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How We Picked Our Parish (Part 2)

Updated: May 2, 2021

(To read Part 1 of this story for our journey to finding a parish, click here.)

Need help making your parish a welcoming environment like these parishes? We can help! Check out our welcome bags and email series, or contact us for a consultation on welcoming techniques.

Last week, I shared my story about how we found our new parish last year. I was curious what others' first impressions of their parishes were, so I asked a few of our Catholic social media friends what their experiences were:


Sara from To Jesus, Sincerely: "We went to Mass at our new parish today. I was nervous about the kids in a new church. Would they behave? Would they be welcome? Would there be other families or would we stick out like a sore thumb?We walked to the front and found our pew. When we sat down, the first thing I noticed brought tears to my eyes. Every seat had a hymnal and a missalette - and a children's book! Every. single. seat! I felt welcomed. Encouraged. Loved. I felt like our family belonged right here in the pew. Not in a crying room, not relegated to a different parish, not left back at home, but right here. Right here with Jesus. Let the little children come to Him."

Anna from Beautiful, Camouflaged, Mess of a Life: Anna and her family are a military family, and she explained that whenever possible, her family chooses to attend Mass on base. "Otherwise," she said, "I look for a parish community which offers family-friendly activities - not in name only, but truly in spirit (ones who encourage little kids, rather than roll eyes at the back of parents’ heads). I have been known to attend Mass at civilian parishes sans kids, to get a feel for that before taking my kids with me."

Kristi from Hail Marry: "When I was 26, I had a two year-old daughter and a divorce under my belt. The parish where I sporadically attended didn't offer much for single mama divorcees like me, and the pastor had been incredibly rude regarding baptizing my daughter as a separated Catholic woman without her father (from whom I had a protective order). I also felt little more than a number there. I eventually stopped going to Mass altogether. Then, just before the following Lent, I was inspired to join a Catholic Daughters of the Americas court at a parish in the neighboring diocese. When I went to Mass there, my tiny dancer insisted we sit in the very front row (so we did). While you couldn't call her out as misbehaving, she was actively walking to the end of the pew to me and back. Being in view of everyone, I was slightly self-conscious. The woman behind me said, 'You have a beautiful family' at the sign of peace. After Mass, the deacon came up to me and e