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  #1  
Old Sep 1, '13, 9:23 pm
RachZ RachZ is offline
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Default First time attending a Catholic Church

Hello,

This is awkward for me because I have never posted on an online forum before. A little background information about myself. I am a 20 year old college student, who attends a small private christian university. Over the past few months, I have become extremely interested in Catholicism.

I am studying English-Literature with a focus in American Literature specifically looking at Catholic writers such as Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, and more contemporary authors such as Ron Hansen. Basically, I am looking at how their faith influenced their writing. (enough about my honor's thesis).

This semester, I am taking a class about the history of Roman Catholicism at my university. I was raised in the Lutheran church and have had trouble in the past finding a church away from home church. I attended a Baptist church all last year and hated the whole structure of the service. The only thing I really liked was the Pastor's sermons but I disagreed with the whole idea of the alter call. I also did not really go to church my freshman year, going back to church was a big deal for me.The semester just started and I found a Lutheran church that I liked but I won't necessary join in a heart beat.I have issues with the way that the ELCA falls on certain social issues. I feel that because I am writing my honor's thesis and taking a course of Catholicism that I should give the Catholic church a try or at least check out the local parish.

I have done research online about the Catholic church and about praying a rosary. Which I started during the summer. I count my fingers since I don't have rosary beads, yet. I agree with some of the teachings of the Church but I feel like I have lots still to learn before I figure out if I might at some point what to join. From an outsiders view of my research and having never attend I already know that I am going to love the traditional feel of the worship.

Part of me is being held back because I have lots of friends who go to the local parish/ other church (that are Protestant) that acts as a student center for university students. Over the past two years, we have kept our faith from each other. Our conversations, when we meet for lunch after church on Sunday or casual lunch on campus never really focus on our faith. We just casually mention, "I am coming from church or I went to Mass today." Then we move on about other things such as classes, friends, etc. I have this fear of running into them at the local parish if were to attend one Sunday. I know that their reactions would be positive and they would love to share their faith tradition with me.

I was thinking that this coming Sunday since the Lutheran Church trying out an Evening Service instead of it's usually morning services. That I would go to the local Catholic parish but I am nervous. I know that all of you in this forum are wonderful people and good Catholics. I also know that my friends and Catholics at this parish are great people and very welcoming.

I am just not sure, if I am going for the right or wrong reasons. I know that going I cannot take communion/ Mass. Any advice about first time attending?

As I am writing this, I am reading it and it sounds confusing and awkward. I apologize in advance.
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  #2  
Old Sep 2, '13, 12:12 am
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Maria1993 Maria1993 is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

hmmm...I do apologize for not being able to offer advice on running into friends during mass.... you are not being drawn for no reason...perhaps the Holy Spirit is leading you? I am also 20 btw. I can't really offer too much, as I am a revert and still learning more on Catholicism, but If it makes you more comfortable, I can point you to a website/page of Catholic teens of all ages talking about Catholicism, Prayer, Apologetics...I happen to be a member as well.

I would say to stay calm, listen to the words, prayers, and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you and open your heart. I will pray for you. Even out of curiosity, go. You have nothing to lose!

http://newcatholicgeneration.com/
https://www.facebook.com/newcatholicgeneration
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  #3  
Old Sep 2, '13, 12:40 am
Starrsmother Starrsmother is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

WOW! I applaud your decision to learn about the Catholic faith---whether you ultimately become Catholic or not. That honors paper should really be something--a Lutheran writing a dissertation on Catholic writers! LOL! I'd suggest that you enroll in a Catholic CCE class. They usually meet on a week night for an hour or so. The courses are meant for folks who want to convert--but they don't force anyone to do so just because you are in the class. Basically they just tell you what Catholics do and do not believe--if you can and choose to accept these teachings, well great! If not--that's okay too.

