I am an underemployed “cradle Catholic” single woman in my 50s. Lately, I have been very discouraged with the parishes in my archdiocese. Many are really for various ethnic groups with Masses and parish ministries held in languages other than English. I have never met anyone at Mass, but now that I am older, people shun me to the point where the “offer each other a sign of peace” part of the Mass is a source of dread because of the reluctant, curt nods I usually get from others.
I have tried to join groups in two parishes (e.g. choir, children’s liturgy), but the “old groups” always make it clear that newcomers like myself are not welcome. Although I believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church, more and more I dread going to Mass, and I would like to attend a non-denominational Protestant church because the people are more welcoming, there are many ministries to join, and the praise and worship is uplifting. I know that we have the Eucharist, and would still attend Mass on Saturday night, but I feel as though I can get to know Jesus (and the gospel) better at the Protestant church. I have tried talking about this to priests but they are always too busy, and dealing with families and the young is a top priority. Basically, I feel totally unwelcome, and if I would just give the church money, and be “invisible” that would be the best. Is it all right for Catholics to attend Protestant services, provided they follow the rules of the Church (e.g., attending Mass on Sunday)?