What’s a Parish-Hopper? Is it a Bad Thing?

5 Responses

  1. Alexis says:

    “What is meant by parish community?” Many things, as evidenced in the article: ranging from cultural-linguistic, ethno-genetics, proximal-convenient, to the psycho-emotional.

    In a globalised culture, former territorial restrictions have receded, and people have gained a broader vista on the world – and beyond. Globalisation brings with it many positive features like diversity sensitization, enhanced worldviews, and other social skills. However, when indignenous identity is lost, globalisation can also usher in many negative features like communitarian destabilisation, homogenisation via the dominant culture, and isolation, to name but a few.

    That notwithstanding, we as church need to evaluate our place in the world … in our communities.

    “What is meant by parish community? Does it really matter?” I would say that it does. With the evergrowing technopolis, where human interfacing has far outstretched it’s face-to-face mode of communication and exponentially increased our capacity to interface through internet, mobile cellular devices, WiFi connectivity; social networking facilities such as Mxit, Hi5, facebook; and virtual communities like Second Life have become ubiquitous.

    Must the ‘care of souls’ and evangelisation not reach these domains as well? Does the parish end with its geographical confines, or should it extend beyond time and space? Again, I think it should. There is thus a responsibility on pastors, catechists and parish workers to be aware of these ‘social spaces’ parishioners inhabit, and extend their outreach there as well.

  2. James Henning says:

    I am 67 years old.
    I saw the church building go up. I served Mass as a boy at PiusX in Pretoria. All 7 of my children were baptized there. I teach Cathecism to the grandchildren of parishioners that I knew as a boy. I cannot understand “parish hoppers”. The Mass is not entertainment.

  3. Chris says:

    My name is Chris and I am a church hopper.

    First of all, I think there are different types of church hopping. It can be a sort of cafeteria Christianity. It can also be a way of attending Mass but not rooting yourself in a community. I’m not certain that the example given in the article above are good examples of church hopping. Church hopping is not just about being officially part of one parish and attending another regularly. It’s about attending multiple parishes regularly, possibly even on the same day.

    Why do we do it?
    For me it is not about entertainment. I understand how it could be.

    I am not sure who it was who said this (originally in reference to types of prayer), regardless of whether it is white bread, brown bread, wholewheat bread, a slice, a loaf, or roll, in whatever shape or size, leavened or unleavened, it is bread. That analogy can be used to explain church hopping. The hopper can get something that feeds them in one parish that they can’t get at another that feeds them in a different way.

    I neither live nor work in the “territory” of my “home parish.” I attend Sunday Mass and most holy days at the home parish, but I often attend Masses at some other parishes. My wife and I are both involved in our home parish, we’ve both served on the PPC several times.

    My parish doesn’t run Alpha, and I’ve attended several Alpha courses at 2 other parishes – one neighbours my home parish and the other is closer to home. The latter is not only well resourced, having lots of programs (including Alpha) it is also charismatic. While I’m much more of a contemplative (I’m a Type 3 on Corinne Ware’s Spirituality Wheel , I’ve got an appreciation for Charismatic spirituality, and my wife, well, she’s definitely charismatic, but one who is willing to live with the home parish’s non charismatic “personality” or “culture.” Also, working in the city centre, I sometimes attend weekday Mass at the local cathedral. And, I’m involved in the ecumenical movement, so I do attend services in other denominations as well

    James in his comment above, must look at me like I’m an alien…but the 30 years of age and probably the life experiences that separate us is a huge cultural and generational gulf. I am a product of post modernism. I am a convert to Catholicism, I am an immigrant. I was neither born, raised, nor educated in the home parish. I won’t ever “each Catechism to the grandchildren of parishioners that I knew as a boy” I don’t have that rootedness – and yet there is a longing for such rootedness. In essence, I am in exile (so maybe it is apt my home parish is District 6) and yet in through my faith, that exile is home.

  4. Caroline says:

    Interesting topic. I’m a parish hopper and quite ok without it. Ive learnt quite alot in the process, and my main reason for parish hopping is that many priests are not prepared to give good homilies. Those that are good don’t stay in one parish for long.

  5. Mathibela Sebothoma says:

    I never saw that angle coming