Magazine article U.S. Catholic

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Magazine article U.S. Catholic

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When I was growing up, my family was deeply immersed in the community of our local parish, the same parish my dad grew up attending. The only Sundays we did not attend 9:30 a.m. Mass were when we were out of town, and despite my tactful excuses, my parents rarely let me skip my Sunday school. My brother and I always participated in the annual parish theatrical production as my mom helped run the concession stand, and my parents hosted young couples in marriage prep at our house every year.

Most of my neighborhood friends and their families were equally as present in parish life. Going to Mass each week meant recapping soccer games with my teammates and inviting my neighbors to bike to the pool. Our parish was our cultural and social hub.

Father Michael Enright outlines these benefits of neighborhood parishes ("Worship local," Sounding Board, pages 27-31), stressing that those who worship in their local parish create "a dense web of relationships over time that sustains them and helps them pay attention to what is really important."

Father Enright's insights clearly speak to my childhood experience in parish life. However, as a 20-something no longer living in the zip code in which I grew up--and as someone who has lived in three different areas over the past five years--I'm not sure I can still identify with his rationale. …

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