Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A New Parish

Last Wednesday, my family and I did something that was very difficult, while at the same time the decision to do so came very easily.  After fourteen years, we changed parishes.  It was sad because of the things that we were leaving behind but it was easy for a couple of reasons.  We have so much to gain by changing and so much to lose if we did not.

Leaving after fourteen years in one place leaves me with a lot of sadness.   We leave behind a lot of memories and a lot of friends.

It was at my old parish that I was confirmed as an adult on Pentecost by the parish priest.    My wife, Abby, and I had been married outside of the church so during this same time period of "reversion" we had our marriage blessed there.   Abby had been raised in the Methodist tradition but she went through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) and was welcomed into the Catholic church there at Easter Vigil in 2000.

My children, the biggest reason for my "reversion," received their sacraments there.  They were baptized and received their first communion.  My oldest was confirmed by Bishop Finn there.

I've spent hundreds of hours ministering and catechizing teens there.   I spent so much time in that church teaching kids about their faith.  I spent the night there several times for lock-ins.  I remember gathering there before going on retreats, canoe trips or mission trips.   My family and I had many laughs in the parish hall during different dinners, donuts after mass or trivia contests.

We will miss the friends we leave behind.  There are so many good parishioners there.  They are good, holy people that we love very dearly.

We will be losing a lot by leaving but we have so much to gain.

I love going to mass at my new parish.  It is so very reverent.   There is an attitude there that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist.   I do not get the feeling that the mass is a show or a production like I did at my former parish.   I trust that, liturgically, everything will be done according to the norms and regulations set forth by the Church and not according to what the priest or liturgist thinks.

We feel welcome at our new parish.   Sadly, due to conflicts I had with our former parish priest and members of the parish staff, I did not feel that my family or I were welcome at our old parish.   I did not feel comfortable with the looks and attitudes I received by certain people there.  I want to reiterate---the parishioners there were wonderful and the parishioners made me feel very loved.

Finally, I feel that my new parish is faithful to all of the teachings of the Catholic Church.  I feel that my family and I will be spiritually fed, spiritually challenged and spiritually defended.  I did not feel this way at my former parish and as the spiritual head of my household, I have a responsibility to ensure that they are not left spiritually hungry or vulnerable.

It really saddens me to leave.   We are leaving so much behind.  But it's what we feel we have to do.    I am excited about the change.  I can't tell you how much I love my new parish, priests and fellow parishioners (including my sister).


  1. So glad to see a fellow Roman Catholic living his faith. You made the move to be true to your heart and your faith. All will be well.

    Best wishes in your new parish home.

  2. Your new parish is happy and blessed to have you and your family, too. It's hard sometimes to follow where you are called...I've been there done that, my friend.

  3. I commend you on your choice. I too have left the same parish after 28 years. All of my sacrements I've completed have been with that parish except baptism. I feel sadden, hurt, and very unconfortable there, not by the parishoners but staff. I've met very wonderful people there who have touched my life in amazing ways, you being one of them. Thank you.

  4. I first commend you for making that decision, its not easy but if you are following the Lord in doing so then you must make the change.

    I have had a similar path in that I grew up in one parish in Missouri where I am from and I miss and love it there very much. When I first got to Wisconsin I bounced around a lot and moved from one parish to the next as I have tried to find a place that just really spoke to me and that I felt was good for my wife and I. Now we have found such a place that is in the beginning of a renewal of their faith and I am very excited to be there and to hopefully get to play a part in helping everyone find their faith.

  5. Hi. Just read this blog post. I went through the same thing about 5 years ago at our upstate NY parish. After about 11 years, we decided to leave to attend one of the only truly orthodox and reverent parishes in our diocese. Sad to have to leave a parish because of all the experimentation that goes on, but we found such a new and awesome parish and a priest who has changed our lives. As hard as it is to leave a parish you have been at for years, you did the right thing. God Bless!