Parish do you find your parish family


I feel as if I’m parish hopping…is that even a really Catholic thing to do?

The parish my family attends is almost 45 mins from my work and school. I can’t attend mass there regularly and our parish priest, bless his heart, has retired so I am left feeling “out.”

There are three or four parishes closer to me, but they are much more liberal (gulp, did I say that, no offense meant) and I feel uncomfortable with all the hugging and touching and changes, plus the layout of the churches are such that you would have to squint to guess it was Catholic.

Okay, am I being too picky?

That leaves two parishes downtown, again, the problem of distance.


I want to have our marriage ceremony in the parish that we will join, but I can’t find a parish with that all around reverent and Catholic feel, plus frequent mass and confession times.



What city do you live in?

My family (wife and 4 children) and I belong to a parish that is almost 50 miles round-trip from our home. We attend Mass there daily, and are very active in the parish, so we drive there frequently (sometimes two or three times per day). There are at least 25-30 other parishes that are much closer to our home, but it’s well worth the drive to attend a church that is truly Catholic. (It’s hard to tell those other churches from the local protestant churches, if you know what I mean.)

Keep searching until find “home”.


I found my parish by going to a half day diocesan retreat and asking all of the ladies there which parish they attended, and why.

When I heard one woman describe her parish it sounded wonderful, so I met her there the next Sunday and from the minute I walked in I knew I was home.


We’ve lived in several towns due to hubby’s job, and there was usually only one church available (here in the South). However, when we lived in St. Joseph, MO, there were five or so churches to choose from. We attended two or three, and when we arrived at the third, “There’s No Place Like Home” started playing in my mind.

I told this to hubby, and he said, “Everyone from work attends here, so I guess that makes sense.”

Not the usual way to find it, but my 2 cents anyway.



Luckily, the parish I’m with is also the parish that is next to me (three minuts on foot). There’s no tridentine offered there (YET!), but I have the possibilitie to go to an other parish once a week for that (reasonably far at the place where I study). Active parish live, no inapprobiate cuddling or other things during mass that are not conform with the norms and… just alive :slight_smile:

But I know that this is really a blessing and rare today - so I think hopping in moderation is the way to go to find a parish you can grow in your faith, even it is far.
Not to the OP, but in general: While hopping, it is always good to rethink the motives from time to time - Am I searching a place to grow spiritually or am I being picky?


When I lived in a different diocese & was re-verting back to the faith, I went parish shopping. Somehow I had decided that the music ministry was a telling factor in whether a parish was “right” for me or not.

Long story short: I ended up at a parish pretty close to my apt., that had a totally different style of music (pipe organ & cantor vs. contemporary guitar choir). It turned out to be an enormous blessing at just the right time: the “stripped down” music (to my ears, anyway) opened up the liturgy for me, allowed me to really hear and observe and contemplate and pray the Mass for the first time.

Flash-forward to today: when I first moved to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I bristled at the fact that generally speaking, one is expected to belong to the parish that corresponds to one’s boundaries/“district,” although exceptions may be made. But now I get it; sometimes the Holy Spirit needs the right combination of priestly talent, parishioner talent, spirituality, and stewardship to build up, sustain and/or revitalize parishes.

I’m not saying one policy is better than the other; I just see both sides of it now.

Btw, if I had made a decision based on how I “feel” about our current parish, I don’t know that we’d be there. But we planted roots, got to know parishioners & priests & ministries, and now it “feels” like home. I think that if you’re going to go hunting, you and your fiance have got to enumerate a few concrete, objective “must-haves” and count the rest as gravy.:slight_smile:


For the most part, I’m an advocate of the parish boundries thing–you go to the parish you live in. Usually then you children see other kids from school, sports, etc. It is easy for people to be involved without having to drive distances, you see people from church at the grocery, etc. All ways of building up community (I know that word isn’t a favorite) and the supporting each other.
My concern about finding the ‘perfect’ parish is that there isn’t one. The priest whose homilies you like can be re-assigned, the music director who play the organ so well can move or retire. But the real reason is that The Church is The Church no matter which parish you attend.

All that said, there are certainly circumstances where people simply can’t stand their neighborhood parish. And where there is an alternative that they are able to attend, it is probably better for them to move than to be angry/uncomfortable/scandalized every week. And certainly in areas where there are many parishes reasonably close together, people do often attend the one they prefer with no trouble.


Hey guys just an update on my hopping…lol.

I’ve decided to join our Cathedral parish and we’re going to have our ceremony there as well. For now it is quite a drive and we are also attending a church nearby, but soon enough we are transferring to a school down there for our grad degree, so it will work out.

