I mentioned in a recent post that we are in the process of switching parishes. We haven't moved (although we've experienced joining a new parish for that reason as well) but we are finally switching over to our geographic parish. There were a number of factors that came in to play, but after some prayerful discernment, we realized God was nudging us to join the little parish up the street.
I always feel kind of unsettled when joining a new parish, and I thought it might be helpful to share some ways that I've found to make the transition a bit smoother.
1. Officially register at your new parish.
Yes, when in transition, it can be kind of nice to just go to Mass at your new parish for a while without officially joining. The danger in that is that you can end up feeling a bit like a nomad. Your parish is yours...but it isn't. I think that - like with any commitment that you've brought to prayer - God gives you a lot of grace with your "yes." Once you've officially joined your parish it is your home away from home, even if it may not feel that way for a little while. You are tied to them, your family is officially on their radar, and it's easier to take ownership (i.e. introducing yourself to people, signing up for liturgical ministries, etc.)
2. Officially un-commit to anything you are committed to at your old parish...but don't necessarily bid your friends farewell for good!
In our 5 years of marriage, we've belonged to 3 parishes (counting our newest one). At each of our previous two parishes, we were involved in some way. It's just a matter of common courtesy to contact the necessary people and tell them that you'll be switching parishes and no longer able to participate in your ministries/activities anymore. If you can fulfill any previous commitments you've made. For example, if you're a lector and you're close enough to finish your lectoring commitments, go back and do so!
Let your friends know if you're switching parishes, but don't lose those connections! We've found some wonderful friends at each parish, and have found friendships worth maintaining.
3. Go to daily Mass at your new parish.
The daily Μass goers are often the ones in the know! Just coming to Mass every day, or even just a couple times a week, can help you get to know your pastor and some of the other parishioners better.
4. Be patient with yourself!!!
Transitioning parishes can be unsettling...give yourself time to adjust, and be patient with yourself in the meantime!
And now for what we wore Sunday. :-)