I am a convert, raised with very little religion, but the experiences I did have growing up were Protestant. My Grandma always took us to Methodist Church when we stayed with her, I went to Bible School and retreats with my friends, attended FCA meetings in high school and went to some Bible Studies at kids’ houses. I understand what you are saying–I actually felt a little wistful today, remembering that feeling. I am forever grateful that I am now Catholic and have access to the body and blood of Christ and to Confession, the rosary, etc. But you go to Mass, you worship, and you go home for the most part. However, I’ve found that becoming more involved in church activities helps you to get to know others better (usually the same people go to everything at my church!) My advice would be to join a committee, attend Bible studies, go to Stations of the Cross, Rosary Circle, chili suppers, or whatever you are interested in, and get to know a few people. People will start to recognize you and be more friendly. Remember, people stay in the Catholic Church to be with JESUS, but if people become dissatisfied with a Protestant Church, they just look for another one; thus, members of Protestant churches must be friendly to keep people coming! I would be interested to know what others think, though, of how the Catholic Church could be more welcoming to others.
I am a convert as well.
I have only been in the Church since Easter Vigil of last year but I can tell you that in this year I have NOT made very many friends in my new church.
I joined a Bible study.
I assist with RCIA class.
I am part of a prayer group that meets once a week.
I lead the parish in the Holy Rosary every other Sunday, and I am sponsoring a young woman who is coming into the Church this year.
With ALL that, I STILL don’t have any close friends within the church.
During the Mass, when the priest says “Let us offer to each other a sign of peace”, I have MORE THAN ONCE, literally stood there in the MIDDLE of the church with a dumb smile on my face, with people ALL AROUND ME, and NO ONE greets me or even acknowledges my presence.
The first time it happened, I cried all the way home!
Coming from a Baptist upbringing, where the people are so “in your face” the Catholic culture has been a bit of a shock!
However, the way I see it, the reward of receiving Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is WELL worth the loss of camaraderie from fellow parishioners.
I am SO in LOVE with the Catholic Faith and I have met some warm, friendly people within the Church Body.
We just celebrated the Rite of Election in our Diocese and the woman that rode with me is in the RCIA class that I assist with.
She actually told me that HER SPONSOR told her that CRADLE CATHOLICS are prejudiced against CONVERTS and that they will ALWAYS treat them differently.
She was crushed by this of course, but her love for Our Lord allows her to persevere.
It’s a shame, if what she was told is true!
To have this WONDERFUL gift, to have had it their ENTIRE lives, and then to resent someone who has been given this gift through GOD"s GRACE…I just can’t understand it!:bighanky:
Awww, AngieRabbit, wish you were in my Parish–I’d be your friend!
I’m shy and it doesn’t help matters either! I wonder if maybe sometimes Cradle Catholics are threatened by converts? I know of several Cradle Catholics who have never read the Bible and don’t really know the teachings of the Church that well (beyond the basics). I think it’s precisely b/c we know what we DIDN’T have and what we DO have now, we are so grateful and want to share it zealously with others. Jesus comes first of course, but we still long for Christian friendship so that we may bear each others’ burdens.
Me too! It has happened to me as well. I also used to be Protestant. I have been frequently mistaken for a cradle Catholic…I just smile and say thank you, but no.
Anyway, we are trying to get our parish to be more friendly, and I have a very firm, absolute traditional K-college Catholic educated cradle Catholic on my side. In his words, this is God’s house, how do you welcome people when they come to your house??? Well, don’t you think you should do the same when people come into God’s house, after all, we’re the ones here to open the door.
Objections we hear are mainly to the effect that we’re here to worship and not socialise. True. However, is it going to kill you to be friendly before you enter the nave of the church and as you are leaving? Probably not. It is true we are coming to church to worship God, but we are supposed to be a parish community, a family (brothers and sisters in Christ), a smile can make someone’s day or turn them away forever.
