[quote="lllj, post:3, topic:321037"]
Hmm. The thing I find odd is that if I go on my Archdiocese website, there's absolutely no reference to "boundaries." It just says "find a parish," gives me a map, and when I click on my location in the Archdiocese (which is an urban area), it gives me a list of 53 results. Alternatively, I can enter my zip code, which gives me 62 results (not all within my zip code, but probably within a very short distance). There's no mention of going to the one closest to me, or even helping me find that. And I guess this just doesn't really seem to be the norm here - I know most of the parishioners are from all over the city.
Our area is quite similar to yours. We have people living within the boundaries of the local parish but who are members of the parish to the south. And some Catholics south of us attend the parish to the north. There are three or four Catholic couples or families in my immediate neighborhood who belong to other parishes outside the two mentioned. In an urban area like ours, this seems to be the norm.
Some of that is caused when people move but retain membership in their former parish (I have done that) or when parishes close or merge and people seek out and join a different parish than the one that remains (done that, too). For some, it may be the type of parish, programs and ministries that exist. For example, a family with children may join a particular parish because it has a very good Religious Formation program or school (sure enough, been there as well). It could also come down to the atmosphere within the church, the quality of their liturgies, parishioner involvement, all kinds of things; finding a parish where one feels comfortable and a part of the community is important to a lot of people.
The situation we have, and that you are seeing in your new area, may not be the norm everywhere. We happen to live in an area that has a high percentage of Catholics, where there were once a lot of parishes, some within a few blocks of each other (that has drastically changed in the past decade or two). I have family that live in another state with fewer Catholics and where the parishes are many miles apart. In that case, people have few convenient choices.
I know that in our diocese, although each parish has a geographical boundary (as mentioned by others), in reality those boundaries overlap and are not enforced. They use a cluster or grouping of parishes that together serve specific areas, and there is no requirement or expectation that a Catholic will join the parish closest to them, or even a church within that group. Those areas defined by the diocese are the communities the grouped parishes are expected to serve and draw from, but they place no restrictions on the people and their choice of parish.
My recommendation is that you check out and choose a parish that fits you the best. Talk to people, attend their liturgies, check out their bulletins. Most parishes have a website and often post their bulletins there; so you can use the internet to do some of your research. Don't be as concerned about where it is located geographically but rather where it is located spiritually.