Joined a new parish--now I might want to change?

Recently, we moved to Florida, as most of you know–and we joined a new parish, not far from where we live. An important thing for my family and I when seeking a parish ‘home,’ is that it isn’t too far away, because on Sunday, we are always running behind…not sure why, but we always are. So–we found a nice church–the pastor is a bit…sarcastic at times though, in his sermons, which I dislike…and we feel like a number or something. He pitches too much about fundraising for playgrounds, etc…before the mass has concluded–which I’m not even sure if that’s a liturgical abuse or not, frankly. But, other than these issues, we like this parish. I joined a women’s group–love the people I have met.

Well, on Assumption this past week, our parish did not have a vigil mass. I had family coming from out of town on Wednesday, so we had to attend a vigil mass–and found a church about 10 additional minutes away, from our parish. We really liked the priest who gave mass, and after mass, the priest took the time to ask us where we’re from–would my daughter like to be an altar server, etc…where at our current parish, the priest shakes my kids’ hands, without even looking into their eyes. I hesitate to judge another human being–he could be busy, whatever…but, this has happened after every mass…and it’s always been important for us as a family to feel like we are part of our church community–not just a tithing envelope. My husband dislikes our current parish because of the above mentioned things–but also because the mass isn’t as ‘traditional’ as he was accustomed to as a kid, himself. They have even altered the words of the ‘Our Father,’ which is a head scratcher?:shrug:

Now, that being said, I want to start a supper club, so new parishioners can get to know one another, and this priest approved it…so, he’s very in to family participation–it’s just more of a personal thing I feel, when we stop to speak to him.

Ok–so, we’re thinking of attending this other church’s services this weekend–do you think these are ‘stupid’ reasons for potentially wanting to change parishes?? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!!

You have a responsibility to go to a parish where you are most fed (spiritually).

I see no problems with this. You are new to the area, so you haven’t set roots in a parish community and your reasons are, well…reasonable. I just moved as well and we checked out most of the parishes before settling on one to join.


By ‘joined a new parish’ do you mean you went in a registered, obtained envelopes, etc?

If so, I think I’d wait a while before going through that whole process again. You might want to check out some of the other parishes in the area too. If after a few months you decide that this other parish is the best of the bunch and you want to make the arrangement permanent, then do the paperwork.

You might want to investigate the rules each parish has as to whether or not you need to be officially registered to be altar servers and the like.

There is no perfect parish. The grass will always be greener on the other side :slight_smile: , —KCT

Is this true?

When I was growing up, my parents said we were assigned a parish according to where we lived. There were lines, like school districts, and we belonged, according to the diocese, in a particular parish.

I remember her being very snippy when some friends left our church for another parish because they liked the priest. She said they were being like Protestants, just following the preacher who made them feel good, and that Catholics didn’t do that, but submitted to the authority of the Church and attended where they were told.

That may have been a regional thing, or something that is no longer done, or maybe she was just wrong about it, I don’t know. But I am often surprised when I read here than people “shop” for a particular type of parish or switch parishes freely, That was a big NO-NO where I grew up.

When I was growing up, my parents said we were assigned a parish according to where we lived. There were lines, like school districts, and we belonged, according to the diocese, in a particular parish.

This is no longer the case in the RCC. You are free to attend a parish church that uses the original form of Our Father. (I’m EO. Just the idea of changing it made me gasp for air :eek: )

Anyway, I wouldn’t worry too much about it either way. You’re not doing anything wrong either by staying where you are or changing. :slight_smile:

This is a patently untrue statement. It contradicts your own chsoen signature line "I am the servant of the Lord… my MASTER! Thy will be done. " as well as ignores the fact that we are all perfectly “fed” anywhere where the Blessed Eucharist is present. I suggest that this is protestant thinking and can be dangerous to one’s Catholic faith if left unchecked.

I see both points. I think in OP’s situation, if she were considering to send her children to a Protestant church for some sort of entertainment, etc, but however, she is talking about ANOTHER Catholic Church, nothing is wrong, IMHO, for her to want to travel another 10 minutes so that she feels more fit in and more fed in comparsion to her other parish. Yes, this is Protestant thinking, I’ve been a Protestant Bouncer for years, seeking the right place and yes, to be honest, if I had two different Catholic Parishes to choose from, I too would seek out the one that most fits the needs of my family.

But I do see you point. And it just may have been God’s will for whatevergirl to end up at the other Parish…never know. :shrug:

I also like this parish-with the exception of a few things. I’m not sure if those ‘few things’ matter all that much in the scheme of things. Thanks for your posts, everyone!

I the move sounds like a good one. Would be for me. The priest is the leader of your church family, and from any leader everything flows, thus the first part of the word “lead”.

God be with you as you make your decision.

It’s true one is fed wherever the Eucharist is. But,

Parish with Eucharist=fed.
Parish with Eucharist PLUS better liturgy, more comfortable fellowship, more apostolate opportunites in line with your talents=more fed.


A number of questions come up in my mind.

Some people feel bound to belong to their territorial parish with whatever blessings or problems that brings. I don’t feel that way and belong to another parish that I prefer.

That being the case, I do think it’s important to put down roots in the parish you join. So take the time to shop around and find the parish that will be best for you and your family. And when you consider the distance to the prospective parish, consider too that you won’t necessarily be going there only on Sunday. If you’re involved in the parish there may be other things going on during the week.

