Should a husband and wife belong to the same parish?

How important is it considered to belong to the parish in which you live? My husband has been a member of his parish nearly his whole life. It is a few towns over from our home. I recently became Catholic, completing RCIA at the parish in which we live. I like this parish’s life; I did not have a sense of much “life” at his parish. So, although we are now both Catholic, we do not have a common church. When I point out to my husband that we live in this parish, he simply points out he got permission to continue at his parish. Help!

The question is not so much whether you should belong to your local parish, but whether a husband and wife should attend the same parish. However, in answer to the question you asked, canon law no longer requires a Catholic to belong to the parish church in which he lives. He can register at any Catholic church that is recognized as a Catholic church by the diocese in which it is located. So, yes, your husband can still be a member of his childhood parish.

The deeper question is whether a husband and wife should belong to the same parish. The Church doesn’t legislate on this, so far as I know, so it falls under prudential judgment. Going to church together at the same parish promotes family unity. This doesn’t mean that both husband and wife must be registered at the same parish, only that it seems wise to attend Mass together whenever possible.

How do you decide which parish to attend? I can’t answer that, but I can give you some considerations to keep in mind:

[list]One can participate in the “life” of a parish and/or be a registered member without necessarily going to that church for Sunday Mass. You could attend daily Mass at the parish you prefer and participate in parish programs and projects while attending Sunday Mass at your husband’s parish.[/list]

[list]One can also belong to one’s childhood parish and go there on a regular basis (say, once a month) and for special occasions (e.g., Christmas, Easter) while attending Mass most of the time at one’s local parish.[/list]

[list]While personal preferences and sentiment are helpful in determining a parish when there is no danger of family disunity due to disagreement, family unity should be a more pressing concern over personal preferences and sentiment when there is disagreement. Sacrificing lesser goods for the greater good of the family is part of the marital vocation.[/list]

This sounds like a situation where a compromise on both sides needs to be worked out. If you need help from a Catholic-friendly marriage counselor in the marital communication skills necessary to successful compromise, I recommend obtaining a referral from the Pastoral Solutions Institute or from

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