Parish Interviews?


Hi all :slight_smile: There’s something that I’ve been wondering about lately, and I would like some input from you all.

I have been exploring Catholicism for roughly a year on my own (Sadly, due to an overwhelmingly busy final college year, my RCIA aspirations never got to happen…)and I’m finally feeling ready and comfortable enough to start attending Mass (on my own, as Hubby is not Christian)

That said, there are at least 6 RC parishes (plus a couple of Eastern Orthodox) within 20 minutes from my house, and I’m really not sure how to go about things. Currently, I have no contact with anyone Catholic, so I can’t go with a friend or anything.

Would it be out of line for me to request a “meet and greet” with the priest in order to introduce myself, learn about the parish and all that jazz, or should I just jump in? LoL

I feel like such a goober asking this. :smiley:



Go ahead and talk to the priest, that’s why he’s there. The support and ecouragement will be a help. If you’re comfortable flying solo, I don’t see why that would be wrong, either. Pretty much, you could do either one. It’s up to you.


Having pretty much zero familiarity with Parish life, what sorts of questions should I be thinking of/asking? What’s important to know about a potential parish?


[quote=JessicaCeleste]Having pretty much zero familiarity with Parish life, what sorts of questions should I be thinking of/asking? What’s important to know about a potential parish?

Here are a few things you can do that don’t involve talking to the priest:

Start with the architecture. Where is the tabernacle – on the altar, or off in a chapel? Is there a crucifix, or just a cross? (This past Sunday I attended a baptism service in a Catholic church that had, instead of a crucifix, a cross with a Pieta next to it – sort of a “post-crucifixion/pre-resurrection” theme.) Are there Mary and Joseph shrines? A shrine to the Sacred Heart?

Do you prefer a more modern look, or a more traditional look? (Not the most important consideration, but something to think about.)

Does the parish have a website? If so, see if any of the priests publish their homilies, meditations, or articles.

Do they have Eucharistic adoration? If they do, is it perpetual, weekly, or what? (At my parish, the tabernacle is in a side chapel, but if the church is open, the chapel is available.)


Go to Mass at the various Catholic Churches that are near you, and pray that God guide you in finding an orthodox parish with a good RCIA program. Listen to the Spirit, and try and discern where God is leading you.

After you have sampled the different parishes, talk to a priest after Mass and tell him that you have been studying on you own, and that you would like to join RCIA as an “inquirer”. The RCIA program exists to answer whatever questions you might have about the Catholic Church.

May God bless you on your journey! :angel1:


I don’t think you necessarily need to talk to the priest, but a call ahead to the parish you are thinking about would be good to find out what times and what kinds of mass are offered. For example, at 8:30 it is always a mass with a choir, 11:00 no choir, a teen mass etc.

And do not assume that you “know” which kind of mass you will prefer. I prefer upbeat rock and roll music or country, but can’t stand the more modern music in a Mass. Just seems wrong to me. In fact, I love the Gregorian Chant! If possible, go to different times at the same church before going to a new one. Sometimes, each Mass time really “feels” like a whole different church within the same church.

God Bless you on your journey,



I don’t know how much you’ve learned about the Catholic faith in your self study… so I’ll give you the advise that I was given:

Read the Catechism… study, study, study.

The Mass was a jumble to me… I felt lost, and it was an obstacle towards my conversion… BUT… once I read and UNDERSTOOD what real presence was, and what was actually happening at the Mass, I was in physical pain I wanted to take communion so badly!

Talking to a priest is great, but I would buy the Catechism or better yet a book like Catholic Christianity by Peter Kreeft and learn more about the faith.

… then, when you talk to the priest or go to a mass, you’ll understand more about what is going on… and when you talk to the priest, you’ll have some questions for him.

Father Peyton, pray for Jessica!


I would try to attend a mass at each church, went he pastor presides. See what kind of homilies he gives. Is you feel they instruct and/ or inspire you. What you think of the congregation, in terms of the attitude you feel being there. Then based on that experience, possibly schedule a meeting with the priest to disucss RCIA. Chances are that all of them will not fulifill your spiritual needs in the same way. Some may make you feel spiritually bankrupt.

Also, try to see if they have a werb site, as most parishes do, and see what types of acitivities the church sponsors; how much it actively teaches the gospel by helping people in need, and if there are areas in which you would like to participate at some time, missions that you might feel that you have a vocation to promote. You are so lucky that you have such a variety to choose form.



