My husband and I are originally from Massachusetts and we are of the "predominant religious persuasion" of there, too -- Roman Catholic. Both of our children were baptized in Massachusetts with the permission of our parish priest in Virginia.
Well, we (foolishly) attempted to attend Sunday Mass with our two children at our church some time ago. What a disaster! We tried to find a place where one could cry and the other could be calmed down, and the only available space (other than outside the building) was a small 10 foot by 10 foot "library" towards the rear of the church. No seats and way too many distractions.
So I checked into the CCD program for Natalie -- they have a pre-school program. I thought that might be good for her and I could bring Nicholas to church solo. The CCD director was very nice. However, the CCD program runs "against" the Mass schedule. There are Masses at 9 am, 10:30 am and 12 Noon. CCD runs from 9:15 to 10:15 am or from 10:45 to 11:45 am. So attending Mass as a family would mean Nicholas would have to be at church either from 9:15 am until 11:30 am or from 10:45 am until 1pm. (!!!) I don't think so.
So we have been attending another Catholic church in the next town over -- they have a Catholic School like our parish does, lots of young children at Mass, great setup so young families can be at Mass and not disturb the entire congregation, etc. I thought it would be great if we switched parishes so we could get involved with that Church. (I used to sing in the choir at our church in Massachusetts and I really miss it.) In Massachusetts, people picked which parish they wanted to join and they signed up at the church office.
Well, that's not how things are done in northern Virginia.
I asked the Archdiocese's office. I asked at our parish. I asked at the "family friendly" parish in the next town over. No, no, no. You are "assigned" to a parish strictly based on the physical location of your house.
I am not happy about this.
If anyone knows of a way to pick your own parish so I can be active in a Catholic Church again and attend Mass with my family in a child-friendly way, please let me know. Thanks!