Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

Church Hopping/Shopping

on May 19, 2013

I grew up in Cuyahoga Falls and my family attended the same church for my entire life that I can remember, St. Eugene’s Catholic Church. Now that Jeremy and I have moved back to the area as our own little family, and we plan to stay here for good, in saecula saeculorum amen, we thought it might be fun to check out some of the other churches in the area to see where our family’s parish home may truly be. Not that there’s anything wrong with St. Eugene’s; it’s a very nice parish! But we have this opportunity to make a fresh start and it’s worth taking the time to find a place that really feels like a spiritual home for our family and is not simply the convenient, familiar option.

So last weekend we went to St. Sebastian Parish, which is a good deal larger than St. Eugene’s, and also located closer to the neighborhood where we would eventually like to settle. It was a great liturgy. Well-trained lectors and musicians, an impressive music program, large mass attendance, and tastefully renovated and decorated sanctuary, a vibrant and orthodox young priest. I really liked it and I can see us going there. No other ladies in veils that I could see, but I also didn’t do a lot of looking around once we were settled in our pew. Plus there are four total masses each weekend, including a Latin mass every Sunday afternoon, so there are probably other veil-wearing gals who I just didn’t see. The only downside we experienced at St. Sebastian was that because the congregation was so large, we blended in and no one welcomed us as new faces–hi nice to see you welcome to our parish hope to see you around–and even though we walked right past the pastor at the door on the way out, he didn’t greet us or welcome us or anything. He probably just didn’t recognize a new family (even though I was wearing my lace chapel veil and we’re a young family–Catholic parish gold). Oh well.

When we got home from St. Sebastian we talked about other options we might try, and Jeremy suggested we take a peek at any Eastern Rite Catholic churches in the area. Some of our friends in Billings were Eastern Catholics who went to Roman Catholic churches in Billings, so why couldn’t we do that too, only going the other way? Jeremy has some minor familiarity with Eastern Catholicism, and we also were friendly with the Greek Orthodox community when we lived in Billings, so this step is really not that far out there for us.

So we looked up what our choices might be in the greater Akron area, and we found Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church. Their website is very encouraging, even giving instructions for Roman Catholics to come try an Eastern Rite church and how to receive Holy Communion (it’s different from Roman Rite). The site also said they don’t cater strictly to folks of Ukrainian heritage, so we decided to give it a try. It was really nice. I was instantly reminded of the times I went to the Orthodox church in Billings. The liturgy is probably more similar to an Orthodox liturgy than to a Roman Catholic liturgy, but it was pretty easy to follow along. We were welcomed in the door, and out the door, and we were invited down to the basement for their parish brunch. Today, being Pentecost, is actually their patronal feast day (Holy Ghost) so they had a party. We met the pastor and his family; they are a young couple recently come here from Ukraine, and they have a little boy who is almost exactly Stephen’s age! The congregation is small but friendly and they were definitely excited to see a new young family walk through the door. Plus they gave us like two bags full of parish brunch leftovers to take home with us. Perhaps a bribe to help convince to return next week…?

I was more excited about Holy Ghost than St. Sebastian, just because of our experience at each liturgy, but I won’t totally rule out the possibility we would end up at St. Sebastian. Jeremy and I are excited that St. Sebastian offers a Latin Mass every weekend, and they have a Gregorian Chant Schola that sings for that liturgy which we are both interested in maybe joining. But Holy Ghost has a nice little choir too that might be fun to sing with, and the liturgy was definitely in keeping with our taste and aesthetic preferences.

We may try a completely different church next weekend; we haven’t decided yet. I would like to settle into a parish community sooner rather than later, so if we do shop a new church next weekend, I would want to pick the final choice after that. We need to have time to develop a bit of a relationship with the pastor and fill him in our baby situation so he can offer us spiritual guidance and comfort should we need it.

In the spirit of Pentecost Sunday, Holy Spirit, inspire us in our choice of parish community! Amen.

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One response to “Church Hopping/Shopping

  1. Kathy Schwager says:

    It’s great to hear that you are settling in. We arrived in Lisbon (Lisboa) yesterday. It is a beautiful city!

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