Looking For A Parish

The church I went to last Sunday and will go to this Sunday is not where I will end up. I am looking at two parishes where we are moving to. I have no clue what to look for in a Catholic church. I have no issues sending an email to a protestant church and knowing what to ask. Actually this is one reason I am converting. After many emails with Pastors and seeing that the churches are so different and have different beliefs, I realized that something was wrong there and that I need to look outside of the protestant church. I know the visiting the church is truly the only way to see what it is like, but if there are things that are massive red flags, i want to know now.


When I joined the Catholic church, I was a member of my local parish as I was a college student and it was the most convenient to me.

It used to be that Catholics had to join the parish closest to them but I understand that is no longer the case.

Get on the parish websites. Look at their bulletins if they are online. You can tell a lot about the parish that way. Then visit each parish several times. Ask God to tell you what parish to join.

Feel free to send an email to the parish and see if you can get some information.

As to what to look for, that depends on your preferences. Do you want a smaller parish? Do you want a more traditional one, or more contemporary? What kinds of activities do you and your children want to be involved in? Do you want a church that offers Daily Mass? Is the commute an issue?

Best wishes.

I do want Mass daily. I know I won’t be able to make it daily but will be able to make it a few days during the week.
One does have bulletins online.
I have a feeling both are not that big because of the area we are moving to.
I would love to be in a parish that takes being part of the local community very important. I really love how important it seems to be in a lot of Catholic parishes to do charity work. That is something I want to be involved with.

When it comes to my boys I have no idea what to look for. Since I am use to protestant church it is so different when it comes to kids.

Each parish is about five minutes away from where we will be. I am happy that the time for travel isn’t much, means I can be involved more.

I do think I will email the Rev. at each one and hope I don’t sound totally stupid LOL

How old are your kids? Some parishes sponsor Boy Scout troops and have youth groups for middle school and above. All parishes have Faith Formation.

My boys just turned 5 on Saturday :smiley:
On the bulletin there is a pre-schoo/parent session. That is something I will ask about. I will ask about Boy Scouts.

One thing that seems different between the two parishes is that the one that does have the program mentioned about has on the schedule that on Wednesday nights there is a time for the Rosary. The other might have it but did see it listed.

This is the one I am looking at the most. A lot more info than the other.


I have a 6-year-old nephew (Lutheran); he is in Boy Scouts and loves it. He was in a Lutheran preschool which worked well for him. I think a church preschool would be great.

Hoprefully you can make a contact at each parish to give you information.

I am going to work on an email today. In my experience with protestant churches is that you can tell a lot about by answers to questions.

What is the difference between a traditional and contemptibly Mass?

Is the new parish where you will be completing RCIA? If so, you may want to look into the program each offers - one may be more suited to your style of learning than another.

I would suggest attending Mass a few times at each parish to get a feel for the overall community of the parish. Try attending any social events they put on as well.

Also, don’t forget to PRAY ABOUT IT! :slight_smile: God will lead you to where you are supposed to be.

Yes I will be taking RICA classes. I can’t wait!!!
The one that I posted does have a coffe/tea get together after the last Mass on Sunday morning.

And up on a few messages, that should say contemporary. LOL

Awesome! I loved my time in RCIA (c/o 2008!). You’re just in time to see the baptisms/confirmations of all the newly-minted Catholics at Easter Vigil - you should attend at one of the parishes you’re considering and see if that’s the right one for you.

If you have any questions about the process feel free to PM me as well, I’m always happy to help a fellow convert! :thumbsup:

I can’t wait to see that at Easter Vigil. I know it will make me even more excited!!! Thanks for the offer to PM :smiley:

When contacting a parish, do I do I address the Rev, as Rev. Leckie or Father Leckie? On the website it is written as Rev. Father Michael J. Leckie.

A traditional parish - in the truest sense of the word - celebrates the Extraordinary Form (Traditional Latin) of the Mass.

