Would it be right to try and switch parishes?

The small town in which my fiance and I live currently has three parishes which are all very close. I’ve attended the same parish in town since elementary school, and my fiance converted into the church and my parish when he was in high school. The past five or six years we’ve both been living out of town, at college or studying abroad, and upon returning have found that we’ve really lost a sense of community with our original parish. In the time we’ve been gone a lot has changed. For one there’s a new priest who I’ve tried to reach out to, but who seems very anti-social. I try not to be biased against him, since I- and my fiance especially- were very close with the previous priest; but it’s become an issue amoungst the other parishioners as well. Many have stopped attending all together, and there are very few members left that either my fiance or I know personally, mostly the elderly. On top of that, while my fiance was the only member of his family to convert, my own family is no longer attending mass regularly, if at all- to my own disappointment.

The isolation we feel at our own parish led us to go to Easter mass and the parish across the street, where I attended CCD as a child and where it is still held for children across parishes in the area. We both found the atmosphere and the people there much more inviting and familiar. Some members from my parish seem to have also started attending there regularly and personally, it moved me to tears to feel so connected to the mass again.

My fiance and I have just recently become engaged, we have yet to inform others or our priest or parish because of this issue, and we’re both torn. We don’t want to see our current parish fall apart, and it really goes against my nature to abandon anything. At the same time, my fiance and I want to raise our future children in a strong community of faith, one I’m afraid they’ll be missing out on at our current parish. Though it’s common for the parishioners in my area to attend the masses at any of the parishes in town, I don’t feel it would be right to consecutively go to a mass at a parish that I don’t belong to. On top of this, with a wedding on the horizon and all the necessary involvement with the church, I find myself frightened to go through the experience in my current parish.

Would it be wrong for us to try and switch? If this is becoming such an issue in our parish would it be stirring up to much trouble to even attempt it? Any advice would be extremely welcome.


The current code of canon law does not require that one register in the nearest parish. I encourage you to go where you want to rear your children. If your old parish falls apart, maybe the diocese will finally do something about it.

You are in our prayers.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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