Sunday, January 29, 2012

Choosing a parish...almost for the first time.

My husband and I were married at the parish we had always attended (he since birth, me since converting at age 18).  We were members there for awhile and then switched to St. Raphael.  I don't recall feeling very torn.  Maybe it just felt like the right fit to us, maybe it's because we hadn't had kids yet, maybe it's because we really didn't feel like we had friends there yet (I don't mean this in a negative way - it's just that we went to Mass and then left, we weren't really involved in anything there).

We've been at St. Raphael for about 19 years now.  We've had 8 kids baptized there, 5 have received their first confession, 4 (almost 5) their first communion, 1 confirmation.  2 of our sons are altar servers along with my husband, my oldest daughter is one of the church librarians.   The 2 boys also serve one morning a week.  We have some really good friends at that parish.  But here's the funny part.  We don't see most of them at Mass anyway.  We go to a very early Mass.  We mostly see elderly people there.  There is one elderly couple in particular that attend with their disabled son.  Every single Sunday we are there we go out of our way to walk past them.  The woman loves to hold out her hands and hug the kids.  While she is loving up the kids, I see the smile on her husbands face.  I presume he's happy she's happy.  The kids enjoy it too - they head right to her.  If we do switch we will miss them.

We moved 6 months ago.  On a good weather Sunday it takes 20-30 minutes minimum to get there.  During rush hour for daily Mass...40+.  Guess what.  We didn't frequent morning Mass.  With 2 parishes each less than 10 minutes from here,  we are working on changing that. 

One parish has the Sunday early morning Mass time that we prefer.  This parish has some really good priests.  One in particular is fabulous.  The parishioners are very friendly.  Early Mass isn't very crowded; we stand out.  One couple approached us this morning to introduce themselves and tell us it was nice to see a family fill the entire pew (actually, we take 1 1/2 pews at this church).  It also makes a nice one trip for confession and Mass on Sunday morning.  (sorry but it's true.  Convenience helps to make confession more frequent).  And, the priest this morning was wonderful in the confessional as well.  But, it doesn't really feel like home. 

The other parish has a little later Sunday morning Mass.  It's quite crowded.  The pastor is incredible.  His homilies leave you wanting more.  I'm not sure anyone would notice we are new there and that's O.K; we do know many families that are parishioners there.  Our neighbors are parishioners there and their son attends the school.  They seem to have an active youth program and are very friendly to homeschoolers.   The pastor welcomed us warmly and gave us many reasons to join ;) ).   Our family cannot fit in most of the pews there either.  The pastor smiled and pointed us to a small section of longer ones.  Aha!  This doesn't feel like home yet either, but it does feel like it could easily become home.

Wherever we end up, we will be attending daily Mass more frequently at one or both of these close parishes.   No rush hour to contend with for either of them.  Just nice county roads with a nice short drive. :)


LayCarmeliteInTraining said...

Don't leave! St Raphael needs men (boys) for altar servers!

RealMom4Life said...

thanks.....and they LOVE serving there.

I might add, St. Raphael's program is great!