Post # 1
So, my fiance is Roman Catholic, and I am Lutheran (ELCA). I decided that I wanted to be the same religion, so that we can raise our family in one church. Long story short, I am deciding to become Roman Catholic. So, we looked around for churches, and found one that was in between the both of us (We live 35 min away from eachother, and the church is about 20 min from either of our houses). We went a few times, and my fiance called to ask how we can become parishioners. The lady was extremely extremely rude to him. Basically told him that we can’t just become parishioners to be married there and then leave, and we were not allowed to become parishioners. He tried to tell her that we were planning on moving to that area after we were married, and truth be told we would have raised our family in that church.
Now that we found out how rude that lady was, I have no desire to even try to call back and beg them to reconsider.
Has anyone recently become a parishioner? I realy have no idea what the expected protocal is. In the Lutheran church, we were always delighted to have anyone! Not trying to make catholics look bad, but I’m just really discouraged now. I feel like I want to be a part of this elite club, that won’t allow us in!
Post # 3
“Now that we found out how rude that lady was, I have no desire to even try to call back and beg them to reconsider.” <–I don’t blame you. I’m not Catholic so I have no idea what the process is to become a parishioner, but regardless of the religion of anyone in your situation, I would say find a more welcoming church.
Post # 4
@Happilyevaafter5: Not Catholic, but my husband is. I know that they go by your area, so if you are trying to become a member of a church that is out of your area, they make you jump through hoops to get permission from the church in your area to allow you to belong to the other church.
Also…since you’re Lutheran, I’m pretty sure they won’t consider you a member of the church. You have to be Catholic in order to be a member of a parish.
Post # 5
I think this ties into the fact the many Catholic churches have strict rules stating that 1) If you aren’t marreid in a Catholic church it doesn’t count and 2) You can’t get married in a Catholic chart that you aren’t a member of. Because of these restrictions lots of Catholic churches have couples that join just to get married at that church then quit going. It sounds like this church has had that happen and this lady was taking it out on you. Totally unacceptable in my book. That is not how a church should behave. I, personally, believe anyone who is interested should be welcomed with open arms. It may be better at other Catholic churches. Or maybe this is a sign you should try an ELCA church (I’m Lutheran too and I kinda think we rock!)!
Post # 6
Sometimes church ladies are just rude. I don’t know what it is about the job, but it must really get to some people.
If you don’t ever want to contact that church again – that’s totally your call. But it might be a really nice place. Maybe try going there in person? Or don’t! Keep looking for other places! Don’t let that lady ruin your perception of the catholic church. You will find a church that welcomes you.
If you want to actually *be* Roman Catholic, you have to take some RICA classes and other stuff I don’t know much about. Mention that you are interested in learning more about that and it might help them know you are one of the serious ones and not one of the ones who will lie just to get married there.
Post # 7
I will say this – don’t judge a parish and especially not the entire Catholic church because of one rude secretary in the office. Unfortunately there are jerks in every religion.
If you really want to join this church, start attending mass there regularly, and introduce yourself to the priest after mass. Explain your situation and that you want to attend church there, and start the process of becoming Catholic yourself. He most likely will tell you to go to the rectory, you can then say that Father XYZ sent you and you should be fine from there.
Post # 8
Thanks girls! Makes me feel better
@JenGirl, I actually used to teach VBS at this one Lutheran Church with a friend who was a member, so the pastors all know me pretty well… wouldn’t be hard at all to become a member there. 🙂 And in fact maybe I wouldn’t even have to be a member to get married there. So that will be my last ditch solution.
Post # 9
To be a parishioner, you just have to sign up with your address so they can send you mailings. I do know that most churches won’t marry you unless you’re a registered member of their church but will occasionally make an exception. i.e. I was able to get a wedding date at a church that I am not a parishioner of; and, my Fiance is an atheist. // I would try another church, too. Not all churches are the same and each congregation works differently.
Post # 10
Oh, boy. Yes, it is sort of complicated, and I’m really sorry this lady (probably the parish secretary?) treated you that way. It is actually a problem in some Catholic churches that people want to have their weddings there because it’s “the pretty church” or whatever, but they don’t actually intend to become members and won’t be attending Mass there or otherwise contributing to the life of the parish. However, this isn’t your situation, and I’m sorry that she wouldn’t listen long enough to understand that.