I do not particularly care for the during Mass handshake/peace/greeting, but that is me, I did not like it as a Protestant and do not like it as a Catholic. However, before and after Mass I try hard to greet people and be friendly, and I’m shy so it’s a battle for me sometimes!
It helps to be active in things, I have found that even shy sometimes I have to be the initator. I have become close with a couple that the wife is in choir with me. We sat next to eachother for a year in practice and at Mass—it wasn’t until my washing machine broke and I desparately needed to do laundry that we started talking at her house when she graciously let me use her laundry machine. Those weeks of chats over tea and laundry opened a great friendship. I try to invite people for dinner like I did as a Protestant, I think it’s sometimes easier to get to know people a little at a time.
I am involved in the Choir, teach CCD, I’m the parish bookkeeper…close friends in the parish, probably only about six. But I still smile and chat with many others, know their names and ask how they are. It really helps to have small group activities, things like the choir or Bible studies are good, still, sometimes it’s hard to get people out of their comfort zone. In our parish we are going to be having a church history class this summer, maybe some other things, we’re trying to get people to get together and get to know each other, and it is hard. Are they going to put the parish activities ahead of other social activity xyz?
I think people misunderstand when you want them to be friendly. They think that means we want to start having a chat session through Mass. No, just be more welcoming and I think my friend put it well.
As a cradle Catholic, and as a person who has changed parishes several times, your not alone in feeling as though its hard to form friendships. But I think some of it is because our churches are so large and open to anyone, its hard to be a small and intimate group. Some churches have lots of social activities. As Catholics we have Mass, Stations of the Cross, Rosary, etc.
Joining a group like, Pro-life, Legion of Mary, Knights of Columbus, etc will help.
And families are very busy, so it does take more time to make friends. Most parishes bulletins are full of activities. As your waiting to form friendships, join the prayer chain. By offering yourself in a quiet way, you’ll learn more about the special needs of your parish.
**I’m not a very outgoing person either!
It’s hard for me to reach out to people.
The comment that you made about converts knowing what we DIDN’T have and knowing what we DO have NOW…that is SO TRUE!
I always felt that there was MUCH more to HOLY COMMUNION than I had EVER been taught in my Protestant church.
When I attended my first Mass and realized that the Catholic Church believed that what they were receiving in HOLY COMMUNION is in fact the Lord’s Body, I was SO happy!!
Becoming Catholic has been the GREATEST GIFT and I feel SO blessed to have received it.
It’s just a shame that the Church Family isn’t more open and receptive to “NEWBIES!”:(**
Hi angierabbit, I am a Cradle Catholic who used to live and think like the Devil and who is hopefully slowly but surely finding his way to God and personally I find people who convert from other Christian branches to Catholicism inspiring and worthy of my admiration. They see what I was blind to for years and are willing to sacrifice at different degrees for it.
I’m sorry Elisabeth 51, that this has happened to you as well!
I could understand the “cold shoulder” if I was trying to “chit chat” during the Mass, but I just want them to acknowledge my presence during THE SIGN OF PEACE.
It’s embarrassing when you’re standing there ALL ALONE in a sea of people that are supposed to be your brothers and sisters in Christ, but they act like you’re a 5th cousin twice removed on your dad’s side!! :eek:
I pray for my fellow parishioners!
I pray for Catholics EVERYWHERE,
(I have had similar experiences in parishes that I’ve visited while on vacation as well)
that they/WE will be more open and receptive to others.
Because of the way that I’ve been treated, I try to always offer a warm smile to new faces.:rolleyes:
Hello I have not posted in a long time and felt very compelled to write now. It saddens me that all the converts here have felt the un- friendly/ lack of closeness you deisre at your parish. My heart aches for you and wish you were at my parish and I would be your friend.
I have found, even being a cradle Catholic, the same thing have every now and then. Our churches are huge and not small so it does make it hard to connect. But also I also feel it is filled with some people who just go to mass as their “Sunday obligation”. They just do not “get it”. So they are in and out and no connections made.
