I don't fit in with the church

Hi,

I feel so lonely in the church. Most of my parish are older people and the few younger ones have young children. I don’t have kids yet. I’m different than the people I go to church with. I watch anime and scary movies, go to comicon and metal concerts.

The church where I live is small and everyone who goes there knows each other and have grown up there. People don’t make an effort to know me or talk to me other than saying hi. I’m shy and have some social anxiety so its hard for me to be the one to initiate conversation. And even if I wanted to there isn’t an opportunity. After church people go say hi to their long time buddies and then leave. Even before covid there was no Bible studies or anything other than men’s groups and the altar society. Well I’m a woman and I don’t have a washer and dryer and wouldn’t want to take linens and stuff to a laundromat. Our church is half Spanish speaking with a separate mass and they have a woman’s group but I don’t speak Spanish or fit in there either.

I thought church was supposed to be a community, but I feel so alone. I am a convert and miss going to a church where I wasn’t an outcast. I miss Bible studies and learning all the time. Our church has catfish dinners and things sometimes but everyone just talks and sits with their friends making things awkward and lonely.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve been thinking of just going to a protestant church to feel not so alone.

Edit: let me clarify, I’m not looking for friends during mass. Mass is wonderful on its own. I’m talking about a lack of the community aspect that supports each other as the body of Christ. When I was protestant we had Bible studies and other little things that the community did together. People were welcoming and tried to include me in things. I’ve been to several catholic churches and am missing having a community.

I don’t plan on leaving Jesus’s Church. I just have 0 Christian or catholic people in my life other than my spouse who I see a few times a week due to his job. I want to be able to celebrate a catholic life with people. I want their wisdom and whatnot. My whole life is so secular and all I want is to replace some secular things with church things and have people who want to do that too.

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I should mention it was like this before coivd as well.

Please help. Please pray for me.

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For your intention

Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
The Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit
of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God,
pray for us sinners now,
and at the hour of our death.

Amen.

I’m in the same place you are.

I am neither elderly nor am I a wife and mother.

I didn’t go to elementary school with the parishioners so I don’t fit in their social circle.

Honestly, I wouldn’t look for socializing in the Church.

I’d look for it outside and join groups with common interests, if your place had them.

For speaking to fellow Catholics, that’s what CAF is for.

I’ll pray for you that you may find true friends.

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I feel the same, though I’m in a demographic where I should be able to have friends. Loneliness is difficult, but it is a part of most people’s lives, especially in the age of technology. If there is a university nearby, you might see if they have a Catholic group, you might try another parish or see if there are any online get togethers through meetup or some other site. Also, don’t disregard making friends outside your age group or season of life. You might be surprised at who likes anime or ComicCon. (I do, though you wouldn’t know it to look at me since I’m past middle-aged.)

Edit: Sorry, I didn’t realize this was posted in prayer intentions where advice is not allowed. I will pray for you.

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I switched it to spirituality so there can be more postings like yours that will be helpful … hope she doesn’t mind, but she isn’t going to get what she needs in prayer.

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Lots of us are “different” from the people they go to church with. I don’t have kids, spent many years of my life going to rock (indie, metal, classic rock, you name it) all over the world, and don’t have much in common with the vast majority of people at church. I will admit I kind of like little old elderly church people, and can have a short chat with them from time to time, but it’s not like we have anything in common or that we’ll be hanging out together.

Fortunately I don’t go to church to see people, I go to see Jesus.
I make my friends and do most of my social stuff somewhere else.
Sometimes one can find a kindred Catholic or two on the Internet to chat with. There have been metalheads on here from time to time.

Also fortunately, I don’t find Protestant church people to be the least bit appealing from a friendship standpoint. I have even less in common with them than I do with elderly Catholics. Plus the idea of hanging around a church all day that doesn’t have the Real Presence is like, why would I bother? I could sit in my living room or under a tree and have the same thing.

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I’m going to send some prayers your way if you do the same for me, because I feel the same way in my parish. You aren’t alone, and I’m sending you a hug-along with some prayers.

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I think that it might he difficult during the covid shutdowns to make any changes, but maybe this sort of thing should be discussed with the pastor of the church? He might be able to directly help those who feel alone, but also to preach in a way that starts people talking with each other more.

Additionally, others only see your outside. They do not know you are quaking in fear on the inside. They may not approach you because they have social anxiety or they think since they never see you talk to anyone that you don’t want to.

It would be great if the parish had more of whatever anyone wants or at least coffee and donuts. It would be great if others were less clannish and more friendly.

But the only ones we can change is ourselves, so maybe you could take some steps to counter your shyness and reduce your anxiety. That way you will be able to approach others when you see that they might be lonely.