There are many misconceptions about Catholics. One example is the old "Catholics worship Mary" thing which is patently untrue. Another is the idea that Catholics believe that everything the Pope says in infallible. That isn't true either. In order for you to write a really quality paper on Catholic writers, it might be helpful to know for sure what the church actually teaches--thus why the writer believes and writes as he/she does. While learning about your subject matter, you just may decide to become Catholic--but whether you do or don't, learning about the Catholic faith is a good thing. I'm in my 60's and am a women's health care provider. I grew up in the 1960's--and was what is called cradle Catholic. This means that I was born and raised as a Catholic while growing up. When I was in my 20's, I looked into a number of other faiths--both Christian and otherwise. I wanted to be sure that just because I'd been raised Catholic that I didn't just blindly assume that it was the "one, true faith". In the end, I returned to the Catholic church, absolutely certain that I'd made the right choice--but what I learned about other beliefs during my search made me a lot more empathetic to people who aren't Catholic. I have a better idea what they believe when I interact with them which I think makes me it easier for me to respectfully dispel false ideas on their part and to represent my faith more accurately as well as to show greater charity to people of all faiths. Good luck!
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  #4  
Old Sep 2, '13, 1:55 am
PaulfromIowa PaulfromIowa is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

You are, of course, welcome to attend a Catholic Mass. You know not to receive Communion if not Catholic. If you are Lutheran, the Mass will probably seem somewhat familiar to you.

If you are in DC, there is the Catholic Information Center downtown. The largest Catholic Church in the US, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, is in DC, near Catholic University of America.

Catholic Information Center:
http://www.cicdc.org/

National Shrine:
http://www.nationalshrine.com/site/c....BF65/Home.htm
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  #5  
Old Sep 2, '13, 4:42 am
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dee burk dee burk is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

I think there are many that start out going for "information" on the Catholic Church and fall right into a wonderful faith. By all means go to Mass, it may be a little frightening at first, especially if you go alone. Perhaps you could approach one of your acquaintances that go to Mass and ask if you could tag along. It may relieve a little anxiety for your first visit.
Also, many parishes have mission rosaries that they give out, you could ask the parish secretary or receptionist if they have one. or, i like to make them, if you want you can PM me an address and i would be happy to send you one.
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  #6  
Old Sep 2, '13, 6:23 am
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Church Militant Church Militant is offline
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Smile Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

No problem. We'll be happy to have you with us.

Coming as you do from a Lutheran background, much of the liturgy will be familiar to you.

I found a good post from the CA apologists that may help you out some.
What can Protestants do at Mass?
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  #7  
Old Sep 2, '13, 7:42 am
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ClearWater ClearWater is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

I found this information on going to the Catholic Church for the first time. I think there would probably be other similar sources online. It also says how to get a free rosary!

http://www.catholicmissionleaflets.org/leafapp.htm

Best of luck in your journey, and God bless you!
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  #8  
Old Sep 2, '13, 7:49 am
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Sailor Kenshin Sailor Kenshin is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by RachZ View Post
Hello,

This is awkward for me because I have never posted on an online forum before. A little background information about myself. I am a 20 year old college student, who attends a small private christian university. Over the past few months, I have become extremely interested in Catholicism.

I am studying English-Literature with a focus in American Literature specifically looking at Catholic writers such as Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, and more contemporary authors such as Ron Hansen. Basically, I am looking at how their faith influenced their writing. (enough about my honor's thesis).

This semester, I am taking a class about the history of Roman Catholicism at my university. I was raised in the Lutheran church and have had trouble in the past finding a church away from home church. I attended a Baptist church all last year and hated the whole structure of the service. The only thing I really liked was the Pastor's sermons but I disagreed with the whole idea of the alter call. I also did not really go to church my freshman year, going back to church was a big deal for me.The semester just started and I found a Lutheran church that I liked but I won't necessary join in a heart beat.I have issues with the way that the ELCA falls on certain social issues. I feel that because I am writing my honor's thesis and taking a course of Catholicism that I should give the Catholic church a try or at least check out the local parish.

I have done research online about the Catholic church and about praying a rosary. Which I started during the summer. I count my fingers since I don't have rosary beads, yet. I agree with some of the teachings of the Church but I feel like I have lots still to learn before I figure out if I might at some point what to join. From an outsiders view of my research and having never attend I already know that I am going to love the traditional feel of the worship.

