to their Parish Office is in force because the person hired as the Parish Secretary is not capable of multitasking and has to lock herself into the office for the other 2 or 3 hours a day to catch up on work.
It is frustrating for elderly people to be outside the door knowing Secretary is in there but you don't dare knock on the door to ask a question or even to phone - it won't be answered.
At other times you get a frosty reception because you are interrupting her work.
What is she there for but to serve the Parishioners.
If she cannot hack it and be civil then she should leave. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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