I really like the parish; it is very active in the prolife community and they even have a designated prolife mass.


Wonderful! Glad to hear how well this worked out.


A parent’s primary responsibility is to do everything they possibly can so their children can get to heaven. We’ll be judged on that someday. Just attending a parish for convenience is not a reason to attend a parish that isn’t faithful to the teachings of the Church. If there isn’t a good orthodox parish nearby, it’s your responsibility to find one for the sake of your children’s souls.


May you be at peace there.


In the archdiocese of Philadelphia which the poster was refering to you must have the Parish Priest permission to change churches. I would have to say that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has very few “liberal” churches at least in our experience.


we moved to a small town at the border of 2 dioceses and equidistant from at least 5 parishes. we attended mass at all these parishes for over a year, attending all the offered Masses, which often differ in music and style even in the same parish. got to know the CCD director of parishes and talked to parents in the CCD program. we made our choice of where to register and participate when a neighbor came over and invited us to her parish, and a couple of weeks later, pushed me to become a CCD teacher. the rest is history. both DH and I became involved, DD started a youth group (which is still going strong 16 years later), DH started and Appalachian ministry project (which is still going strong, 16 years later), and we had found our home. I had the pleasure of gently converting the mind of the pastor and DRE on a couple of topics, and when I left, National Catholic Reporter and America were no longer displayed on the pamphlet rack.

We also were instrumental, with many others, in preventing Call to Action from getting a foothold, so I think we were in the right place at the right time, even if my first impression was that the parish was “too liberal”. Since we were both on parish council we also took part in hiring a new DRE and new Youth Minister, who are both still serving, and have brought the parish education evangelization aspects from left back to center, and have even taken groups to Steubenville Youth Conferences, which would have been unthinkable when we started there.

we were also part of a study group that started a regional Catholic elementary school (which my grandchildren now attend).

sometimes you are placed in a parish which at first seems uncongenial, but in which you are called to evangelize in your own way, so be open to that possibility.

one thing we were never able to influence was the horrible folk-style music by well-meaning but untalented persons at the 5 oclock Mass, but God took care of it by giving the man a job transfer, now they are actually starting a children’s choir for that Mass, I heard this summer.


Very interesting to me, this topic. Before we joined the Tiber Swim Team we did a lot of parish-shopping. The one we were ‘supposed’ to use was too big, too cold, too impersonal. Another one too far. Before long I felt like Goldilocks sampling beds and porridge.

The church building I liked best, we rejected due to a complete lack of parking.

The one we selected was biggish, but with adequate parking. I loved the priests and the homilies and we actually knew a couple of people who attended.

However, when it came time to inquire about their RCIA program, and I called back a couple of times after not hearing from them, they more or less told me to ‘quit bugging them.’

So I phoned the church I liked best, the one with no parking. I asked at the office about their RCIA program. EVEN AS I HUNG UP THE PHONE their priest called me back. So fast that my head spun, we were enrolled in their program.

That ‘other’ church ended up having only one person in their RCIA program. We had like 7 or 8, and it wasn’t a big parish.

Parking-shmarking! :smiley:


I’m glad you found your Parish. I went through the same thing. When I converted in 1995, after a couple of years I had noticed things that were done that I didn’t really like, so I started searching. That Church was about 10 minutes away. There is avery large one that is virtually 3 minutes away,where on any given Sunday there are 15 Eucharistic ministers, and was much worse in other ways, too, in my opinion. I heard of a Church downtown that is 20-30 minutes away that could be what I was looking for. I went and immediately felt at home. It had everything I was looking for, an historical, traditional, beautiful Church with only Altar boys, no touchy-feely things going on, quiet, reverent, a Priest who is not afraid to talk about sin or how to live a truly Catholic life, a Paten is used during Communion, the choir plays beautiful Catholic hymns, I could go on and on. I don’t see anything wrong with looking for a Church that suits *you. :slight_smile: *


I heard that the priest at St.Joe/Bread of Life Community gave a very indepth talk on Good Friday that was more graphic than “Passion of the Christ”, and that they had a good Charismatic Community. I waffled a bit before checking it out. I went to the Church down the road from where I used to live, where the campus had Newman Society. Not my cup of tea, for various reasons. I walked into St.Joe/BOL and was right at home. When Father started to preach, I though “So THAT’S Father Larry!” And the rest is history :smiley: :thumbsup:


I have “parish hopped”…it is important to find the right place to nurture your faith–don’t give up!

Can your childhood priest travel to marry you? My husband and I are arranging this for our son’s baptism, and would have for our marriage, except we ended up travelling home for that :slight_smile:


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