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I can certainly relate to this. I have experienced difficulty in meeting people at a parish.
In college, I went to both the Catholic student center, and a non-denominational Protestant group that I’d been invited to. I went to both for about 6-8 weeks, but eventually due to time constraints I had to pick one. I picked the non-denominational one, because I had made some friends there, where I still really hadn’t in the Catholic one.

Anyways, I wish I had answers. I can tell you that the Catholic Church is the fullness of the truth. Jesus is fully present in the Eucharist. But sadly, I have experienced a lack of community in the Church as well. And this is a great failure.

I’m very interested in the Benedict Option, which talks about forming Christian communities. Like the kind where people live close to each other, and homeschool all their kids. Or eventually start a school for the community. I think its necessary, because parishes have so often failed to be a true Christian community. And they really should be.

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I was in exactly your position (just with video games instead of anime) before I met my spouse and married. When I became a Catholic at age 29, I was surprised to. find that my entire generation was basically missing from the pews every Sunday. I eventually found a college ministry where there were singles younger than me regularly attending… but still nobody my age. Eventually I changed parishes and that is where I finally fit in. That is almost certainly the solution for you: find a different Catholic parish (individual church) where you fit better.

You didn’t state your age, but if you are in your 20s, a college ministry would be a good place to go. You can also look at Catholic parishes that have special forms of the Mass, since these tend to attract younger people. For example, Tridentine Latin Masses, Anglican Use, and Eastern Catholic rites.

I also second everything in this post.

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I am not trying to be harsh here. We do not go to mass to “get”. We do not go for stirring homilies. We do not go for uplifting hymns. We do not go for fellowship or friendship.

We go to offer the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in sacrifice to the Father in atonement for the sins of the world. We go to give, not to “get.”

If you leave, you are walking away from the fullest expression of Christ. A very wise judge once stated :

“I went looking for friends and found none. I became a friend and found many.”

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I know that must be lonely, but please don’t despair. We’re not like Protestant churches that go to church for a sense of community. Our ‘communion’ is with Jesus. Use this time to get closer to Him. Jesus felt alone in the Garden of Gethsemane. You’re sharing that part of His Passion with Him now. Don’t worry. He will bring the people He wants in your life if you let Him. We have Jesus in the Eucharist. We have the full deposit of faith. Please don’t walk away because the people in another church may be more fun to hang out with.

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Your reply is what I would have said … but I was afraid to speak the truth … but I am happy you did … the truth needed to be spoken. Thank you.

I understand all that. I’m not looking for friends during mass. I want a catholic community that supports each other and can be friends outside of mass.

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I understand all that. I’m not looking for friends during mass. I want a catholic community that supports each other and can be friends outside of mass.

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I do neither, but I listen to Heavy Metal music and like comics. I’m just not a very social person. Not because oy my taste of music.

That is a legit problem. I sometimes would introduce myself to people who I saw for the first time when I went to a small church.

Sometimes, I go to Spanish Mass. Contrary to popular belief, Hispanics are a diverse group. I look like some of the people there, as does my buddy Howard (who is Black), but I don’t speak Spanish, either

Can you start one?

NO, NO, NO. That is NOT the right thing to do. If you want to meet people, get involved in things outside of Mass. START SOMETHING IF YOU HAVE TO.

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Well, welcome here!

Our parish has a group just FOR YOU :slight_smile:

It is a game group. Everything from classic video tournaments to board games to the ongoing DnD quest, it is also fellowship (online during lockdown) and when in person lots of junk food. No one under 18 is allowed, (there are other fun things in the parish for kids and teens to do).

On New Year’s Eve they had a party that moved from the meeting room to the Church at 11:45pm. This group brought in the New Year with Eucharistic Adoration and prayer.

Maybe talk to your priest about starting such a group? You could begin online with a simple Facebook group.

Metal? Do you know about

There are people in your parish, or in a neighboring parish, who share your likes. Heck, I’m one of those grey haired ladies - well, more often it is grey and purple or teal or asphalt - who loves punk and metal and will talk cosmetics or science or “Ask A Mortician” youtube channel with equal exuberance. Call the Diocese office and find out about nearby ministries.

There is also Phatmass, a forum that attracts a “hipper” sort of Catholic

Then join them. They might have been wondering why you only show up for mass.

You mentioned social anxiety. There is a great solution for that: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Among many others, Dr. Gregory Popcak of Catholic Counselors offers it. Drug free, it can be done via phone. If this is not the case, then kindly disregard.

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I’m an introvert myself. Most of my friends come through work. I go to Mass & I’m trying to avoid people.

I say that to say I’ve never been to any parish that did not need help with something. If I were in your situation I would get involved. Maybe they need someone to start a bible study. Maybe they have someone who wants to do it, but doesn’t want to do it alone.

I’d take some time talk to the priest or someone in the church office. Tell them you’re looking for a way to get involved.

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