Part of me is being held back because I have lots of friends who go to the local parish/ other church (that are Protestant) that acts as a student center for university students. Over the past two years, we have kept our faith from each other. Our conversations, when we meet for lunch after church on Sunday or casual lunch on campus never really focus on our faith. We just casually mention, "I am coming from church or I went to Mass today." Then we move on about other things such as classes, friends, etc. I have this fear of running into them at the local parish if were to attend one Sunday. I know that their reactions would be positive and they would love to share their faith tradition with me.

I was thinking that this coming Sunday since the Lutheran Church trying out an Evening Service instead of it's usually morning services. That I would go to the local Catholic parish but I am nervous. I know that all of you in this forum are wonderful people and good Catholics. I also know that my friends and Catholics at this parish are great people and very welcoming.

I am just not sure, if I am going for the right or wrong reasons. I know that going I cannot take communion/ Mass. Any advice about first time attending?

As I am writing this, I am reading it and it sounds confusing and awkward. I apologize in advance.
Don't fret.

Simple curiosity is a good enough reason! Don't worry how to behave, just watch when others stand and kneel and do likewise.

The first time I attended Mass in my adult life (went once as a teen but that's a whole nother tale), I felt awkward but I needn't have. No one's 'watching' you for mistakes.

Sit in the back if that makes you more comfortable.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Watch this space for further developments.
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  #9  
Old Sep 2, '13, 8:03 am
maltmom maltmom is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

God bless you on your journey.
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  #10  
Old Sep 2, '13, 9:10 am
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YoungTradCath YoungTradCath is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

Well, the good news is that there are plenty of very good Catholic parishes in the DC area.
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  #11  
Old Sep 2, '13, 9:43 am
on_the_hill on_the_hill is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

Hi RachZ--this is sort of exciting, isn't it?

Lots of good advice here. Just remember that, while Roman Catholicism is standardized across the globe, there are differences in culture, even within the same diocese.
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  #12  
Old Sep 3, '13, 10:35 am
manualman manualman is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

Come on in!

One tip: if you want a seat in the back row, you gotta get there early!

I'd also suggest coming early enough to see if there are misalettes in the pews or perhaps in a rack at the back of the church. They make following along a lot easier for newcomers.
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  #13  
Old Sep 3, '13, 11:05 am
Hat4 Hat4 is offline
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Join Date: September 9, 2011
Posts: 154
Religion: Catholic
Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

Quote:
Originally Posted by manualman View Post
One tip: if you want a seat in the back row, you gotta get there early!
This depends on the parish. At my old church if you were one minute late the ushers would march you up to the front were the open seats were. Where I attend now you need to get there a little early or you'll be stuck in the back.
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  #14  
Old Sep 4, '13, 10:37 am
Musician Musician is offline
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Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

God bless you on your spiritual journey! I am so glad you are seeking. Remember most Catholic churches may seem odd in that they don't do a lot of fellowship at the time of mass, unlike Protestants. It may seem unfriendly until you realize we are there to worship rather than glad-hand other people. Maybe you could go with a Catholic friend. ..? Use the missalette to follow along. You will enjoy it!
I will pray for you!
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  #15  
Old Sep 8, '13, 9:26 am
RachZ RachZ is offline
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Join Date: July 31, 2013
Posts: 4
Religion: Lutheran
Default Re: First time attending a Catholic Church

I just got back from my first time attending Mass and I loved it. The liturgy was very familiar and the wording was a little strange at first. I sat in the back because I wanted to be able to see what was going on/ follow someone around me.

The only thing that I noticed that was strange was that the hand holding during the Our Father. Something that I am not used to doing, so it freaked me out at first and the lifting of the hands. I think before Mass. I was able to locate a Misalette and noticed that other people in my pew were using them as well.

The only awkward moment was during the Mass, since it is a student center, they had a group of student musicians leading the songs. I think I might have been the only one singing a long after I had prayed before people started going forward to receive communion. This also helped because the person at the start of the pew knew not to stand up since I moved from kneeling to sitting since my knees started to hurt and singing along with the student musicians.

Other then that it went great, I did run into two of my professors from previous semester but they brief said, hello after Mass. Other then that it went really well and I look forward to going again sometime in the future. Maybe every other week and I know in the future once I learn more maybe even joining.
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