I'm switching parishes. Is it wrong?


As some of you know we are sorta new to our town as my DH is Navy. I looked up my parish as soon as we got here, went and registered and began attending Mass. I have had a bit of a time with it though…even so much as not wanting to go. And have not been going regularlily – so NOT OK.

Here’s my problem:

My church is in a 99% hispanic neighborhood. Which I have no problem with, but it seems that a LARGE percentage of the hispanics of this parish do not speak English at all. So the church, rightfully, has more Masses, classes, groups, bible studies, activities, et. all. in Spanish ONLY. We don’t speak Spanish.

There are no daily masses in English. (I enjoy these, especially now that school started and I only have a two year old in tow.)

Baptismal Prep class is unavailable in English. (A bit of a problem, considering that I am pregnant and due within 11 weeks.)

There are only two weekend Masses in English, and when I attend these I cannot understand the lecterns because of their heavy accents. Sure I can read along, and I do, and I even feel God whilst immersing myself in preparation of receiving the Sacrament. I just feel frustrated sometimes.

For instance – each time I have gone the priest does not lead the congregation in the Profession of Faith, instead has everyone repeat the baptismal vows. I LIKE to say the creed, I find it a very essential part of the mass, my experience and faith hastened by saying the words “I believe” aloud.

The RCIA class is not dismissed before the baptismal vows, BUT I am not sure there are any in the English Mass.

Finally, I have had a dickens of a time getting my kids in CCD. The bulletin last weekend said specifically “First Year First Communion Students begin classes at 9:45AM on Sunday the 23rd.” Soooo, I have my son up, ready, dressed and we are off. We get there in time. BUT all the classes have adolescents or teens in them? HUH? A volunteer tells me to go to the building behind the church and look for the director upstairs. All doors are locked. I find her again, we find another teacher who sends us into the actual Church building. Get this – it’s first year Communion students who are TEENS. The children’s CCD is run by someone else who is not there – no surprise, I have been to that church countless times and unabel to register them, I feel so frustrated. Don’t they WORK at the church? Don’t they at least answer the phone or call people back? My DD is a year behind now. She could have received communion last Spring. :frowning: So my son didnt go. I can’t get ahold of the CCD guy. It’s mostly my fault, I understand that – I could have been more aggresive in hunting down the kid’s CCD people, it just became so frustrating, especially carting all three kids there and back, and unable to find the office the CCD director is in. (Even the signage and directories are in Spanish – ONLY.)

I guess overall I feel like an outsider. I resolved to try and be very Christian like and get involved, create English speaking groups if I had to. Mom’s support – SOMETHING. However, there seems to be nobody to speak to! I would be the only participant. Most English Mass attendees also speak Spanish. (But are by far less-crowded masses, like a 1/4 of the church as oppossed to standing room only for Spanish mass as I saw yesterday.)

My son and I drove over to Starbucks (LOL) after our failed attempt to get him enrolled – we got some coffee and donuts and drove past another Catholic Church on the way back. I came home, looked it up and saw that almost ALL of the masses were in English yesterday - that registering children for CCD is a seemingly easy process, and they have condusive hours. I can go to baptismal prep classes in my language. There is a TON of networking, rosary and charity groups. Daily mass is in English. So I went to the Sunday Mass at the new church.

I loved it. I even got to say the Profession of Faith. It felt awesome, it really did. It’s almost EXACTLY to the tenth of a mile the same distance from the other church I am registered at – if not just a wee-bit closer.

Should it be a problem to withdraw from the first church and register with the second? Should I inform them I am withdrawing and going elsewhere? Is it OK to leave your assigned parish for another parish you can be more involved in?

And yes, today my kids will be registered with the new church for CCD. :thumbsup:


No problem at all. I would change parishes too. The first parish is geared toward the Spanish speaking community -which is great if you speak Spanish. The second parish is geared toward the English speaking community -which is what you need. There’s no reason to feel bad about changes parishes.


Yes, this is a legitamate reason to change parishes. It seems like your neighborhood parish is actually a ‘community’ parish in that it is set up specifically to deal with the Hispanic community. We have a parish like that here. It is almost completely in Korean (even their website!). Since you are already registered at the Spanish parish, out of courtesy I would let them know I was leaving. I’m sure they won’t be suprised.


There’s nothing wrong with switching parishes, especially when it’s a matter of your current parish not meeting your needs for activities in your own language. I would withdraw from the Spanish speaking parish so they don’t continue to send you things and expect your contribution, and let them know that you are registering in an English speaking parish. There should be no hard feelings at all.