What I did when my family moved to a new area ,about 13 years ago, was try to attend the same mass every week and sit in the same spot. As time went on I saw the same people every week. I would then shake their handswith a smile big. After mass I ended up talking to those around me and saying how happy it is to have church family around me. The small area where we sit seems to be more “our family”. We do not really recognize the people all the way on the other side of the church. I also got invoved in the parish and started to realize that those who are involved end up being the ones who are more “into their faith” and whom I wanted to hang with.
I want to say that converts make the best catholics. You get it, you understand it and you put us to shame… (thats is ok ) I think you are great! The cradle Catholics just need to be re-evangilized. We were taught things and just did things, because… well… we grew up this way.
I will pray for you all, for connections to be made in your home parish. I also pray for others to be awakended and be on fire for the faith. Again I am sorry you have had this experience.
**Thank you Robertanthony!
You mentioned sacrifice…
My Dad was raised VERY anti-catholic and he raised me the SAME way!:eek:
When I found myself being drawn to the Catholic Church, I was scared to death!
NO ONE in my WHOLE family is Catholic!
I came into the Church alone.
I was afraid that my Dad would disown me.
I have been blessed with gift of acceptance from my family…EVEN my Dad!
GOD can take prejudices away and fill the most closed of minds, with NEW LIGHT!
He certainly did for my family!!
I waited until 2 weeks before Easter Vigil before I told my family that I was converting.
I cried and I prayed that GOD would help them to see past their misunderstandings and see how happy I was…and that’s EXACTLY what He did.
I gave my parents my RCIA book and they BOTH read it!
NOW, they buy me Rosaries and books about the Saints!
It’s been an AMAZING journey and I feel SO blessed to be Catholic and I plan to ALWAYS remember that I have been given the GREATEST GIFT in the world!:love:**
Thank you! I agree with the need to be awakened–to borrow from a good, old Protestant song: “Revive us O Lord!”
I’ve lived in different parts of the country and honestly can’t say that I can figure out a pattern of geography or anything else. In Memphis, TN–the South, known for warmth of people, I had the same cold experience, except for when I first joined the church, my RCIA was through my university’s Catholic Student Union. I LOVED that priest, my sister’s had already become Catholic, I called one of them in tears one day over I don’t remember what, she told me to find a priest, I was on campus so the closest was the Catholic Union, I walked there and Fr. Darin was there and helped me and the rest is history
I agree that the Sunday Obligation in-and-out is a problem, also (and this should not be a problem, but I think it is) if the parish is in a large city where there might be lots of tourists, you could have bunch of people who don’t know eachother and are all standing there thinking people are unfriendly (my experience going to daily Mass in such an area) so as hard as it is, I try extra hard to smile and be friendly, and have seen people smile back.
I am a convert from a Protestant group and I do miss the camaraderie I use to get there. I have always been very active in Church and activities. A good majority of my friends growing up protestant and as a young adult, were from Church. Now that I am Catholic and still very active in things, I have 1 friend from church, but that is because I met her at work and she referred me to that church.
I think a big part of it is we were much more social before and after church. Before church every one would talk and socialize and the same after Church with coffee and doughnuts. Now as a Catholic, if you show up early, you either prayer quietly or sit quietly waiting for Mass to begin. After Mass most people just run out of there pretty much, some even leave right after the Eucharist is passed out. In my Protestant Church, no one would ever leave until everything was over. A majority of people would stay for coffee and doughnuts and socialize.
It is hard for me being in a new area and having a hard time making friends at Church. I have made one good one at a job and another that is one of my husband’s coworker’s wives. That is it. It is terribly lonely out in the new environment and it would be much easier if there was more camaraderie.
Yes, I bet you were a member before that. These days Mormons go to church for 3 hours in a row: sacrament meeting, Sunday School and then Priesthood/Relief Society. Quite boring to have to attend ALL three hours EVERY week