Ask Amy: Mass cards confuse Jewish in-law

FresnoJuly 5, 2014 

Dear Amy: My sister-in-law has been sending cards for "the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass" to our Jewish family for holidays.

She sent one to my 11-year-old son for his birthday. Fortunately, I had a feeling it might be something like this and opened it before he did. I will tell him about it, but it is not something he would want and it is confusing.

Should I ask her to stop sending this to our family or just continue to preview the mail?

I'm not sure whether to accept it as an inappropriate blessing or be deeply offended.

— Confused Mom

Dear Mom: This is a teachable issue for your son. At the age of 11, he should be aware that people come from different cultures and have different faith practices.

This gesture from your sister-in-law is confusing to you, so you should ask her about it. Here's a start: "Cathleen, you know we are Jewish, right? I'm afraid I don't know what a Mass card is or why you are sending them to us. Can you explain this?"

After that, then yes, if you don't want to receive these cards, you can say, "Can I ask you not to send these to us? It's really in conflict with our religion."

My understanding is that Mass cards are most often sent in memory of a deceased family member, although sometimes people also send them for birthdays or other special occasions.

Understand that once you have respectfully explored this and asked her to stop, she may continue because she sees this as an important part of her faith practice.

I vote for tolerance, but if you don't want these Mass cards coming into the house, then you should intercept them fresh out of the mailbox.

Dear Amy: "Unsettled Grannie" was concerned about an annoyed granddaughter whose "Pappa" sends the granddaughter something around 10 texts a week.

Tell her the easiest way to get Pappa to stop annoying her is for her to return the car, insurance and monthly stipend that he provides. That will stop his texts for sure! Then send me his name and I'll be glad to have him text me!

— WA Reader

Dear Reader: Many readers have volunteered to tolerate "Pappa's" texts in exchange for the loving generosity he extends. But you're all going to have to line up behind me: I call "dibs."


Contact Amy Dickinson via email at, follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.

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