Thursday, October 15, 2009


Well, things just don't seem to be going well here, and the boss and I will have a sit down in a few hours to discuss it all. On the docket:

1. I think that playing 9 Masses each week is way too many. He thinks that 10 hours of my time for playing the 5 weekenders, along with "set up" is enough..... correct me if I'm wrong in thinking that it takes several hours to practice, and that happens AFTER spending several hours selecting, then reselecting, then finalizing the music, then putting the music bulletin together, printing and folding it. Yeah, the secretary could do that, but this would be an add on to her already heaping high plate full of things he has her doing already!

2. Extra required attendance: all home school ass. mtgs, and having a group of kids singing at each mtg.

3. playing weddings/funerals (if designated as "parish wide" whatever that means) for free; and only being able to charge a max of $50 (right...) for other weddings/funerals.... AND I must take care of seeing to it that all other musicians coming in to play for those events follow our rules....

4. the distinct impression that over 40 hours should be warmly welcomed because it's the nature of an ecclesiastical vocation (I've been at this 43 years. He's been a priest 15 years, which means that while he was still in heaven waiting for the creative juices to form him, I had already been sitting on the bench 28 years.....)

Is it just a shit*y attitude that I have? I mean, golly, Wally! I love this vocation, this profession.

It's always been my vocation! And in the number 1 spot, too. Until I had been playing 25 years and got married. Then being a husband took the number 1 spot.....!!!!!!! That is a vocation I'll never give up.

Comments, anyone? Anyone read this stuff??????



Motherhen said...

I'm reading!

A few years ago I was a parish secretary. I was at Father's beck and call 24/7. I was expected to come a-running whenever he called. When he was on vacation, I was the one who set up the visiting priest, opened the church for all Masses, picked up the collection to put in the safe, dealt "parishioner emergencies", and with the funeral homes calling to set up arrangements. At home. On my days off.

It got to the point one Christmas Eve, Father called me at 6:00am and told me to come and hang out with him because he was lonely. Umm, my husband is lonely too. I quit not long afterwards. I couldn't be married to two men, even if one of those men took a vow of celibacy. He expected a wife-like commitment from me and I wasn't prepared to give it to him.

From what I've heard from other parish staff, it's the same with most priests. While I understand their delimna, we, the laypeople who work for them, should not be expected to have no life other than our parish life.

I hope your meeting goes well.

Richard Chonak said...

$50? Considering the thousands that people spend on weddings, how can he complain about an organist's fee?

Maybe it would be good to show him a sample diocesan policy. The Oakland diocese put their guidelines for employees' pay (including musicians) on the net:

Scelata said...

I thought an accepted rule of thumb was that one hour of visible work, (i.e. a liturgy, or a rehearsal with other people,) took approximately 4 hours of work.

And $50 dollars for a wedding or funeral is simply absurd.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

OhioDave said...

Sorry for the late response ... I hope your mtg. went well. Been following your adventures from afar for awhile. I've blended a corporate Human Resources career and parish music avocation for 35+ years. One immediate tip whenever you have a discussion like this ... divide your annual salary by 2080 (40 hrs per week x 52 weeks). That will give you your hourly rate of pay. Amazingly, you just might find yourself being paid under minimum wage. I would hope not ... but put in those terms, you may be able to better reinforce your point. If you shoud assert a violation of Fair Labor Stds Act (1935), this is the process a lawyer or court would look at. When the boss says, "but this is the Church, not a business", tell him to call the parish lawyer and as him to define "cause of action."

Over my career, I've seen the Church begin to realize they actually have to pay real money to get a quality musician. Unfortunately, they then think you become the Court Musician ... available 24/7 ... just like the lights in the church. "Hey.. let's have a service ... turn on the lights ... where's the organist?" Good luck.

Brian Michael Page said...

Sounds like my day job gestapo of a boss as of late. I'll post more on this jerk's antics soon.

Unknown said...

I'm going to post the results of the meeting.....take a valium -or have a good stiff drink - or BOTH, before you read it!!