You have two options for establishing parish membership:
1) Start attending Mass at a church of your choice (this one or, if you’re soured on it, some other one). Check the bulletin for information about how to become a registered member of the parish (usually you just fill out a form and they put you on their mailing list). They may make an announcement about it, too – the church I attend welcomes new members to register on, I think, the first Sunday of every month. You could also go up to the priest after Mass, introduce yourselves, and say “We would like to join this parish, and (your name) is interested in RCIA.” I guarantee he will be delighted to help you get the ball rolling.
2) Your Fiance is also automatically a “member” of the parish that controls the territory he lives in (and you will be too, once you become Catholic). This is kind of a little-known fact among Catholics, but parishes are geographic divisions of a diocese’s territory, so all the Catholics that live within a parish’s geographic boundaries are de facto members of that parish (whether or not they sign up/register as members there or elsewhere) and they have a right under Canon law to receive their sacraments. So, the secretary of the parish where your Fiance lives has to be more welcoming than this first one was. A tip, though – have him make the phone calls. It will be easier if the Catholic half of the couple takes care of making contact, at least initially.
Post # 11
My advice would be to contact the priest directly to explain your situation.
Make an appointment, sit down with him and have an open, honest conversation.
Have you started RCIA?
If you have any questions feel free to send me a pm!
Post # 12
I’m Catholic and honestly the people that work the desks at like every Catholic church are rude. I do not understand it… YOU WORK IN A CHURCH!!! So frustrating… I was so offput I almost didn’t get married in the church.
Post # 13
I am Catholic and my fiance is Lutheran. We both relocated to another state for work, so when it came time to plan the ceremony back home, I wanted to be married in the church that I was baptised at. When I called the church and tried to explain what the situation was and what kind of options we had to go about it since we were out-of-state and he was Lutheran, she basically was super rude and told us we should find another church to be married in, along with stressing how conservative their pastor is and how big he is on natural family planning…which was a WTF kind of moment since that had no bearing on what I was asking. I even called my mom afterwards because I had never imagined that a person representing a church could be so rude and dismissive when I was just nicely asking information about options. I was literally on the verge of tears b/c this woman was that awful.
I ended up calling my old parish and they were so nice, so accommodating and were the nicest people, even though I no longer live in the area. She penciled me in right away and then set up a meeting with the pastor right away.
I would try calling around to a couple different churches. We are doing marriage prep classes/workshop through a local parish out here, and we have to file a dispensation for my fiance so he can be married in the church since it’s an interfaith ceremony, however he isn’t going to be converting. You should be able to do something similar, and could then take RCIA to begin the converting process afterwards as well.
Post # 14
@MrsPom Some church ladies are rude!! A long time ago a church I grew up in had rude office ladies, and to tell you the truth our pastor was rude too, I’m not sure why we kept going there… but then we got a new nice pastor, and she “retired” the mean ladies.
@anabell465 That stinks that you couldn’t get married in the church that you were baptised in but I’m a little glad to see someone else who had kind of the same experience and still found a church.
@MrsJoyful80 Have not started RCIA, I looked into it and most start around October. I wonder if I should wait to inquire with our “new” church, or if I should go to the church that is 5 min from me, and I can be “pre-parishioner” there. But seems a little silly for me to go to one church, and my fiance to go to another.
@KCKnd2 Yes, my fiance will be taking care of things. We might try to find a church that a relative is a member of, might make it easy too.
I guess it won’t be the end of the world be a part of that church, they have a priest there that has a very thick accent and I can only understand a quarter of what he is saying, so I won’t miss him at all either. 🙂
Post # 15
I think that, no matter what you decide to do and where you decide to pursue the sacraments, you and Fiance should attend together. That’s one of the best things you can do as an engaged couple. 😉
Post # 16
@Happilyevaafter5: My opinions is talk to a priest directly and then if you still get the same sort of treatment look for another church but don’t let that one incident turn o you off from wanting to become Catholic. I’m Catholic so I haven’t had to deal with this directly but not all churches are going to give you an attitude like that. I can’t believe she even said those things to you! My BIL’s girlfriend is going through RCIA right now to become Catholic (she was also Lutheran) she was also previously married and is having that annulled as well and hasn’t gotten any slack from the church. The church should welcome you with open arms and not give you a hard time. Find a chruch that is willing to bring you in without making you feel bad about it. Not all churches will have that reaction.