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.
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.
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.