Here is an example at my local Cathedral of Mass in the Extraordinary Form celebrated by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter.


This is the “old” form of the Mass that was used before the changes of the Second Vatican Council. The Mass that we celebrate today (the “new” mass) is called the Ordinary Form.

A “traditional” parish may also be one which uses the Ordinary Form, but adheres to a lot of the older traditions of the Church, such as singing/chanting parts of the Mass in Latin etc.

A “contemporary” parish may have liturgy that is entirely in English, with upbeat music that sounds more like what you would hear during a protestant church worship service.

You may simply address it “Father Leckie” or “Dear Fr. Leckie”

In speech it is also common to simply refer to the priest as “Father” with no other names attached.

Thank you :slight_smile: The one I was at this past Sunday I guess was a mix of the two. It was all in English, the music was hymns, did not feel contemporary at all, at least night how I use to contemporary. I was glad it wasn’t.

Thank you :slight_smile:

If you send an e-mail to the priest, I would address it to Father Leckie.

When I am speaking with a priest, I often just call him Father, but if I send him an e-mail I always say, “Hello Father X”.

Being a Catholic parish, there is not going to be the variation in belief that you find when “shopping” for a Protestant church.

Going to Mass and attending events would be the best way to see if the parish is a match for you and your family. The bulletin will be a good help.

You might call the secretary and ask for a list of parish organizations. She may have something to mail or e-mail you. She might be the best one to give you a quick over view of the parish. (Sometimes the secretary belongs to another parish near her own home.)

Looking at our parish bulletin, there are several groups that you will not see listed in the bulletin. One is a group that helps weekly at the homeless shelter - making food to bring and serve the residents. There is another group that makes and serves dinner to the men in our diocese who live at the Discernment House before going to the seminary. There are a lot of people involved in a variety of ways with pro-life works in our city, but you will see very little in the bulletin.

I think the best way is to attend Mass and to attend parish events and begin to volunteer in the different programs. Some parishes appear wonderful on paper. Some may appear very lacking on paper. Participation will tell you how the people work together.

You will find in any parish - people who work hard to serve others, people who are very spiritual, people who have a lot of time to give to the parish and those who have less time, people who know a lot about the faith and people who know very little.

You can register as a parishioner at one parish and still check out the other one. You most likely can join activities at both places - but be sure to register at one. If you later decide the other parish is best for you, just register at that parish and let the first parish know you are becoming a member of the other parish. You are welcome to attend Mass at both parishes, but it often feels best to have one that you normally attend Mass.

Enjoy the time of learning about the faith and the parishes.

a couple of thoughts for you. If the parish has a Friday Lenten “fish fry”, I would try to attend it to get a feel of the parish since those types of events are open to the whole community.
Likewise, does either parish have a school? The only reason I ask this is that even if you don’t send your children to the school, they have CYO sports teams (most likely) 5-8th grade which actually are open to anyone’s children’s attending catechism. Even if there isn’t a school, some of the larger parishes do have CYO sports teams which your children can get involved with. Likewise, check and see if there is an active youth group both high school as well as middle school. Even if your children are not at those ages yet, it shows what is down the road for involvement. Also, check to see if the parish has some sort of food pantry, many do and they are always looking for help. Once you become Catholic, you can always become involved at the Mass in a variety of areas such as lector, EMCH, usher, greeters etc. Serving is these areas will enable you to met others. Choirs are also another great way to get involved and met people. Look at the bulletin online since most all are publishing them. Another person to contact is the director of catechism for the church. They might be more available to talk to than the priest. I guess I would shy away from emailing the priest since most are very busy and an email from an unknown person might get ignored. It’s just a thought because I wouldn’t want you to get disappointed if you do not receive a response. Good luck and God Bless.

I am so happy that there is not a variation of beliefs. One big reason for this huge change.
Do register at a parish do you have to have complete RICA? Thanks for all the great tips :slight_smile:

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