Moving to a different Parish


Well, when I joined the Church, I started going to the Cathedral in the Diocese because it was downtown, I worked downtown, and I planned to move downtown before Easter. Well, I didn’t end up moving downtown, and although I do work downtown, I still have to drive like I am going to work on Sundays to go to Mass. It is also the Cathedral, and they don’t have a school or as many community programs. I also love it because I can go to Daily Mass just about any day of the week. I love going there, it is great. The Priest is good, the people are good (nice enough but no one talks much though), it’s all good.

However, for some reason I have been feeling drawn to move to the Church that is closer to my house. It is in a very undesirable area of town so to be honest I was scared to go there at first. Anyway, my Priest is on vacation right now so I decided to go to this other Church for Mass last Sunday. It was much simpler than the Cathedral, but it was beautiful. I really enjoyed going there and can’t wait to go again next Sunday. It is a fairly active parish, with a school and more community programs. Mass was good, the Priest was so young though! I went and looked him up later, he was only ordained in May! Like 7 weeks ago! He is just the associate pastor though, the other one has been ordained for 25 years! I haven’t met him, he has actually been filling in for my regular Priest while he is on vacation.

Is it weird for me to want to move after only joining Easter? I want to move because it is closer to where I live and my community, there is a school there and my husband and I will have children soon, there are more families with children because of the school, stuff like that. I just feel odd about wanted to change when I’ve only been attending the Cathedral for a year, you know? Anyway, I am just thinking about it and wanted some opinions.


I really don't see why you think that it would be weird to attend the parish to which you belong anyway by virtue of living in its boundaries.


Were you confirmed at Easter? When you join the Church, you join the universal Catholic Church, not just a specific parish. You can certainly go to Sunday Mass at the parish near your home, and still go to daily Mass at the cathedral.

As Catholic, we can go to Mass at any Catholic church, not just where we “joined” or register. I personally always recommend that people become involved at the closest parish to their home. That way they are becoming involved with their Catholic neighbors also.

You can easily tell the priest at the Cathedral that you don’t want to drive downtown on the weekends. He will perfectly understand.

Pray for your new priest! It is wonderful that he is following his vocation!


Well technically, I don’t know where the boundaries are. It is closest to my house, but not that close. There is only one church that has their parish boundaries listed, so I don’t really know if I am inside the boundaries or not.

I don’t know how these things work, I just know I filled out a registration form at the church I attend now, so I thought that I belonged to that church. (It was explained that parish boundaries do not matter at the Cathedral of the Diocese, because the “parish” of the Cathedral is the entire Diocese, and thus, the entire state of Arkansas )

Thanks, I understand that I can go to any church (I am visiting some churches in Boston next month! Yay for business training!) but I didn’t know if it would seem weird to the people at the church I go to now, although I don’t really know anyone well, but all the people from my RCIA class and what-not.

I’m sure he will understand, he’s just great though and I love going to Mass there. However, the new Priest also seems awesome. I was so excited to hear that he was new and following his vocation.

Surprisingly, Arkansas, despite the low numbers of Catholics, does very well in vocations.


Move to the nearest parish that fills you with the authentic faith. Avoid any parish that is filled with dissenters and lukewarm faith. Frequent a parish that has a daily mass that fits your schedule and attend Eucharistic adoration weekly. Find a parish that does the rosary once per week and attend this too.

I remained at a parish for 25 years that was not faithful to the magisterium. In fact, it was downright hostile. I paid a heavy price for staying there so long. My family has been impacted by this experience in a negative way. We are slowly working out of it.


Hi Misspriss. It’s always nice to go to a parish in your community so that you can get to know neighbors and develop friendships. You’ll be standing in line at the grocery store and realize the person behinds you goes to your church - it’s nice to have that connection with strangers.

Also, don’t worry about if someone else thinks you’re ‘weird’. It’s none of their business anyway. You do what’s best for you spiritually, and if you’re feeling drawn to the parish close to your house, I would listen to that voice that’s calling you there. You may be being called there for some great purpose.


Hi and welcome home.

I think it would be great for you to go to this parish close to you. You are certainly free to go to any parish you wish, but I think it's always good to attend and support your geographic parish. I wish I did this, but I still attend my old parish, even after I moved across town. I want to attend the parish here, but it's a long story.


There’s certainly nothing weird about your desire to move to a parish closer to your community!

Part of the deposit of faith is that we are a community of believers, so it would make perfect sense that you would want to be a part of your parish in your community, and that you would want to be involved in that aspect of the church which takes communion beyond the bounds of the mass and extends our spiritual unity into greater aspects of our daily lives (in other words, while the unity of the church is found in the sacrament of the Eucharist, that sacrament should inspire us to greater Christian unity in other ways as well).


And you can still attend daily Mass at the Cathedral.


I personally don't see why you can't simply attend both. I know lots of people who will attend a daily mass at a church which is located near their work and then have their family parish that they attend every week with their families. It's important to follow the holy spirit with this. For example, technically speaking I should be attending my local parish which is located 10 minutes from my house, but for technical reasons and the fact, God has called me to attend another parish, I attend one 45minutes from my house. When I can't make it to my parish, I stay local. It's not rocket scientist. Sometimes rules complicate things much greater than they have to be.




