Starting this thread to see if anyone has any ideas about how to build Christian communities? Not in the sense of starting your own town, but in building a group of Catholic friends for support and faith sharing and just having a good solid base in troubling times.
Our family belonged to the same parish for over 20 years and we were very much involved there. It felt like a home away from home. Things started getting more than a little whacky there (won't go into details out of charity).
We joined PFI (Pastoral Formation Institute) initially because we thought we'd meet other Catholics who were serious about their faith. We did but we also primarily met a lot of cafeteria Catholics, too.
We finally left our parish after the arrival of a new pastor who I truly believe is mentally ill. The changes that were ushered in made the old shennanigans look like a bastion of orthodoxy.
We joined the parish we should have belonged to based on geography, but haven't really found our niche. We went to the social coffees after Mass, but aside from the organist and a few of the ministers, no one seems to attend. The Lenten Soup supper had next to no one there and although we volunteered to serve, it was a very clannish group that just didn't welcome anyone.
I know it's a cliche, but I think that if Mother Teresa showed up to volunteer, they'd ignore her.
I tried volunteering in outreach but no one ever called me back. I joined the Rosary Altar Society, but learned that I wouldn't be permitted to help clean the church since that was "taken". I visited the prayer group, but their brand of charismatic prayer and speaking in tongues just wasn't for me. We met with the pastor who knew I had been the music director at our previous church and he urged me to help out with the music, but after several attempts, no one called me back and I gave up.
My son (a seminarian who stepped out of formation to deal with a health issue) has tried for a year to be a extraordinary minister, a lector, a sacristan or a member of the young adult group and keeps getting the run around. He has given up, too.
My husband, who is a convert, is the only one who has found a spot in the RCIA program, although he comes home weekly ready to tear his hair out after listening to the dear sisters promote notions like one day we will have female priests and deacons.
I really don't want to be a "parish hopper" but I do miss the community we experienced at the old parish. Some PFI friends belong to parishes that seem to have very active, welcoming congregations, but they are a distance away. Sadly, we can't even go back to recapture the Christian community in our old parish since many old friends have moved away or fled to other parishes themselves.
We are normally friendly, helpful and outgoing people, but we're starting to feel like a band of pariahs. Am I expecting too much? Any ideas?