Choosing Church

How did you decide on what church you attend for Mass?

Is it the parish that your family has attended for generations; or is it the one connected to your child’s school; or maybe it’s the one nearest to where you live?

There is no right or wrong way to choose a church – Mass is always a good thing.  However, there may be a time when you feel the need for a change, even if it’s just for once in a while for a change of pace.

This weekend, my husband and I were thinking of attending Mass at a different church in our area. We found that it was a more stressful task than earlier anticipated.

We live in Westchester and have a car.  We could, in theory, choose any church in our city, or any city nearby.  We often drive out of the way to visit our favorite coffee shop, to eat at the diner we like best, and various other places past options that are closer.

But choosing, and then actually attending a different church felt like a big step.  Even celebrating Mass, with all its familiarity, felt like taking a chance on the unknown.  We drove around to see what a few churches looked like.  However, we were unable to take that step into the unfamiliar, at least this weekend.


saint john the baptist saint barnabas st paul the apostle






Are you a “church-hopper” who likes to attend Masses at different parishes? Or do you attend Mass at a parish that feels like home?  Please share your story of how you choose where to pray.


3 thoughts on “Choosing Church”

  1. We like to go to different churches every now and then. We often visit new churches when we are in a different part of the city for a specific reason. Like sometimes we’ll visit a local church after we attend a movie or the theater in that neighborhood. It kind of feels a little like you’re on vacation. We once visited a church in the Union Square area after the movies and were asked to bring up the gifts. A few months later we found ourselves back in that neighborhood after another movie and decided to go back to the same church. We were asked again to bring up the gifts! What are the chances of that?


  2. I have a regular parish church, but if I’m not assigned as a lector I don’t always worship there.
    I like to “take a ride in the country” on Sunday mornings to visit new areas, take some photos and clear my head by silent prayer and meditation. Often I will pick a church based on a convenient Mass time in that area.
    I do the same thing if I feel like being in the city. I will visit a neighborhood or a parish I have heard about and pick a convenient Mass and then have breakfast.
    We are blessed to have so many wonderful parishes in our area. The parishioners and clergy are friendly and welcoming. The worship spaces are unique, historic and beautiful.


  3. My wife and I have a parish, of which we are registered members and where we attend mass regularly, within the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Having said that, because we tend to travel on the weekends, we often find ourselves attending mass at a Catholic church which is not “ours”. Examples: This past weekend, we attended mass at a church in Roslyn, NY (Diocese of Rockville Centre). Prior to that we recently have attended mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC (Archdiocese of NY), St. Raymond’s, Alexandria, VA (Diocese of Arlington), St. Bede’s, Williamsburg, VA (Diocese of Richmond) and Elizabeth Seton, Germantown, MD (Archdiocese of Washington, DC). Different churches and different dioceses. The important thing, as the writer correctly notes, is that attending mass “Is always a good thing!”


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