Finding a Parish in Memphis.

As you guys probably are already well aware of - we just recently purchased a new home at the end of March in the Memphis area after having lived in the Midwest for the last five years.  We've been in the Memphis area for the last several months while looking for a home and Tony and I also both grew up in Memphis.  However, we are both new to living in Cordova (which is a suburb here).  When it comes to finding a church, we are starting the hunt by checking out the churches closest to us.  We were members of a seriously wonderful Catholic Church back in Moline.  Christ the King Catholic Church is the church I had visited for years when visiting family, the church I went to throughout my last year of high school, where I made my all my TEC weekends, home of the priest that we just absolutely love and appreciate, the place where Tony & I took RCIA classes for his baptism, the church he was baptized in, the place we got married, the church where Presley was baptized in... it just is a place that I hold so close to my heart with so many absolutely priceless memories.  So how do you follow-up a church experience like that?


It's gonna be tough and will require us to start fresh with open minds.  We're looking for a new parish with a strong sense of community.  It'd be great to belong to a church that offers activities for young, active families and that is really what we're looking for.  Neither Christ the King nor the church I grew up a part of had a school attached to it, so part of me is looking for that again (since a lot of time, energy, emphasis, and money goes into the school rather than strictly the parish when there is a school involved...) but seeing as SO many of the local parishes also have schools, I am going to just check them out individually and see how it feels.  Oh, and in the Diocese of Memphis, you can be members of more than one parish... so I suppose that is something to keep in mind as well - though I hope we find one that feels like "home."

Here are some of the places we'll be starting:

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church
This church is literally part of our neighborhood... we could WALK to church every Sunday.  (How sweet does that sound?)  It's just under 2 miles from us - so we certainly would have no excuse to ever being late!  They offer mass times of 8:45am, 10:30am, and 12:15pm on Sundays.  It boasts the largest parish of the entire Diocese of Memphis - something I never knew before now!  And it has the largest Catholic elementary school in the entire state of Tennessee.  But to be honest, both of those fun facts make me shy away from this as an option and will more than likely be the LAST place to visit in the area.


St. Ann Catholic Church
This church is only about 5 miles from our house and I don't know a whole heck of a lot about this parish.  They offer mass times of 9am, 11:30am, & 5pm on Sundays.  They're also part of a school - which I believe is K through 8th grade.  Their music coordinator is John Angotti - who I just ADORE.  He is such a talented musician and is honestly a huge reason to consider checking this church out!  This parish also offers Parents Day Out, which is something I have been considering for Presley in the upcoming months.




Church of the Nativity
This church is about 7 miles from us and they offer mass times of 8am and 10:30am on Sundays.  It doesn't have a school that is directly affiliated with the parish and is another church I don't particularly know much about but look forward to checking out.


Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church
This church is also about 7 miles from us and they offer mass times of 9am, 10:45am, and 12:30pm on Sundays.  Rev. Patrick Hirtz is the associate pastor at this church and he was also at the church I grew up attending for a couple years there, so that is a nice connection!  This parish has a K-8th grade school that also offers Mother's Day Out for kids Presley's age.


Church of the Holy Spirit
This church is about 8 miles from our home and offers mass times of 9am, 10:30am, and 12pm on Sundays.  This is the church we visited this past weekend for my nephew's baptism.  I also know one of the priests, Father Mike, from my SEARCH weekends in high school.  We also know a few young families who regularly attend this church.  They offer Mother's Day Out, too.


Resurrection Catholic Church
This is the church I grew up attending.  It's about 11 miles from where we live and the mass times are 9am and 10:30am on Sundays.  I remember three different priests from Resurrection over time - and the final of the 3 that I remember was Father Ernie, who is still the pastor here.  He is energetic and loving and I really enjoyed him and I think I still would, very much.  The church has changed so much from the time I was a kid - so it certainly won't be the church I remember - but I also look forward to seeing how it has evolved over time - the things they've held onto and also the things they've improved.  They now have a school attached to the parish which I believe is K-6th grade.  And oddly enough, I couldn't find a photo of the church on the web!



