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Discussion related to living as a Catholic in the single state of life. As long as a topic is being discussed from the perspective of a single Catholic then it will be on-topic.

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I've moved twice in the past 2.5 years, once from upstate NY to St Louis, MO and then again from STL to western NY. Both times I've found parishes that I liked ( though it took me longer the second move to find one just right for me and even now, it's still not ideal), but each time I haven't felt that connection that I had with my old parish. Granted, my old parish was the one I grew up in so I had friends and connection for over 30 years there, yet with these new parishs, I just have not been able to find my place within the parish community. It seems like the communities have been set in their ways, with each person having their slot within the community and not feeling like there is a place for me. I'm young, single, with no kids and honestly, it's felt like I was not wanted at either parish.

So I guess the question is the one I posed above. How do I fit in, when I don't seem to be wanted in a new parish because I don't fit their mold of having been there forever, having tons of money or having kids?

Apr 7th 2013 new

Welcome to the forums, Megan! wave

Speak up and make yourself known. Get involved. Volunteer to lector, be an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, join a bible study, sign up for Adoration, help with funeral dinners, be a member of the RCIA team, join the choir, volunteer to help count the collection, help with the CCD program, etc. I would be very surprised that if you walked into the church office and announced that you'd like to get involved/volunteer in some way that they would turn you away.

I've known a few other people who have said the same thing. They go to Mass and leave and no one speaks to them. I'm the first to admit that this is an area where the Catholic Church as a whole could improve. But other than a hello, I hate to say, "I haven't seen you here before. Are you new?" only to find out the person has been a member longer than I have, but I haven't noticed or they go to Mass at a different time.

Apr 7th 2013 new

Let me know when you find out. I do have kids, and it's been no help.

Apr 7th 2013 new

Hi Megan,

I understand, I've been there, and I'm sure all that moving doesn't help :-p Lucy had a lot of really good ideas for getting involved. I had trouble finding a group for single people my age in the area, and I looked at other parishes. I talked to the woman who runs small faith communities and she decided to start a new one for young professionals (usually the "young adult" groups tend to be closer to college age, as you may have already seen). The group is small but I invited some girls from RCIA (which I'm also involved in) so that may grow. It may not happen overnight, it's taken me awhile, but as Lucy mentioned, there are lots of things you can do. I'd recommend a small faith group and RCIA (and I'm a little biased, haha) but partly because you get to know people better there. It sounds like you also have the challenge of people being "set in their ways," and that's a bummer. But I think most places seem like that to a newcomer. As Lucy said, see what's out there and give it a shot. And I'll pray God gives you a community (=

Apr 7th 2013 new

PS - It's been two years since I converted and I still feel like I'm trying to find my niche, so it may not happen overnight.

Apr 7th 2013 new

Hello Megan,


I think "fitting in" to a new parish can always be a challenge. When I first enter the front doors of a new parish, I measure them to see if I will "fit in", then I proceed cautiously until I am in! Just kidding, of course.

I have often thought, however, that we are always in search of the proper fit--keep visiting different parishes until you find one with the proper activities, receptiveness, and warmth that you need.

Another approach is to, what I call, "start your own parade" (based on words from Barry Manilow). What I mean is that, if the new parish is lacking in say, a youth group or social group, consider starting one yourself. Plan an agenda of weekend activities incorporating both spiritual and social (outings) events. Try to get the Pastor on board of course. Others will have a chance to get to know you and you will also have further opportunities to connect with others in the parish as well. You may even be perceived as a "God send" who actually invigorated the social life of the church.


Just some other ideas to consider, Megan. I myself always like to visit 2-4 new parishes each year, to see the different offerings, dynamics and environments--even though I have been a parishoner with the same two churches for over 18 years.


Paul

Apr 7th 2013 new

Hello Megan,


I think "fitting in" to a new parish can always be a challenge. When I first enter the front doors of a new parish, I measure them to see if I will "fit in", then I proceed cautiously until I am in! Just kidding, of course.

I have often thought, however, that we are always in search of the proper fit--keep visiting different parishes until you find one with the proper activities, receptiveness, and warmth that you need.

Another approach is to, what I call, "start your own parade" (based on words from Barry Manilow). What I mean is that, if the new parish is lacking in say, a youth group or social group, consider starting one yourself. Plan an agenda of weekend activities incorporating both spiritual and social (outings) events. Try to get the Pastor on board of course. Others will have a chance to get to know you and you will also have further opportunities to connect with others in the parish as well. You may even be perceived as a "God send" who actually invigorated the social life of the church.


Just some other ideas to consider, Megan. I myself always like to visit 2-4 new parishes each year, to see the different offerings, dynamics and environments--even though I have been a parishoner with the same two churches for over 18 years.


Paul

Apr 7th 2013 new

Thanks for the welcome all, and the good ideas. :)

I will be honest, I tried that with the parish I was in in STL; talking to the new youth minister and attending a few meetings he held, but part of the issue was that their main event was a week long retreat like event they had every year in another. While it sounded like a great time, I had a full time job where it was very difficult to get time off and thus couldn't attend the event. I tried a few other things, but nothing really stuck, if you know what I mean. I even spoke with the religious ed director about wanting to get invovled, but after a few emails, nothing transpired. Which was a shame, because I really like that parish and loved their mass, especially the music. (The parish was St Peter's in Kirkwood, MO, if anyone is in the STL area. I highly recommend it).


I almost wish that the parish I attend now had a list of what activities and groups that they had and examples of what they did. Normally I would find that on their website, but it appears to be down, which is a shame. I like the mass and the priest seems like a good guy, with an excellent sense of humour (I told him after the 2.5 hour Easter Vigil that he was nowhere near the nearly 4 hour Easter Vigil i had attended last year and he faked fainting, which was pretty funny, imo). However, when I look around, the parish community appears to be made up of older folks, married couples and young families with kids. No one seems to be like me. :/


Maybe I'm still yearning for my college years, where mass was full of people like myself, very energetic, with an amazing choir, engaging priests and was always an upbeat, uplifiting mass.

Apr 7th 2013 new

Oh and Joy- what do you mean by a small faith community?

PS Sounds like you and I are in the same boat when it comes to 'young adults'. We're not college aged, but we're not in our 40s, married and with kids either. :/ Seems to me there is NOTHING in the church for people like you and I.

Apr 7th 2013 new

Hi Megan,

A small faith community is sort of like a small-group Bible study or discussion group, they usually meet every week or every other week. I think most parishes have them, although I could be wrong. And yeah, sometimes it feels like there isn't much out there for people our age :-p Maybe you could talk to the parish director and/or religious ed director for your parish or other parishes, or for the diocese. Some cities also have Theology on Tap groups, although they're usually in larger cities. But even if you don't do that or start a small group, some groups like RCIA have a range of ages, which is also cool. I'm still figuring everything out so I know how you feel :-p And it may take awhile. But hopefully God's brought you to that parish for a reason (sounds trite, I know)

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