And also keep in mind that no place is perfect. You have to balance the pluses and minuses.

Just had to say I love this formula…

My 2 cents worth -

There is no reason, in my opinion, that you have to commit to only one community. While I am active in one parish, and my family attends there almost exclusively, I attend weekday mass at a downtown parish on occasion, and once per week, I attend morning mass at another parish because I belong to a group which meets at that parish. I think I am so fortunate to have a number of priests with whom I have established a relationship. They all bring different qualities to their vocation.

If there are some things you have been happy with at your current parish, it makes sense to continue to be a part of that community - the supper club you are organizing, the proximity to home for you (believe me, I hear you on the challenge of being pressed for time in getting the family to mass :slight_smile: )

As other posters have stated, being fed by the Eucharist is what matters most. But also keep in mind, the priest can change at any time. Your slightly sarcastic pastor may one day be replaced by one who is more to your liking. We have just had a number of our priests reassigned in our diocese.

You sound like someone who plunges in to parish life with the heart of a servant. You may find, as you assist your pastor, that you may get to know him better, and grow to appreciate his unique personality. With my own pastor, one day I realized how overworked he really is, and I made a vow to assist him in any way possible. I help out as I can, and I pray for him daily. It is possible that you may come to appreciate your pastor more and more as you get to know him, not just through mass attendance, but through service in your community.

All this is in my own humble opinion…:slight_smile:

Hey, Whatevergirl,
Trust your instincts and go where you feel at peace spiritually as well as where you feel God has a mission for you. My husband and I have been considering changing parishes, and I thought we had decided to change, but when I went to fill out the new parish’s online registration, I didn’t actually feel right submitting it. So we decided we’d think about it a little longer. I don’t remember dreaming anything that night, but I woke up and had some really great ideas how I could contribute to my current parish. I also saw people from our current parish that week and had a strong sense of belonging in that community. It’s not perfect, but I kinda feel like God has a purpose for me there, even if I have to struggle a little with some things that bug me, and wait veeeeerrrrryy patiently for acceptance and involvement in the ministry I have talent and training for. So we talked about it again and decided to stay awhile where we were. Pray about it, and go where you feel you “belong.” Your reasons are valid if you do decide to make a change!

Laudatur Iesus Christus.

There seems to be a significant impact on American attitudes towards parishes paralleling the idea that divorce ought to be freely available. Are people disposable?

I have not looked into parochial membership in detail. However, here are a few canons that might be worth considering, if you are seeking to be obedient:

Can. 515 §1. A parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stably constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor (parochus) as its proper pastor (pastor) under the authority of the diocesan bishop.

§2. It is only for the diocesan bishop to erect, suppress, or alter parishes. He is neither to erect, suppress, nor alter notably parishes, unless he has heard the presbyteral council.

Can. 518 As a general rule a parish is to be territorial, that is, one which includes all the Christian faithful of a certain territory. When it is expedient, however, personal parishes are to be established determined by reason of the rite, language, or nationality of the Christian faithful of some territory, or even for some other reason.

Can. 519 The pastor (parochus) is the proper pastor (pastor) of the parish entrusted to him, exercising the pastoral care of the community committed to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose ministry of Christ he has been called to share, so that for that same community he carries out the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing, also with the cooperation of other presbyters or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of the Christian faithful, according to the norm of law.
This would suggest that people do belong to the parish where they live. Joining a “personal parish” may be authorized by the local Bishop, but it depends on the terms underwhich a particular parish is erected.

The easiest course – though it might not be very easy to press the question until you find someone who can give an authentic answer to the question – would be to contact the Diocesan Chancery and ask what the provisions are for each of the Parishes in which you are interested. You may be allowed to move, or not, depending on the juridical form of the parishes.

It might also be good to consider what this sort of “family shopping” says about what one thinks love is. If one’s son takes an odd turn in his thinking or approach to things, would you desert him and find someone else easier to “love?” Why take such an approach to your parochial father? " Thou shalt love thy **neighbor **as thyself." (Mt 22:39)(emphasis added).

Spiritus Sapientiae nobiscum.

John Hiner

John- thanks for that post! Even though I am not the OP, it gave me food for thought, and I think that is largely what was bothering me when I considered changing parishes myself – what kind of example was I giving my children toward church?

excellent points…thank you for this insight!

I enjoy this parish very much–we attended mass here again today…(the one I’m registered at) and guess what–Father Sylvia from EWTN gave mass today!!! I don’t think my reasons are enough to venture out to join another parish.

I feel that if one is not comfortable in a parish, they do not need to remain in it…but that being said–your points are well taken, and I agree actually with what you’re saying. There will always be nuances here and there–in any parish–that I/my family may not like…is that a reason to abandon that parish? The answer is a resounding no. I actually enjoy this mass very much–and truthfully, the real reason for mass is to be at the center of it–the Eucharist. I think that we have grown accustomed to thinking that churches should somehow cater to our needs, our whims, even entertain us. I don’t think I was bordering that–but I’m also used to a more traditional mass…where this church is traditional, but borders on non traditional at times. They also announced today, that they are thinking of offering an evening weekday mass-which was like a sign for me to remain there. This parish truly tries to help its parishioners to be involved, and tries to make it possible for all people. That’s a very holy and charitable thing!:slight_smile:

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