So, these are the churches we are looking forward to trying out to see how they fit for our family.  I grew up attending a church that wasn't just a place we visited for an hour each Sunday... we really did grow up in our church community.  We played in basketball leagues there for years and also participated in free throw shooting contests (which was so much fun) every year.  We had parish picnics and cake walks and went to PRE (Parish Religious Education) classes every Wednesday night.  We loved VBS (Vacation Bible School) for a week every summer.  We attended youth group every Sunday and participated in ice cream social, regressive dinners, car washes, diocese-wide youth conferences and nation-wide youth conferences.  We went to concerts with our youth group and did Habitat for Humanity and a million other things to keep us busy.  It was just a place that meant a lot to me as a kid and youth and I want that for my kids.  I don't want to just attend my church on Sundays, I want to be involved and to grow up as a family there with other families.

These kind of experiences might not take place at the local churches here anymore, so my hopes might be too high, but I believe it could easily take place again... even if Tony & I have to start things like that at our local parish.  For the most part, I am not looking to duplicate my childhood experience, I am just looking for the feeling of family and community I always felt from my parish and I don't think that is too much to hope for at all.

**And by the way, there are certainly more churches to check out in the Memphis area... this is just where our list begins!**

Comments

  1. You have a lot to choose from. I've never noticed that a church with a school attached is much different although I think it tends to have more families with children and more activities for families. We lucked into a great parish here - we're equal distance from a few by my husband's boss is a Deacon of this specific parish and many of his coworkers go there so we already knew several families from the get-go. They also were in the process of building a new beautiful church (the church was a smaller chapel in the parish school previously) and I feel like we are very blessed by that and the effort to build the church really brought a new vibrancy to the parish which we have reaped the benefits of. We're going to be looking to buy a house later this year and will probably stay with the same parish even if we move. We just love it and feel connected to it so quickly even though we haven't lived her long. I hope you find a parish you love!

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    1. Mandi - and this list is really only the tip of the iceberg, starting with the parishes closest in proximity. You're right in that parishes with schools usually are family oriented - so that is a big "pro" on the list. Though, I don't think we'd ever be able to afford sending our kids through Catholic schools (at least where our income is at the moment) so I don't want that to be a source of disconnect for us.

      Thanks so much for your input! I cherish it.

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  2. Church is one of the biggest things in our lives. I don't really know how I would chose one if I ever moved. We have been going to the same one since I was 3. Good Luck!

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    1. I think you hit the nail on the head for me, Rhonda - I am just still pretty heartbroken about having to leave behind our last parish when it felt so much like home. So starting over, no matter where, is really just the crux of our problem. C'est la vie! But I'm glad you feel my pain and it's awesome to hear there are still people attending the same parish since childhood :)

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  3. We did a handful of 'parish-shopping' when we moved around with the military. I understand your beef with the churches with schools. I grew up going to a parish that had a DIOCESAN-run school, so it didn't really affect much and they never begged us for money in the middle of mass (I didn't even know Catholic Schools Week was a thing until moving away!). But now we have settled into a midwestern town, and the parish boundary zones are a big deal here! We go to where we're zoned--we switched after we bought our house because of it (and the church is 2 miles away), and that has worked for us. If I were you, I'd start with the closest one and go from there. I used to walk to church when I lived in VA, and I loved it!

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    1. That's crazy that you guys have parish boundary zones - I had never heard of that being a thing. (Though it does make sense.) I think I will start with the closest parish and work my way out... though the huge parish with the school attached (aka the closest) just rubs me the wrong way! Hopefully I'll prove my instincts wrong ;) Thanks for your input, Cat!!!! :)

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  4. It sounds like you have some great options! I am very comfortable with the idea of church hopping while deciding what feels like home to all of you. For us it was important to find a parish with a school since we hope to send our children through Catholic school, so we looked at the school first and then the church. But feeling welcome and knowing that our children are welcome at Mass too is so important to us! And we do feel that. And the Mass is traditional, but there's a real energy to the community, so that matches what we need at this point in our lives. Good luck with your search!

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  5. Found your blog through Messy Wife - we live almost exactly where you used to! My home parish is St Pius X :) Looks like you have some beautiful churches to choose from!

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    1. You're kidding me!!! What a small world :) I miss the Quad Cities nearly every day... unless it is wintertime! St Pius is such a gorgeous church and a great church community - you are definitely lucky with that! Great to meet you!

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