Perhaps the next time you move, you might try out a few parishes before you make the commitment to register in any of them. That way you’ll have a chance to see which one is the best fit for you and your family.



No, it’s not wrong at all, and in fact, I’ve just done it myself.


OF COURSE it is fine to switch parishes. You are doing so for all the right reasons. Please don’t feel guilty.
Good luck with your new parish family!


You might give the Pastor the courtesy of a letter explaining your reasons for leaving. A nice letter of course :slight_smile: If he does not know there are issues, he can not address them.


Thanks everyone,

I guess I should have specified my main worry about switching parishes:

We are under the Los Angeles Diocese. Although NOT in LA county. We actually fall under the Santa Barbara Council. Anyway, here’s what most of my worry IS:

Friends of ours who live in the San Fernando Valley who have tried to switch parishes, or join parishes that are NOT their destined parish are turned away from registering. Two sets of friends had the same exact problem – assigned to a Spanish speaking parish when they speak English (and Polish!) and having a difficult time with any church activities. My one friend, when tithing would get a letter back (she would request envelopes) at her home saying “Sorry, you have to go to St. [enter whichever Parish would be her’s.] we cannot register you here.” It’s difficult because then her tithing was nto being recorded and therefor she no longer looked like a catholic in good standing. She continued to go to church where she wanted.

I should have been specific to the problems facing me if my town should fall under the same rules as the churches in the SF Valley do. Under LA Archdiocese. Our last church in WA was the only parish in town, so it didn’t matter – well besides the base, but we loved our last parish. I see many of you go to different churches when you feel like it, I am just hoping I won’t have a problem.

Yes, I will politely tell the first church I am switiching parishes.

Thank you for your support everyone. I hope I don’t reach an obstacle by neighborhood/parish guidelines. If so, I think my argument for a church that serves our language is a good one. :thumbsup:


Well even if you aren’t registered there you can certainly attend Mass at the English-speaking parish. Please let us know what happens when you talk to the two parishes.


You won’t have any problems. I live in the same general area as you (my parish is right near where you would have had that 4D ultrasound done). There is no problem here with registering with a parish that is not your neighborhood parish. I just did this and I know many others who have as well.

You might want to PM SMHW because she seems very knowledgeable about all of the parishes in our area. In fact, she works for the company that sets up all the parish websites in this area.


AWESOME! I was about to PM you and ask if you had a problem switching. Glad you saw the second post. Either place that does those 4D ultrasounds are still the same county – he has a couple of offices, so if you didn’t have a problem, I don’t think I will either. I have a letter from our previous parish in WA saying we are Catholics in Good Standing. I am taking it with me to the new parish. I’ll then go and return the envelopes (Printed in Spanish so I don’t know where to put the amount I am giving as I don’t know where the money will go! LOL!) and un-register with the current parish.

Thanks for your help, everyone!


Reading about your problem with language reminded me of a problem I had many years ago. My ex-husband (yes, I’m divorced and remarried) was in the Army and we were stationed in Panama. At that time I didn’t drive. There seemed to be a Catholic Church all over the place but all the Masses were in Spanish. I talked to a priest and asked if there were any English Masses. He told me that one church did have Masses in English but the Mass was very early in the morning and it wouldn’t be safe for an American woman to be walking around by herself at that time. He also told me that I had to go to Mass, even if I didn’t understand a word. My husband refused to drive me to Mass on base so I’d go to Mass, not understand anything, and then go home and cry. That was the beginning of my process of leaving the Catholic Church.
I’m glad you have a Church that has Masses in English. Go, get your children involved, and know that’s where you belong. Good luck.


LOL, it sounds like your typical, disorganized Latin American parish…at my (mostly Latin American) parish, I eventually became accustomed to the disorganization…and even grew to appreciate it…

But I agree, if you are having communication problems due to language barriers, then it might be a good idea to switch.

I’m wondering about your neighborhood, though. If your parish is in a 99% hispanic neighborhood, then I’m wondering how you ended up living in a 99% hispanic neighborhood? Or do you live on a navy base?


No – the church is in a 99% Hispanic Neighborhood. I don’t live in the “neighborhood” of the church. I am kind of free-floating between the two churches – as I said equal distance.

