Faith Communities and Belonging

I just moved to a different parish. For various reasons, the parish I had been a member of since we moved to the Twin Cities from New York in 2007 is not longer a good fit and has ceased to be a source of spiritual nourishment for me. After spending a good part of the fall investigating different options, I settled on Christ the King in Minneapolis. Although it is a twenty-minute drive from my house, I believe – based on the Masses I’ve attended there and my discussions with the pastor and with other parishioners there – that it is the best place for me.

Last week, I filled out a registration form to “officially” become part of the parish. When I mentioned that to a friend of mine, someone who has also been investigating the same parish, he responded that the technicality of registering in a parish never really occurs to him.

I suppose at some level the registration is only a “technicality.” But I’ve never really thought of it that way. It matters a lot to me to say I belong to and am part of a parish. So I wanted to actually join the parish – to put in writing that this is my new home – and not just to start regularly attending Mass there.

I understand that some people attend Mass at a parish for years and never register. Fear of commitment? A hesitation to be (in the words of someone with whom I was discussing this) “a bona fide registered Roman Catholic,” perhaps as a way to stay off diocesan lists? (I don’t think either of these explains my friend’s reaction, but I think they do explain that of some people.)

Whatever explains the behavior of others, I know that it wouldn’t work for me. Being part of a community of faith matters a lot to me. And not just to attend Mass at the same place every Sunday and whatever weekdays I can manage. But also to become involved in various ministries in the parish, to learn and grow together with the community – to be part of the community in an intentional way.

And so it is with hope, faith, and peace that I now call myself a member of Christ the King parish.

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2 thoughts on “Faith Communities and Belonging

  1. Bravo, Susan. Now in regard to people not registering in their parishes, may I suggest two “simple” fixes? (1) Insist that parish councils have real authority to shape the life and worship of the parish, and (2) make it a rule that only registered members of a parish may vote in parish council elections.

  2. I’m outing myself as Susan’s friend who commented that registering was a technicality that really hadn’t occured to me (at least in the way it has to Susan). Well, let it be known that last Sunday I submitted my official registration forms at the very same Christ the King Church. In addition, I called the Episcopal Church my partner and I had been attending and withdrew my membership (though my partner isn’t ready to do that for reasons you might suspect).

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