I have invited smiled tried and tried to find a niche in my local parish to no avail. Can I switch parishes? I went to a seventh day adventist meeting and was overwhelmed by the feeling of welcome. I need to find something similar in my new catholic home or I will eventually get lost in the shuffle. Any sugestions?
Yes, definitely look at a different parish. Some are rather snooty, unfortunately. We looked at several parishes before we found ours. Try getting involved with the youth group or ini the hospitality ministry. I’ve met a lot of people through being involved with activities. Whatever you do, don’t get sucked in by the SDA…the welcome may be warm but the theology is false.
My friend was telling us after Mass today how when his married son moved to a new parish no one stopped to speak after Mass. So Jimmy took his BBQ along one day and started selling sausages as a fund raiser for the Youth Group. Now everyone stays and chats.
Sometimes the person to start the ball rolling is going to have to be you. If they are set in their ways they probably don’t notice the lack. When I first started going to the parish I now attend I joined the St Vincent de Paul Society as a way of getting to know people.
I feel very uncomfortable with the OP mentioning going to a SDA meeting. Why would any Catholic do that ?
If you are not comfortable in your parish, why not? What exactly is uncomfortable about it? Is it something you can fix? How long have you been attending?
Sometimes it helps to join groups if you feel you need to be involved. Ask to join in at the RCIA classes. You can assist others with their learning.
Don’t be discouraged one bit. I have been a Paramedic for years and years, and because most Medics hate to work Sunday mornings, I pick up shifts then because our county gives 110% pay for Sunday 2am-10am, and Sunday 9am-6pm.
So either way, I was about to start a shift, or just got off a shift at mass. I just dressed in my BDU pants, and polo shirt, or sometimes when I was with the SWAT team as a tactical medic, full street dress.
My old parish seemed to be very unwelcome of me sitting in the back, not “dressed up” the way they saw fit. They kind of just looked at me funny because I was working on Sunday too.
When I switched to a new one, my Priest let me use one of the reserved parking spots to park my Marked vehicle if I had one!! He always invited the whole crew, even the firefighters. The people there adored us, and would always come up and say hi, and hint at the fact that their kids wanted to look at our rescue interceptor or ambulance, ect. You just need to find your fit, and don’t give up!!!
I know what you mean. When I returned to my hometown as a convert, I knew no one and nobody seemed too interested in getting to know me. After awhile I got involved with the music ministry and Perpetual Adoration, and that is how I met people and made new friends. But it took me making the first move to get involved before I started to feel “at home.” Hang in there, and feel free to visit other parishes in your area to see if you can’t find one which might be a better fit.
Originally I went to a seventh day adventist meeting for a paper I had to write for a college class. But it was so nice to not be ignored I went back today. I actually serve on the local catholic community services board. I don’t know what else I have time to volunteer with but I will try some other times maybe this parish is just not for me.
Go to the library. Check out
confusion, controversy, and the Spendor of Truth
By Richard John Neuhaus
Let me know what you think.
the best suggestion is the one which always works: service. stewardship. get involved in parish ministries, particularly the helping ministries. when you are serving you will have not time to dwell on your own feelings, and you will be fitting in where Jesus felt most comfortable, with the poor, the hurting, the mourning, the needy.
Hello, I am impressed by all of the beautiful answers provided. I remember as I joined new parishes (Yes I moved a few times) I would meet with the pastor, discuss spiritual and volunteer opportunities, it certainly didn’t take long to fit in. This is an excellent sign of good solid Catholics knowing how to discern their service & committment to our Lord Jesus Christ. Gob bless.
I second this. I’ve met some amazing people through the SVDP conference at my parish. They don’t care what your background is, only that you’re willing to jump in and help them help the poor.
I’ve also had really good luck with the choir at my parish. I’ve been out for nearly two years due to school conflicts, and after Mass today had several choir members come up to me and tell me that they were glad to see me, and missed me in the group. Thankfully I’ve been assured by the director that I’m welcome back whenever my schedule permits.
Finally, parishes do have their own distinct personalities. I grew up in one that seemed to discourage outsiders, especially those not belonging to a certain socio-economic level. The parish I chose to join is in the same city as my childhood parish, but comparing the two is like night and day. People are very friendly here, there’s a big emphasis on Christian service, and different groups are always looking for more hands to help.
