If you’ve ever changed parishes, how long did it take you to adjust to your new parish and view it as “your” parish? I was talking to a coworker who moved a couple years ago. He’s still not comfortable at his new parish and a couple times each month will drive over an hour and a half back to his old parish just because that’s where he feels comfortable going to Mass. I can sympathize with him a bit (although not with the 3 hour drive every other week) because it took over a decade for my wife and I to look at our current parish as “our” parish. In fact, the thing that really did it for me was going back to my old parish to find that they’d torn out “my” old pew. They were doing renovations and the pew I’d sat in at almost every Mass for over fifteen years was one of the ones they got rid of.
It probably depends on how much you liked your old parish. I attended the same parish for more than 40 years; when the pastor passed away and the new one took over, the changes were too much and I went somewhere else. We had changed pastors over the years, but this one was different; it took me less than a month to feel at home at the new church and six years later, I’m still glad I switched.
I have never moved parish
My wife and I moved to our present parish 27 years ago…the pastoral team and the parishioners were so friendly and welcoming that we felt ‘at home’ in a matter of weeks…we plan on staying here even after we retire…
At least one full liturgical year, probably a little longer.
I have not changed parishes (converted in 2005 and at the same parish from day one) but our parish did lose our wonderful, beloved, adored, greatest homilist ever priest and as a result a lot of people did change…some of them driving over an hour to stay with our original pastor although he very much discouraged it. A large group migrated to another parish in the same part of town and have said they feel right at home. I think because their pastor has the same kind of personality and attitude as our Founding Pastor and there are so many of them that they kind of stick together. Another group moved to a nearby parish that has a school so they plug in through school activities. OTOH one of my best friends was very upset about the changes and left temporarily but said she was so attached to her fellow parishioners that she felt alone at the other parish and returned after a month.
I’m curious if you can explain why you and your friend didn’t/don’t feel at home in the new or sort of new parish. Is it a preference as to the priest, the Mass times, the church building? Are the people more or less friendly and welcoming? I know our parish, in the past, made it a real mission to be welcoming to new people including having a small coffee and cake reception for new members, having a welcoming committee call and offer to provide information or ask questions. As a result our parish has a reputation for being very welcoming for new people and they seem to stay once they give it a try.
Given that one of the benefits of being Catholic is that you can go to Mass anywhere and feel at home with the Mass itself, the encounter with Christ is the same obviously. I just wonder at what made you and your friend feel out of place at least temporarily?
I’ve never had the luxury of being able to return to a former parish, every move was hubdreds if not thousands of miles away. When it was from military parish to military parish I felt at home right away. They made sure to greet new parisioners and make them feel at home. They had an ulterior motive, they knew you were only there for a few years so they wanted you to quickly get involved in ministries and committees, but it made moving much more pleasant.
My present parish serves the military community but is not military. It was not a welcoming place when I came here. I volunteered within a month of getting here as I was used to doing but that was resented by the long time parishioners. It took a long time before I really felt at home, it didn’t really happen until I’d been working as the parish secretary for a year or more. I’ve now been here 17 years.
I think this us a very big factor. We went to a new parish about 18 years ago when we moved here. It may have taken a year to call it ours, and we still would always compare it to the churches we left behind. But then, several years ago, they consolidated 4 or 5 parishes in our area into one and closed only our church building. No one feels like they fit in at the other surrounding churches. They all gave up certain mass times, we gave up all of our Sunday and vigil masses. There were a lot of hurt feelings and honestly, many of us feel like we don’t have a parish any longer. It is a strange way to feel.
As soon as we became involved with our time, talent and treasure it quickly became our home. I’m a firm believer in finding what you can do for your parish. The more you give, the more your heart expands in an abundant love for your parish community.
I’m a rookie, and have only attended two parishes, and each one I settled into quite comfortably after the first Mass…The next one might be more difficult, because my current parish is so much a part of my life.
In my current parish, we found it and started attending there, en lieu of our regular parish, even though it was a half hour away.
A year later, when we needed to buy a new house, we told the Real Estate agent not to bother showing us anything more than two miles from the parish.
I don’t think I’ve ever been back to the old parish.
But it would take a LOT to readjust to another parish after this one. In addition to being the spiritual center of our lives, it is also the social center. My wife and the kids are there several times a week for various activities.
I’ve turned down a promotion at work because it would involve moving away from this parish.
My husband & I have moved quite often throughout our 33 yrs of marriage so I’m enormously grateful for the Catholic church - that each one is familiar and like home in that sense.
But my husband does not like to do the social things within a church - coffees, dinners, etc. so we never really get to know people and I always feel somewhat detached; not like “family” or a “home church.”
I really long to plug in and be part of the church family, but it’s kind of a balancing act. I also really long for my husband to grow in his faith and I’m grateful he attends mass with me.
I don’t dislike my neighbors; we used to go to town hall meetings all the time. And many of them know me as I take one-mile walks every day past their house.
But seeing them in church is very uncomfortable for me. I sit hoping no one notices me there. Can’t pray. Part of the reason I attend more Spanish Masses there. Atmosphere is much warmer at that time.
So the answer to the OP is “about 30 years.”
I “moved parish” when I started at my current college. I still go to my home parish when I’m on break for major liturgical feast days, but the majority of the year, I’m at my school parish. It’s taken me a year to start feeling comfortable and accepted. And I’m at a point where it saddens me to think that I’ll have to leave this parish again at the end of this semester.
About a year for me.
I moved into this neighborhood because I like this parish.
I don’t get to be there very often right now because I’m working at a different parish. It didn’t take long to feel “at home” at the parish where I’m currently working - the people are amazingly friendly.
Given the one priest from my old parish moved to my current one before I moved, only like 3-7 masses or so. :o
I got along fine from day one from the old parish where I was the Music Director to the present parish where I am the DRE. Aside from the obvious missing old friends who were indeed like family and a great support system, the problem I had was in getting used to the “new” way things were done in the present parish.
The present parish is very progressive. The old parish was very traditional.
Both churches have great people, holy priests. But man…changing gears to “fellowship at all costs” from “tradition at all costs” is frustrating, sometimes disturbing, and often hurtful.
It’s just hard. I fit in fine, and I am in a position to be the welcoming person there, which is fine. But I’ll never get used to not kneeling after communion, holding hands during the Our Father, and screwball music selections. Drives me nuts. I have to make a conscious effort to not be critical and to not let it get to me.
So when I work with students that feel odd during Mass? I get it. In spades.
It’s the old case of “physician…heal thyself.”
This is kind of interesting to me because it’s often cited as a reason for people to move parishes, particularly if there have been changes. Our parish went through three priests, two DREs, two music directors and lost a permanent Deacon in a bit over a year (we had two temporary priests before the new pastor was named). Lots of people didn’t like the changes made by the three different priests. We’d get used to Fr A’s way of doing things then Fr B came in and did them differently finally our pastor changed everything again…from Mass times to the POF to where the Credence table was located to various other liturgal changes that he indicated were correct vis a vis the way we used to do it.
We do have one parish somewhat nearby known to be very traditional and people left for that parish because of that repuation. It also has a very traditional old church building…stautes, stained glass etc. We have other parishes known to be progressive and again, those of that political (?) outlook find those parishes more comfortable.
In a way I think it depends a LOT on the priest, the tone he sets, the focus of his homilies…is it Social Justice or the Rosary…for example. Is he cheery and friendly or more formal? We’ve certainly seen how people didn’t like one priest’s style and as a result they left.