Proper Parish:

Can. 102
§1 Domicile is acquired by residence in the territory of a parish, or at least of a diocese, which is either linked to the intention of remaining there permanently if nothing should occasion its withdrawal, or in fact protracted for a full five years.
§2 Quasi-domicile is acquired by residence in the territory of a parish, or at least of a diocese, which is either linked to the intention of remaining there for three months if nothing should occasion its withdrawal, or in fact protracted for three months.
§3 Domicile or quasi-domicile in the territory of a parish is called parochial; in the territory of a diocese, even if not in a parish, it is called diocesan.

Can. 104
Spouses are to have a common domicile or quasi-domicile. By reason of lawful separation or for some other just reason, each may have his or her own domicile or quasi-domicile.

Can. 105
§1 A minor necessarily retains the domicile or quasi-domicile of the person to whose authority the minor is subject. A minor who is no longer an infant can acquire a quasi-domicile of his or her own and, if lawfully emancipated in accordance with the civil law, a domicile also.
§2 One who for a reason other than minority is lawfully entrusted to the guardianship or tutelage of another, has the domicile and quasidomicile of the guardian or curator.

Can. 106
Domicile or quasi-domicile is lost by departure from the place with the intention of not returning, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 105.

Can. 107
§1 Both through domicile and through quasi-domicile everyone acquires his or her own parish priest and Ordinary.
§2 The proper parish priest or Ordinary of a vagus is the parish priest or Ordinary of the place where the vagus is actually residing.
§3 The proper parish priest of one who has only a diocesan domicile or quasi-domicile is the parish priest of the place where that person is actually residing.

Can. 856
§2 As a rule and unless a just reason suggests otherwise, an adult is to be baptised in his or her proper parish church, and an infant in the proper parish church of the parents.

Can. 1115
Marriages are to be celebrated in the parish in which either of the contracting parties has a domicile or a quasi-domicile or a month’s residence or, if there is question of vagi, in the parish in which they are actually residing. With the permission of the proper Ordinary or the proper parish priest, marriages may be celebrated elsewhere.

Can. 1177
§1 The funeral of any deceased member of the faithful should normally be celebrated in the church of that person’s proper parish.
§2 However, any member of the faithful, or those in charge of the deceased person’s funeral, may choose another church; this requires the consent of whoever is in charge of that church and a notification to the proper parish priest of the deceased.
§3 When death has occurred outside the person’s proper parish, and the body is not returned there, and another church has not been chosen, the funeral rites are to be celebrated in the church of the parish where the death occurred, unless another church is determined by particular law.


I served on our parish RCIA team more than 20 years, and I assure you that your team friends will be delighted if you are happy in your new parish, and thrilled to have you come back once in a while to visit.




Not meaning to hijack but this leads me to a question of my own. How can you best tell if the parish has “authentic faith”? I have been going to this parish since I returned to the Church. It seems nice, the Mass is said reverently and the Pastor seems very sincere. It’s hard to tell by the attendees since we are a tourist area-I’m just beginning to tell the visitors from the locals. They have Mass daily with Rosary recitiation afterwards. They have Adoration each Thursday. This week’s bulletin has a prayer to the Precious Blood of Jesus and a Novena to Our Lady of Mt Carmel. They are also running a weekly class using Father Barron’s Catholicism. It seems like they’re doing all the right things, but I want to be sure. I had a conservative Catholic life once and I am trying to reclaim the faith i let slip away. I want a parish that can help me on the way there.


Seeker1961, what do you mean by authentic faith. Faith is a quality of an individual which is a gift of God. Perhaps you mean an accurate presentation of the faith in catechesis and homily. Are you thinking of properly done liturgy and accurate catechesis?


I was using the term from the poster I quoted-but yes-that’s what I mean.


I just moved but the opposite happened to me. I went from a parish that was 20 minutes away to one that 45 minutes away. I feel at home, I totally love the priest (whose been a priest for over 35 years) and I have the most amazing and wonderful experiences with God, feeling His love and the people are so warm. I found the parish when I attended a Divorce Support Group. They are the ONLY church in our Diocese that has a divorce support group so any parish that cares about divorced people is my kind of parish.

I asked a priest that I know if this was a good idea. This was his reply:

“God has no desire to micromanage your Sundays. Go where you are being fed.”

And it’s not a coincidence that this 35 year priest has experience with mental illness and OCD as I have a mental illness and the former church (and priest) were horrible to me. I was on the verge of a breakdown and my OCD was getting worse. I was running in and out of Confession 3-5 times a week.

This parish I attend now is altogether different. Everyone says it’s OK that I’m sick and that I should just sincerely try to do my best. The priest is skilled with OCD adults and I will list my sins (once a month ONLY) and he often says, “That’s not a sin that a personality quirk” or “That’s a thought not a sin”. Then he laughed and said, “OK the other two are sins”. He has helped me so much I’m feeling so much better mentally.

Whether it be distance, treatment, programming, friends, whatever. God is in all of them. I agree with Fr G. Go where you’re being fed.



Thank you for sharing your experience!


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