HOWEVER, I would say that my neighborhood is AT LEAST 80% Hispanic. Why is that? How did we end up living here? Because we live in Southern California! LOL We are minority anyway, and we live where we can afford to. We have a nice house, in a nice neighborhood, as do our hispanic/asian/african and white neighbors. I don’t have a problem with it AT ALL, I have a fair grasp of Spanglish as I am born and raised Californian, but it’s rusty having been away for so many years. I just can’t read or speak it fluently…

…especially with all the de-orginization! LOL


OK so registering in the Parish of the new church was no problem at all.

Enter the problem of the CCD. I am told there is “no room” in the catechism classes for my children. I have been sent to the Chapel (different site) hoping they have openings. And if they don’t: I don’t know what I’ll do. They don’t open until 2PM PST, so waiting until then.

This is literally the third time/church I have tried to enroll my children into religious education here in SoCal. To fail. Repeatedly. To be turned away - due to classes being “full.” That is when I can reach the CCD directors. It makes me want to bang my head into a wall and cry.

I stopped and prayed at both outdoor statue of Mary and the indoor statue of Jesus and His Sacred Heart (and my 2yo kneeled with me and put her hands in praying position :o ) and asked for patience. To not feel frustrated. To try to understand His plan for my kids. To pray for an opening SOMEWHERE, as my daughter is now a year behind and needs to take her first communion.

I feel good that I said in front of a priest of the new parish that I don’t understand how the churches here could turn away their own children? I don’t get it. The office lady said “Well CCD already has 500-700 kids!” ok…and that makes for a lot of parents who can VOLUNTEER to teach cathecism to the kids when they run out of room right? I would TOTALLY do it. I already did preschool class.

Please explain how they can turn away kids? I just haven’t experienced this before SoCal. They wer too young when we were in Logn Beach for religious education, and in WA they were not turned away for anything. It frustrates me because it alienates not only the children – but the parents from the church when they won’t teach the children the basics of catechism or insure that they receive religious education.

Finally, what about home-schooling catechism? Do you think it can be done, and still have my children receive communion after a “test” with the CCD or the priest? Once I go to the Chapel at 2:00PM and if I find there is no room for my kids there either, I am going to have to look into this. Does anyone have any ideas or info about it?



I didn’t realize there were two offices. I meant the one in TO, btw.

Good luck though. I hope you and your family find a parish you like.


I don’t think its wrong at all. I think that it would be wrong if you were to quit all together and be discouraged by it. You are not quitting the church, if that is what you feel. You have the opportunity to find a parish that will make you feel comfortable with and with it come many positives things. :smiley:


We homeschool our kids, including homeschooling for the sacrament prep for First Communion and Confirmation. Our pastor did give our kids a “test” to make sure that they were prepared to receive the sacrament, I also showed him the materials that we were using so that he would know that they were orthodox. I recommend talking to your pastor about homeschooling your kids for their first communion.


No room? How can there be no room in CCD classes? This is just bizarre to me. Even if it’s a huge parish, how could they not accomodate a few more children?

AFAIK, you can homeschool your kids in their catechism classes. Parents are to be the primary educators of their children anyway, CCD classes are a supplement, they shouldn’t be the only instruction.


Kelly and Aurora –

Thank you for your (QUICK) answers about the homeschooling of CCD. If there is no room at the Chapel I’ll do it. RIGHT AWAY. As long as I know the priest is ok with it – and he should be right? As there is no room in his church for my children to attend CCD.

I agree/realize the majority of our Faith is taught at home. Also through example by us, the parents (did you catch the part about my two year old praying with me? I was so touched and felt so blessed, so in awe of her it was quite a kleenex moment!), I am just trying to get the sacraments going - as they have already “started” in the baptism. I was not allowed to take the sacraments as a child due to my atheist father’s absolute resistance. I don’t want that for my kids. Of course I did the sacraments as an adult, but it was hard being raised in a Catholic family being the only one not baptized or confirmed. I don’t want either child who are right now CCD eligible to be too far “behind” the rest of their peers either. The lady there said she started signing up kids back in MAY. OK but explain this to me: if you have a large parish in a largely NAVY community – do you not make concession for more children due the large influx and exit of numbers of people at a time? How is it that most of the churches act like you have to get in there months/years (and it is years for catholic school) before it’s even time?

No room? How can there be no room in CCD classes? This is just bizarre to me. Even if it’s a huge parish, how could they not accomodate a few more children?

Bizarre to me too. Hence the reason I brought it up in FRONT of the Priest. This is JUST PLAIN WRONG.

It’s ONLY TWO kids. You know? Argggh I am so frustrated.

I am so moody right now with the pregnancy I am just grateful I didn’t start bawling my eyes out.

I’ll update in a bit. When I get back from my next CCD attempts! LOL

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