(If you're Protestant, you may not know that we do things a bit differently. The bishop picks the priest for each parish in his diocese, and typically the priest is there for 8-12 years. If a parish doesn't like him, there isn't much they can do. On the other hand, a beloved priest can get moved and again, the parish doesn't really have any say in it.)
Your parish is your home. It's the center of your Catholic life: spiritual, social, philanthropic. You baptized your kids there, watch 'em grow, receive sacraments, join the choir, teach religious ed., go to the parish picnic. It's your place.
Until it isn't.
We've decided to change parishes. It's been a terribly hard decision, and certainly not one we've taken lightly. We've prayed, talked, searched for guidance, and finally decided.
Why did we do this? There are a host of reasons, but I'll try and boil it down to five.
- The pastoral associate at our parish (the person who works with the priest and is sort of the "right-hand" person at the parish) treated our children with such total disregard I can only describe it as wholly un-Christlike. It was intolerable.
- It seems to us that many of the parish programs are just "getting by." "Good enough." "It's the way we've always done it." There's little passion to do the very best, up-grade and/or improve.
- For the many years, as stewardship time rolls around, my husband has signed up to work with the RCIA program. As a convert, he loves this ministry, and was a catechist for many years. For the past several years, he's never been contacted about it. No reason, just ignored.
- When we've tried to address issues, nothing has changed.
- Our family's spiritual life is far too important to sit around and wait for things to get better.