I posted a relatively short story of my conversion from being an atheist to a Baptist to a Catholic on my personal site. Gotta love those atheist conversions that God brings about!
I have been blessed with many good friends. Most of these friends I have met at church. People sometimes remark to me that I seem to know everyone at church, which I didn’t ever think about until they said something. After talking with them, I realized that many people don’t have so many friends and have difficulty making them.
Recently I was blessed to get to spend time with a family I met at the new parish I go to, St. Elizabeth’s. I reflected on how wonderful it was to get to spend time with a holy family and learn how to become a good husband and father. The interesting thing is, this family is not one I would normally encounter or be friends with, because they are a half-generation separated from me (the parents are about 15 years older than me, and their youngest child is 15 years younger than me). Nonetheless, we have become friends, and we have begun doing some things together.
How did this happen? Well, I started going to Mass at this parish where they attend, and I would go to the same Mass each weekend as well as sit in the same place each weekend. I noticed this family would often be sitting in front of me, and how well-behaved their children were. During the sign of peace, I got to shake their hands and sometimes before Mass when the pastor did the “everyone greet the people next to you” I would say hi to them.
It happened gradually, but little by little I would get to talk with them more. I asked their names one day, and then eventually we would talk a little bit after Mass. Months go by, and we talk a bit more and get to know each other more. Then, very graciously, their father invited me to their house for an Opus Dei circle meeting. I went over and after the circle, I got to stay and spend some time with them, finding out their sons like computer programming! I’m a computer programmer, so this was really cool because we could talk about it.
I invited them out to breakfast a few weeks back after Mass, and now tomorrow I am going to go over to their house and just hang out with them! Our friendship has grown so naturally that I only notice we are growing in friendship because I consciously reflect on how it has happened. My point is, if you have trouble meeting people or making friends at church and feel like you don’t belong, try these tips:
- Go to Mass the same time each Sunday and sit in the same place.
- Don’t exit from Mass right after the closing but pray some afterwards and then go to the narthex and see what’s going on.
- Volunteer for a regular activity or ministry (St. Vincent de Paul, Pro-life team, Adoration team, Knights of Columbus, etc.)
- Introduce yourself to people after Mass and chat with them a little.
Be genuinely interested in other people and pray that God will help you meet people and be a good friend to them. He will do the rest for you!