Switching parishes. Should we do it? Or wait?

I am a new Catholic who was just received into the Church at Easter. We (my non-Catholicbut supportive husband and I) joined the parish where I went through RCIA. I like the priests and deacons there, but it is extremely large, and I am quickly seeing that it is easy to get lost in the shuffle.

I am getting frustrated because I want to have our 2-year-old son baptized, and we can’t get anyone in the parish to work with us. They have one baptism prep class per month, and due to our schedules we have not been able to attend and will not be able to attend until September. No one in the parish office will even return my calls to simply answer a few questions. I am getting really agitated about this, as we haven’t made any real connections at the parish and aside from my husband’s family in a faraway state, who are dragging their feet and acting ambivalent about the whole thing, we don’t have anyone to act as a godparent. I fully intend to raise my boy Catholic and I don’t understand why this has to be such an ordeal. If someone at the parish would tell me exactly what I need to do, I would be on it immediately.

We have also been going to the FSSP parish, which is 30 minutes away in the south of the county where I live. This community takes the sacraments a lot more seriously. The sacraments are one of the big reasons I wanted to become Catholic. Plus, their mass is so holy and reverent in comparison to the huge modern parish.

Can someone advise me? The most important thing is to get my boy baptized ASAP, and I am kind of getting desperate about that. I am still learning my way around all the rules and customs of the Catholic Church, so if I am considering something offensive please be kind in pointing it out to me. Would it be very wrong to withdraw from the parish where I did RCIA so soon after joining?

First, welcome home! :smiley: :extrahappy:

I’m sorry you’re having such difficulties getting your son’s Baptism scheduled. I wouldn’t change parishes yet though; it seems as though you have good reason to stay at your parish. I understand your frustration, but I would just keep trying. Perhaps you could go to the parish office and speak with someone in person…sometimes that helps. If you have been in contact with the people who run the Baptism preparation class, ask them if you can schedule something with them for a different day, even if it’s just you and your husband and them (in my parish that’s how it’s done, but we’re not a huge parish, so there aren’t people constantly needing the class). If none of this works, speak with your RCIA sponsor and/or teacher and ask them for help – maybe if they know some of the other people they can introduce you and help things move more smoothly.

On the Godparent issue, perhaps your RCIA sponsor or someone you got to know through RCIA could be a Godparent for your son if you don’t have any Catholic family members who are able.

Again, I’m sorry this has been so frustrating for you, but don’t give up. You are doing the right thing in wanting to baptize your son and raise him Catholic. Don’t get discouraged because of scheduling difficulties – just keep trying (and keep praying!).

May God bless your family! :slight_smile: :hug1:

Will a 30 minute drive (and the associated gas prices) keep you from involvement in Parish life?

As for getting your son baptized, remember, this is a time of year when many people take vacations. That could be the reason. Also, do you "leave a message that Mrs. so and so would like a call back? Those can easily get list, I suggest you call the parish office. Ask who is in charge of baptism prep. Ask to schedule an appointment with them and the Pastor.

If they will not schedule an appointment, ask to speak to the DRE and schedule an appointment with him/her.

Who was in charge of your RCIA? Make an appointment with them.

Remember, if the Parish you are in did not take the Sacraments seriously, they would not bother with Baptism prep.

I’m sorry to hear of all the frustrations with trying to get answers from your parish. I agree with the previous poster that stopping by may be a better way to get some answers. They can’t ignore you when you’re standing right in front of them. (Not that they should ignore you in any case.)

You may also find it easier to get your RCIA director to help you. That won’t be the person to actually do the preparation for baptism, but he or she will know who to talk to and can do some work on your behalf.

As far as a godparent, was there anyone in RCIA that you would consider? Either one of the catechists or perhaps someone who was received into the church with you? What about your own sponsor? I think it would be kind of cool to have the parent’s sponsor also be the child’s sponsor.

Changing parishes is a major decision to make. Several years ago I found myself in the position of having to make a change and it took a lot of prayer to come to that point. I don’t think it’s something to rush into because the parish office isn’t well run.

One thing to consider if you change to the other parish is that it’s a half hour away. That has implications in a lot of ways. It’s hard to be part of a community when you’re far away from it. If there’s a group you’d like to join, are you going to want to drive there and back during the week as well as on Sunday? How likely are you to make friends in the parish and want to get together with them if they’re so far away? And considering the way gas prices are going, is that going to be an issue? All of these things would discourage me from joining a far-away parish, though I might choose to go to Mass there occasionally.

Welcome to the faith!!

While it is well and good to have your son baptized at your parish, I know of no requirement that it has to be done there. We had our son baptized at a different, smaller parish, and I’ll never forget the beauty of that day. Such a contrast to the zoo that was our daughter’s baptism at the other parish!

I agree that it’s best to try to schedule an appointment with whomever is in charge, or the priest if necessary. The most important thing is to get that little guy baptized!

So, it wouldn’t be a gigantic breach of etiquette (or just flat-out not allowed) to contact the other parish about baptism there?

My frustration with my ‘home’ parish is in the fact that NO ONE will talk to me or call me back. I’ve emailed and left phone messages. I break out in a cold sweat at the thought of having to go into the parish office and demand to see someone and it also bugs me that I even have to think about doing such a thing. I will do it if I must, though. However, if it is fine to go elsewhere to seek baptism and I can find a church which will be responsive and helpful I would do that in a second, too.

The other points raised are good ones. It would indeed be more difficult to take part in parish activities at the FSSP parish, since it is farther away. Allowing for an hour of round-trip driving time, not to mention the cost, could get to be hard on us.

Aside from the baptism issue which is stressing me out so much, I do like the home parish, generally.

Friend - no one suggested you march in and demand anything.

Call the Parish office, during business hours, when the Parish Secretary answers, simply say “This is Mrs. so and so, I need to schedule an appointment with Father. What does his schedule look like for next Thursday?” and work out a date/time from there.

Hmm, I thought I was pretty clear that I have been calling?

Calls to the parish office, even during business hours, are answered by an automated system. There is an option to press ‘0’ for an operator, but to this point I have never actually been connected with a live person, only to a voice mailbox. Emails similarly go unanswered.

That sounds as if maybe the Secretary is on vacation? I’ve never heard of a Parish where you cannot talk to a live person during business hours. Even teeny parishes have someone in the office. That is just odd.

They have an office and an office administrator. Maybe I’ve just called when people have stepped out. :shrug: I have a pretty bad problem with social anxiety and if a call goes unanswered it makes it more difficult for me to get up the courage to try again.

I think I will contact the other parish.

Just visit the office during business hours. You’ll be sure to get someone that way.

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