Throughout my 20s and into my early 30s there have been some “defining moments” that have made me feel like I’m slowly but surely reaching adulthood. Getting my car’s oil changed, purchasing and cooking a Thanksgiving turkey, and planting tulip bulbs and various other flowers in my yard are just a few of those moments. Registering at my parish is another.
I found that something about registering at a parish and receiving my offertory envelopes in the mail each month made me feel more grown up. Maybe my “cradle Catholic” upbringing has something to do with it. Regardless, registering at a parish is an important step for any Catholic young adult.
But, you might be asking yourself, I can go to Mass at any parish without registering, so what’s the difference? Why register?
For starters, registering is helpful for the parish. Every arch/diocese does a census of each parish to determine the number of registered parishioners, among other things. The census can help them decide things like the number of priests assigned to a parish and certain obligations the parish has to support other arch/diocesan programs. Your registration could affect these numbers.
Registering also helps the parish maintain communication with its parishioners. In addition to bulletins and Mass announcements, many parishes communicate with their registered parishioners by email and postal mail. So, you can feel more like a part of the parish community when you receive parish news and events right in your inbox or mailbox.
Some parishes will also require you to be registered as you prepare for sacraments like Baptism and Matrimony. And if you fall ill and end up at your local Catholic hospital, they might inquire about the parish at which you’re registered and contact the parish priest, who will come visit you to offer Anointing of the Sick.
All of these reasons to register at a parish are important, but to me, the act of committing myself to the parish community is most significant. There’s something to be said about belonging, about claiming this place as my church, my home—and allowing this place in return to claim me.
Editorial Note: This is the second post in a four-part series which originally appeared on Church Life Journal. If you're a young Catholic discerning how to live your faith as an adult, or if you're going through a time of transitions or new beginnings in your life, subscribe below so you don't miss out on the rest of this series!
To learn more, see also: Embracing Parish Life, Part 1: Choosing a Parish.
Featured Image: Holy Trinity Catholic Church by Nheyob; CC-BY-SA-4.0.