I was getting out of the shower in the morning and my phone rang. Not a good sign. Somebody is sick or something big is broken. The call came from the church. A visitor was there who was demanding to read (even though we had someone already), refused to leave the sacristy, and was calling out quite loudly.
When I arrived we were able to ease our way outside to talk. She was on a mission that God sent her on and everybody that was in her way was possessed (particularly me.) There was no progress or grounds on which we could meet talking so I just started praying Hail Marys out loud. That seemed to defuse the situation after a while and then it was possible to invite her in to attend Mass.
Then the police showed up in droves. They were very kind and responsive and understood the situation and that any further action might just escalate things again. So they promised to stay in our area for a little while just to make sure nothing happened again after Mass. (Thank you SO much!)
So our houses of God are to be open to all of God’s children. What do you do when one of His children can’t get along with others? Volunteers are not trained to help extraordinary persons of every stripe though we try to train as much as possible. Someone can say that everyone should just get over it and learn to live different people around us and I am an advocate for this most of the time. But I also understand people who are afraid for their children or for themselves. Imagine you are alone in the church cleaning or decorating or practicing . . .
It would be easiest if A) such person stayed on their meds or B) we just kept them out legally. But we have no right to demand A and spiritually does B work? And thank goodness God does not give up on me when I am not easy. It would be nice to spend all the time needed to care for such a person but time is limited when you have a church full of people and a Mass to start, or a couple waiting for you in the rectory, or, or, or . . .
Fortunately this morning there was time and we had what was needed to deescalate the situation and all was fine. What is the policy in your parish? What do you do when you have a pickle in the Maraschino cherry jar?