Church shopping. It sounds like a ridiculous term, doesn't it? But it's probably the best thing to describe what Sean and I are doing now. We're looking for a new parish to call home.
Catholic-speak breakdown: Each church is a parish (usually). Some parishes have schools, some don't. Each parish has suggested boundaries (or did at one point), though depending on the area, most people don't need to stay within parish boundaries. A collections of parishes is a diocese.
We are in the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese now. It covers over 15,000 sq miles, 27 counties, and has 97 individual parishes. Now, we're only looking at parishes in Jackson county, but that's still 50 parishes. FIFTY. Our new apartment is at the corner of Kansas City, Raytown, and Independence, though we're technically in Kansas City. We're looking at parishes closest to our new place first, because we're more likely to go and be involved if we're closer.
Sean and I come from All Saints and Saint Joe's parishes in StL - and they're large. All Saints has over 750 families and 7 masses a weekend (not including the two masses held every weekday morning). KC just isn't as...Catholic. Most of the churches have 3, maybe 4 masses a weekend. We ideally want a church with a school attached to it, because it means younger families. We know we'll probably switch churches when we buy a house and have kids, but we still want a young population. I would love to have a young adult group, so I can meet people/be involved. I was very active over at All Saints, and I miss that a lot. But I'm not going to join a women's quilting group or anything. At All Saints, the young adult group met at a brewery. Just saying. Speak to your audience, ya know? I thought we had fairly simple requirements, but apparently not.
So far, we've been to two churches out here - Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Nativity of Mary. OLPH isn't anywhere near our new place (we went there when apartment hunting in May), so that's immediately out. Nativity wasn't too bad. It has a school attached, but apparently we went to the geriatric mass. The older people out numbered the younger ones three to one, no joke. We might try to go to the other mass next week, but there's also several other parishes to try. We're looking at St. Bernadette, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Mark as well. There's a total of 11 parishes within 5 miles of our new place, so hopefully we'll find a good fit for us. Every parish is different, and it's important to find one that we like - just like any other sort of group.