A Catholic And His Parish

When we are born, we are brought within seven to ten days to the parish of our parents to be baptized and become members of that parish. We will receive our First Communion in our own parish. We will be confirmed there by the Bishop of our diocese. We will come to our pastor, when it is time to prepare for marriage, or to the pastor of our spouse if we happen to be from different parishes. Of course, we will inform our own pastor that we are planning to get married. Our life centers around our parish.
For many in centuries gone past they would be baptized, married and buried all from the same parish church. In more modern time, we move from parish to parish as we relocate for work or other reasons. When we move to a new parish, we are soon off to the rectory to sign up and let our new pastor know he has a new parishioner or even a new family in his parish.
All, but one of the Commandments of the Church, relate to our parish church and to our pastor:
1. To hear Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
3. To confess at least once a year.
4. To receive the Holy Eucharist during the Easter time.
5. To contribute to the support of our pastors.
6. Not to marry persons who are not Catholics, or who are related to us within the third degree of kindred, nor privately without witnesses, nor to solemnize marriage at forbidden times.
Normally we should assist at Mass on Sundays and other Holydays of Obligation in our own parish church. A slight reason permits us to go to another church for Mass, but we should ordinarily assist in our own parish.
Our annual confession also ought to be made to our own pastor or other priest given authority by our Bishop to hear confessions. In fact, normally we should confess in our own parish. By law all pastors have authority to absolve their own parishioners from their sins wherever they may be.
We should also make our Easter Duty to receive Holy Communion in our own parish. Our pastor is responsible for the salvation of our souls and should take care that we are fulfilling our obligations before Almighty God.
In matters of marriage we go to our pastor for his advice and to arrange for marriage instructions. If the couple from two different parishes wish to marry, both pastors should be informed, because it is the duty of our pastor to prepare us to receive the Sacraments.
Finally, our obligation is to provide for the support of our parish through our tithe. Let us consult the basic Catechism: “We are obliged to contribute to the support of our pastors, and to bear our share in the expenses of the Church and school.” In the Old Testaments ten percent of a person’s income was devoted to the church of that time. Although Church Law does not make any specific recommendation on how much we ought to give, it is our duty to provide decent support for our pastor and his assistant(s), if he has any. Jesus says: “the labourer is worthy of his hire.” (Luke 10:7) We also must help provide for the support of the school attached to our parish.
Our connection with our parish and our fellow Catholics should go far beyond just assisting at Mass. We should be found regularly at other devotions in church and visiting with our fellow Catholics. Indeed, our parish church should be the center of our life.