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.