So I have essentially decided to return to the Church from protestantism, and now I need to decide where to have my confession heard and where to begin attending Mass again. I’m kind of stuck between my home parish and a local Newman Center (I’m a college student).
In my mind these are the Pros and Cons of each:
Pro: more convenient, other college students to talk to
Con: don’t know anyone there, not sure if I need to introduce myself before going to confession
Pro: Know some people there, would be closer to family,
Con: inconvenient, not as able to connect with other college catholics
You can have your confession heard at any parish, and you’re good to go, but I felt it helpful to find a parish I was comfortable with, and a priest I felt comfortable with. You do not need to introduce yourself ahead of time, but do of course tell the priest how long since your last confession, and ask for his assistance as needed.
It’s important to build a support system of sorts, and while you are at college, the Newman Center might be your best bet; this would not stop you from participating in your ‘home parish’ with family, whether that’s 2 miles away or 2000 miles. The priest at the Newman Center might be more ‘relatable’ to college students than one at home, but that may or may not be the case.
Again, welcome welcome welcome! May God’s great Mercy fill your heart, especially on this Divine Mercy Sunday, and the canonization of (St.) John Paul II.
How about going to talk to the priest at the parish or Newman Center? I don’t know how long you have been away, but my one reversion regret was being too afraid to talk to a priest first or shortly afterwards. This was followed by years of being clueless and not knowing where to start. It won’t necessarily commit you to a lifelong attendance at one or the other.
Just tell the priest that you are returning to the Church after X amount of time from being away; if he needs any more detail then he will ask. It is good to get to know the priest and the community, but if the Holy Spirit is calling you back, you should go to confession right away and then get to know everyone. Another option you have is to call an make an appointment with the priest, you two can chat for a while and then he can hear your confession. Welcome (back) Home! We missed you. :hug1:
I finally decided to go to the Newman Hall at my college and was nervous about being an outsider. Everyone was amazing and just being in a community of other young people, passionate about their faith, really strengthened mine. I just wish I had gone sooner!
You can mention it to the priest when you meet him. However, it sounds like you might want to start with visiting with the priest, and then asking him to hear your confession then, if you don’t mind face to face confession. Or you could meet him, and go to confession later anonymously.
You don’t have to know the priest you are confessing to, nor do you have to have confession at your home parish. But many people do find it very helpful.
Make sure you go to Confession before receiving Communion.
Is there a website/page for your local Newman Center? It can direct you when the priest is available; I’d recommend calling ahead. If you stop by during their ‘business hours’ (if posted), someone will be available I’m sure, but not necessarily the priest. www.newmanconnection.com might give you some more info if you are in need of it.
Can you tell how excited I am for you? A friend of mine who was raised Protestant, attempted to become Catholic in college with the college’s campus ministry, but was thwarted by her family. She now, 25+ years later, became Catholic last week. I’m excited you’ve chosen to return to the Faith at this age and not wait any longer!
I’d say the Newman Center, because I think you’ll meet people and make friends your own age.
As to having to choose, you don’t even have to do that. You could do what I do. I go wherever I feel like. I go to a bunch of churches, the Cathedral, Sangre de Cristo, Sagrado Corazón, and the Guadalajarita.
When I lived in the US, I often did that, too. There are advantages to going to many parishes. I met more people and experienced more events.
My mother, however, likes to stick with one parish, couldn’t hardly imagine doing like I do.
Also, going from church to church, I can generally avoid any church politics and such.
Go where you want. Try one, say the Newman Center. If you want to go with your family to the other, from time to time, you still can.
At the very least check out the Newman Center – maybe go there for Mass today and see what it’s like.
I don’t know where you go to school in relation to where you live, but being able to attend Mass and participate in other activities locally is of great benefit. Whatever is going on, whether it’s a prayer group or social activity, will be close by and easy to attend. There are advantages to being around other people your age. And things are more geared to a student’s schedule – you may find Mass later in the day rather than first thing in the morning, things will slow down around finals so you won’t have to worry about missing a meeting, etc.
Sorry for getting back rather late. I would suggest phoning or emailing so that the priest can set aside some quality time (assuming he doesn’t get an emergency call out just before or during your talk).
Since your religions says “revert”, I was guessing that you were baptised in the Catholic Church, in which case you are Catholic for life, even if you are not active in a Catholic parish. Therefore you always have a proper parish based upon where you live or a personal group membership.