Visiting Churches

Saturday Mass (Visiting Church #50)

We park a block from church. As we hike to where we hope the entrance is, we engage in conversation with a woman, seeming to make a good connection. I consider asking if we can sit with her, so we may follow her lead during the service.

But she breezes inside and scurries away—so much for our connection.

52 Churches: A Yearlong Journey Encountering God, His Church, and Our Common Faith

The facility is smartly contemporary: open and airy. The altar is in the center of the sanctuary, with chairs (not pews—and no kneeling rails) positioned around it.

I estimate it seats over four hundred, with about 240 present, mostly middle age and older. Though a college parish, I don’t see many students.

The worship team is vastly different then our past two Roman Catholic experiences, consisting of a guitar, bass guitar, drum set, and piano. Along with four vocalists, three of the instrumentalists also have mikes. Their songs are likewise contemporary, albeit unfamiliar.

For the Eucharist, I realize I can still have the spiritual experience of Holy Communion without actually going forward to physically receive the elements. Even so, their process distracts me, and I miss connecting with God during the ceremony.

Afterwards I spot a friend, lingering to talk to her. Candy and I also chat briefly with the priest; he recognizes we’re visitors but makes no effort to learn our names. This might be because he’s distracted by a member hovering about, impatient to talk to him.

Given time, I suspect I could find a comfortable and meaningful rhythm in Catholic services. However, even though this parish was friendlier than the other two, I still feel that making personal connections at Catholic churches presents a challenge.

This is troublesome, since the community aspect of church is important to me.

[Read about Church #49 and Church #51, start at the beginning of our journey, or learn more about Church #50.]

My wife and I visited a different Christian Church every Sunday for a year. This is our story. Get your copy of 52 Churches today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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