I attend Mass at the Catholic parish of my childhood (I’m the 7th generation of my family to do so) every Sunday along with my wife. While it’s the best of two Catholic parishes in town it offers next to no activities outside of the Mass. It’s been this way for at least 20 years and the last few pastors have been very hesitant to allow any new fellowship activities.
More specifically the last few pastors have not allowed the formation of a weekly Bible study, coffee socials after Mass, a supper club, or anything along those lines.
A little more than two years ago my wife and I started attending a “non-denominational Protestant church” right around the corner from our house (it took over a beautiful old Episcopal parish church). We do this on Sunday evenings in addition to attending Sunday morning Mass after being invited by a neighbor.
The services are definitely “Christian lite” but they are also not anti-Catholic in any way. The fellowship this place provides has become most precious to my wife and I. When we show up we can either pray silently inside the church (we often pray the Rosary) or visit and have coffee inside the “atrium” (parish hall.) The services begin with 2-3 FULL hymns. The hymns are beautiful/classic, my wife and I love to sing and it feels like we are singing in a 400 person choir. Then comes some quite basic communal prayer, followed by a sermon (often an excellent sermon.) Then more singing, more prayer and finally some more singing. They don’t do baptisms to my knowledge at their evening service. Then we all head to the atrium for a well planned potluck (AKA the “covered dish meal”) each and every week.
It’s a beautiful thing to be able to sit at table on a Sunday night with other Christians! It’s also wonderful to prepare a special dish each Sunday. I really enjoy doing that.
After our first visit I met with the pastor (at my doing) and explained that neither my wife nor I would ever consider leaving the Catholic Church or stop attending the Mass but that we were hungry for Christian fellowship. I also explained that I cannot afford to tithe at two parishes and that our weekly giving would be quite modest. He waved my concerns aside, said he understood and there hasn’t been a problem nor any attempt to proselytize us in over 2 years.
Is there any problem with attending their Sunday service? I certainly cannot think of any. My parish isn’t about to change (technically it could one day with the coming of a new pastor) and I would really miss going there each Sunday evening. Thank you.