I have been exploring Catholicism for roughly a year on my own (Sadly, due to an overwhelmingly busy final college year, my RCIA aspirations never got to happen…)and I’m finally feeling ready and comfortable enough to start attending Mass (on my own, as Hubby is not Christian)


In no way do I want to discourage your exploration but I am curious about one thing, If you are not Catholic, and your husband is not Christian, and you don’t know anyone who is Catholic, can you identify the source of your inspiration/motivation to explore the Church. Clearly identifying that may help you decide which parish to approach.

Good luck



Great input, all. Thanks for taking the time and dialoguing with me.

Religion, God and spirituality are important to me. I grew up with 2 ex Catholic parents (agnostic father/Wiccan mother) who, though they did not rear me in any one faith, baptised me Catholic as an infant and encouraged me to find my own truth by exploring other faiths. As a result, I’ve got through about a dozen religions, but have never found a faith that really moves me, that has the historical credence of the Catholic church.

I’ve got all the books (Okay, well maybe not all LoL), read the Bible (I’m almost done with the NT - my first time through! Yay!) and the Catechism. I pray for guidence, to be kept open to the Spirit and this is where I feel called.




Are some churches more friendly to converts? I have tried and tried to contact one church with very little results. I recieved the church number from a parishoner there and double checked it on the web. A woman with a very strong spanish accent answered. Because she didn’t announce the name of the church but answered as though it were a private resident. So I, very confused, asked if I had reached the church. She didn’t seem to understand me. SO I repeated my question. Again she seemed highly confused. I apologized for calling the wrong number, hung up and rechecked my number. Then I called and got the same woman and went through the process all over again. An hour later I called and a man answered and AGAIN I went through the above conversation. Aaa…aah!:banghead: Because the priest’s e-mail is on the web site, I wrote him directly. I thought, well, maybe he can at least direct me to the correct person. No answer. I realize that he is busy, but at least pass the message on. My husband called the number and reached an answering machine that did announce that we had reached the church. Whew! Finally some one will talk with me. So we left our number. That was Monday. No one has called back and I am too embarrased to continue trying.:frowning:

Luckily, there are many Catholic churches in our area. In fact a search on Map Quest shows that one is ten minutes closer to our House! :thumbsup: And it is the same church that I attended back when I was sixteen and first became interested in the Catholic church.(Over twenty years ago) Maybe God wants me to attend this church instead. Infact, here is a huge irony. Back when I was sixteen, a priest from this church, who had a long unproncocable polish name, kindly told me to wait until I was eighteen to start RCIA classes.Although this church-St Elizabeth Ann Seton- does not have a web site, I did read, somewhere on the web, its priest name. It was very long and I couldn’t begin to pronouce it. WOuldn’t it be ironic if it is the same priest? Of course, he would be close to eighty now, but still…


If you are looking for a parish, a good idea would be to check the homepage for your local diocese. They would have a link to all of the parishes in the diocese as well as links to the parish homepages. If you click on the homepages for each parish, they will usually tell you who to contact to get involved in RCIA, the times for each class, etc. Hope that helps!

Pax Vobiscum


I forgot to mention another good website that helps in locating a Church:

You can look up Catholic Churches and Mass times by zip code, city, etc. It is great for Catholics who are out of town and can’t get to their own Parish for Mass. If I was you, I would first try to find somebody that runs the RCIA program at the Parish you are thinking of attending (priest/RCIA director). Masses are pretty much the same (or at least they should be) anywhere you go, but I would go to a few of the Masses at your local Parish to get a feel for what is going on. If you need help with what you should do at Mass (like when to kneel, stand, genuflect, etc.) let us know and we will try to help you out. Again, hope this helps!

Pax Vobiscum



You guys are fantastic :slight_smile: Thanks for all the tips. There’s a 6 pm mass at St. Martin’s Parish ( that I’m going to try to go to. I figure I’ll hang back and just observer this time around. LoL



Good idea.

Another good idea is to check the bulletin in the church and find out when the church offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). Go to the church as an observer when the Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered. If there are many people desiring to avail themselves of this sacrament, then that is a very good sign that this parish is worth examining further. (Do this a few weeks after Easter. You want to find out how well attended the Sacrament of Reconcilliation is during ordinary time, and not during the Easter season).


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