I am not catholic, but I attend Mass every Sunday with my dh and 2 little girls. I had been feeling lost for a long time and that my needs were not being met. I didn’t feel that I could join anything b/c I wasn’t Catholic. I finally decided that I was just going to have to join something and if they didn’t like that I wasn’t Catholic then maybe this wasn’t the place for me. I joined a mothers group at our church. They were so welcoming. At one of our meetings we prayed the rosary. Well, I am far from having the rosary memorized so I felt a little out of place, but I kept going anyway. Sometimes I still feel a little akward b/c a lot of the members have know each other since they went to the church’s grade school together. But I am determined to to find my niche too. I think you have to be proactive and join something. I am an extreme introvert. I do not like going to places where there will be a lot of people that I don’t know, but I also don’t like feeling lost. Hang in there and keep seeking. If all else fails then sure go to another parish. We tried 3 before we decided on the one we go to now.
I listened to a tape this week after first posting, where the speaker mentioned this very subject. He pointed out that Catholics don’t go to Church to make friends, they go as family members to worship God. Then he asked if we felt friendly to all the family members we sit down to dinner with at home - and I got his point.
Twenty years in one parish I had one real friend, an elderly lady I “adopted”. I weeded her garden, mowed her lawns, took her shopping and to Mass during the week. In fact, I put off moving from that town until after she died. In the next town I met someone who was to become my best friend. She died last year.
I don’t really have visiting friends in the parish I attend now but I make a point of greeting anyone new and chatting if they want to. I start by talking regularly to children, then their parents when they turn up. It takes time.
yes my suggestion, and it is a general one for all of us who feel disappointed in our own parishes, with our own fellow parishioners: serve. stop judging the parish by your own emotional response to the liturgy, to the pastor and pastoral staff, and to the parishioners. unless there is real abuse in the liturgy and real unChristian attitudes displayed by most of those in the parish, a climate of dissent etc., stay with your parish and be among those agents of change. Serve. Serve. Serve. do not go to church, any church, looking for gratification, sentiment, affirmation, belonging. Go looking for Christ. We must learn to find Christ in those who are cold, unwelcoming, and empty, not only in those who are warm, welcoming and inviting. Serve. Serve. Serve.
I agree wholeheartedly. Anytime I’ve felt lonely in my parish (and I’ve experienced it too, especially being the new person) I’ve overcome it simply by offering my time there in one way or another. You’ll find that every parish seems to have a sort of “core” that consists of the people who are the most devoted to the faith or to the parish itself. These core people are often the very sort a devout Catholic would seek out as faithful friends.
Also, having gone through the loneliness myself, I can offer the consolation that Jesus, too, felt abandoned in the Garden of Olives. There He was at the most desperate moment of His life, and where were his friends? Asleep! So we can unite ourselves to Christ even in this suffering, knowing that no matter who else fails to keep us company, Jesus and the Blessed Mother are ALWAYS there.
Hugs to you,
We changed parishes recently. Same thing, well besides the fact that the predominant language of the old parish was not ours.
Anyway, we haven’t really melded in with any social sect in our new church – but everyone seems to be friendly and open to it! Dh has joined with the local KofC and has his socialization there. Me, well I am just too pregnant to get involved in much right now. Afterwards though – no problem. Considering my kids just started school at our new parish I am meeting other parents and they all seem to be very close.
The funny thing is the priests. If they are not the most WELCOMING of the whole bunch! The head priest knows me now (I introduced myself on the first day of Mass and promised to bring my whole family – I was the “parish scout” LOL) and has conversation about anything. The associate priest who usually precides over our normal mass is often talkative and sweet. And the fill-in priest just loves hanging out with our family, and talks to our kids.
So in agreeance with PP, you are going to have to reach out too. REMEMBER the difference between our Holy Catholic Church and the P-side: they are always searching for converts, and accept it overnight. That means they will be SUPEr riendly to start – but does that really mean it’ll last? We look to convert, but only if it’s a real desire by the petitioneer. That’s why RCIA takes so long! It has to be a TRUE, RELIGIOUS desire. The whole point is not socializing, it’s just an awesome by-product!
Socializing, is 100% your responsibility. Just some volunteer work or joining with Catholic groups will get you where you need to be. You’ll see with giving your 100% you’ll get it in return.
Good luck – and update us!