My story: I converted to Catholicism after marriage and we joined a local Parish together. He was a Catholic already but had not practiced much of his adult life until we deiced to marry. I had been Methodist and was quite involved in my church. I chose to take RCIA and with my pastors blessing joined the Catholic faith. His parents moved back to the area and they resumed attending the same church as they had been members years before. We were both active in the church, raised our children in the faith and taught Confirmation classes. After our divorce it was kind of an unspoken rule, since we alternated weekends with the children, whoever had the kids attended the "main" Mass at 10 am and the other person attended another time. Of course, there were still those occasions where we eneded up at the same service which was always uncomforable. At least, for me. He had chosen to end our marriage and we did obtain an annullment but it was quite awkward for me to celebrate the Mass with the person who disregarded so much of the faith he professed to believe in and had taught me about. This aside, I kept it up. I began noticing looks from certain members of the parish, was not greeted by as many as previous except for those very few (like the Father, Religious Ed. Coordinator and people who has guided the annullment and aided during our separation) and thought that perhaps it was just my imagination. THen I was approached in the parking lot by a friend of my-husbands' parents. The older woman said she had heard of the divorce and asked what I had done. I was so stunned. I mumbled something after a couple of minutes like "I fought for my marriage" and "perhaps you asked that of the wrong person". Not terribly charitable to my former spouse, I admit. I got into the car where my kids found me crying after finsihing up their religious ed. classes. I have always been open and honest with my teens and when they wanted to know what was wrong I told them I had been feeling very uncomfortable in church as if I was no longer accepted and to my surprise they shared some of their own stories of stares, inappropriate comments and even outright prejudice by church members. Still, we loved our church and our faith and we were there for God and so we continued at the parish. My daughter went on to college and began attending the church there and immediate told me how freeing and wonderful she felt when she went there. My son and I attended another local Catholic Church on my Sunday's with him during the summer but when religious ed. was in we were back at our home parish. I noticed that I was having to leave during the services more and more feeling sick to my stomach and anxious. As if the walls were closing in. I began watching Mass online when I didn't have my kids. My ex started attending the main Mass regardless of whether or not he had the children and then his new girlfriend and her daughter joined him (I like them, but still awkward). FInally after four and a half years after the divorce I decided my loyalty to the parish was effecting my religous life negatively so I tried another Parish in a different town. From the first day I was welcomed with open arms and accepted. I found a couple of others who had experienced the same issues with prejudice after divorce from my former parish. Still I gave it some time, but within a couple of months I joined them as my new home church. I am so glad I did. I love going to church again and look forward to each Sunday. It's harder on my schedule, being in another town, but so worth it.
I wonder just how many others have had this sort of experience?