Hello, I’m not sure if I’m posting in the right place, but hoping to just get a little advice.
Untill recently (the past couple of months) i thought I was a happy evangelical anglican (in England) however, I have been studying the basis of many of my commonly held beliefs and have realised that they don’t stand up, so the further I studied it led me to look at Catholic beliefs and I am ashamed to say, so much of what I believed and was told about the Catholic faith just isnt true.
I have read and read almost constantly since I realised this, and Inow really want to find out more (including attending Mass) I have never stepped foot in a Catholic church and don’t know a single Catholic as all my friends and contacts are all of evangelical/protestant denominations, so I can’t just ‘tag along’ so to speak with a friend. I suppose what I want to know is, is it ok just to turn up and attend? or is there something else I should do?
I will admit that my recent uncovering of the truth as it were has come as something of a shock to me and I am finding it a little hard to believe that I am even considering this!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated
I can identify with you. I was raised a happy little evangelical Baptist, but once I started reading about the Catholic Church, I couldn’t stop. I did my best to go over every issue with my pastors, my parents, my friends, but none of them could satisfactorily answer the arguments for Catholicism that I had been discovering. I didn’t discuss my intellectual conversion process with a single Catholic, nor did I walk into a Catholic church during this time. I guess it was because I was afraid of being “swayed” by personalities or by architectural beauty or the lack thereof. It worked for me, I guess.
So yeah, you can just walk into a church and start going to Mass. In fact, I highly encourage regular attendance! Here are some things to remember:
You can cross yourself with water from the holy water font going in and out of church.
Genuflect (drop to right knee) when you exit and enter a pew, and when passing in front of the tabernacle where Jesus is kept.
Don’t receive Holy Communion until you’re officially received into the church!
Your local church may have an RCIA program - “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults”. This is essentially a series of meetings that typically start in autumn and continue until next Easter when you would be receive Confirmation and make your first Communion. The quality of RCIA programs vary, unfortunately. As it is the smoothest way to be officially received into the Church, you should definitely look into it. If you end up getting heretical/strange teaching (typically not by a priest), don’t worry, it’s a cross to bear in order to receive the greatest gift you will ever receive into this life - full communion with the Body of Christ. If it’s orthodox and edifying, all the better!
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to do one-on-one meetings with a priest, say, over the summer, and be received individually on some Sunday after he deems you ready. I had the blessing to be near an Opus Dei center which had a priest who did this for me.
In any case, you should contact your local parish priest and tell him you want to enter the Church. Contact info for churches should be on the website of your local diocese, and all the better if you find the church’s own website. E-mail or calling should do it. If you already know where the nearest Catholic church is, all the better - you can talk to the priest after Mass.
In any case, start going to Mass!
I’m so happy for you. Being a new convert is such a giddy feeling. And I have no regrets since! There’s no looking back - only looking forward, eastward with the priest, in the earthly pilgrimage towards our heavenly home in Christ. May God keep you.
I am also an English ex-Anglican, currently on the RCIA programme as described by steymard. I go to Mass alone, as I don’t know any other Catholics apart from those I have now met at church. I have found everyone to be extremely welcoming and have also attended some of the discussion groups which take place during the week - it’s a real community, something I never found in the CofE (which is probably for me one of the reasons why I stopped going to church). So don’t worry about just turning up at a service, I did that a lot when I was young and trying to find my spiritual home, although it was another 30 years before I took the plunge!
I’ve found that the later Mass on a Sunday morning is usually more lively, with more young adults and children, so that might be something you’d like to bear in mind. It’s a good idea to try out the different times of services offered at your church, and you’ll find the one where you feel most at home.
You’ll find there are lots of people who can help you find out more about the Catholic faith, both on here but also at your own local church. I’m sure your priest will be delighted to talk to you and tell you about the RCIA, where you can decide if you want to make a full commitment to Catholicism.
Your story sounds almost exactly like mine! I was right where you were! Now I am preparing for my Easter Sacraments.
Congratulations on discernment and I commend you for being willing to follow the truth even when it leads to a strange place.
Please go to mass anytime. You are most welcome to come and participate. Communion is just for Catholics (I’m still waiting! ) but you are welcome to come for mass. People generally just stay in their seats if not receiving communion, don’t worry no one thinks anything of it and all will be happy you are there.
I had a similar experience in that I became convinced that the Catholic Church was what it says it is. And like you, I had very little connection with any practicing Catholics. Fortunately I had one friend who was able to point me to her priest. I made an appointment with him and he and I discussed my situation. He recommended that I attend several different parishes to get a sense of their different styles. In the end, I went back to his.
I do have a few suggestions:
If you can meet with an RCIA group, that would be ideal because the conversion process can be very isolating and it might be great to be with others on the journey.
Go to daily Mass as often as you can. Keep in mind that it is much more pared down, so the priest may not stand in the back to greet you afterwards. At first it seemed a little unfriendly, but the rhythm of it began to emerge and it was a beautiful way to get to know the liturgy.
Pray daily about your conversion. Ask God to lead you! If he is calling you to his Church, he will be there through the process with you. Rely on him. I spent a LOT of time crying out for help. He usually answered my prayers.
Go to adoration. Find a church that has an adoration chapel and sit quietly with the Lord. It was an amazing help to me when things got tough.
Cross yourself (a.k.a. bless yourself): Dipping your index & middle finger in the holy water font (a little bowl open receptacle or huge fountain like – each church has different ones) found inside near the entrances on a wall or a pedestal, touch your forehead, skip down to your stomach area, then left shoulder, and right shoulder. The prayer we say is simple: “In the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.” It is a reminder of our Baptism.
You may tell where the tabernacle where Jesus is kept by looking for a candle encased in red glass. You can see the light through the glass. If the tabernacle with Jesus is kept at a side “chapel” or altar, then you bow at the Altar as stated before and genuflect before passing in front of the tabernacle. Many people in the USA forget to do this.
When I bring my non-Catholic friends, I like to bring them first when there is no Mass going on so that I may give a “tour” of the Sanctuary and church building – if there is a lounge, chapel, etc. Then when my friend comes to Mass with me, s/he is more relaxed.
The posting done on “my” Thursday will include Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Some countries have no work during Holy Week. With God’s grace, the program for Holy Week, including Easter Monday, will be posted on Thursday, April 10, 2014. I hope that works for everyone!
Traditional 54-Day Rosary Novena Schedule for Lent 2014 Petition:
March 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26, 29: The Joyful Mysteries Posts 2 & 3.
March 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, 30: The Sorrowful Mysteries Post # 10
March 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31: The Glorious Mysteries Post # 11
The Concluding Prayers for all the Mysteries: - Posts 4 & 9
April 1, 4, 7, 10, 12, 16, 19, 22, 25: The Joyful Mysteries Posts 2 & 3.
April 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23, 26: The Sorrowful Mysteries Post # 10
April 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27: The Glorious Mysteries Post # 11
The Concluding Prayers for all the Mysteries: - Posts 4 & 9
My freind in Christ, go and step into a Catholice Church,and attend a Mass,by yourself,and may God inlighted you,and help you feel his present, because going with some one might infulance you in the wrong way.
May the Holy Spirit be with you. Amen
These are essentially High Anglican churches that joined the Catholic Church as a group. The Catholic Church let them keep some elements of the Anglican liturgy. Their Masses are very beautiful, and you may find some of it a little more familiar due to your Anglican background, though I don’t know how different a low Anglican church is.
The beautiful part for me was I didn’t have to give up anything: My love for Christ, My love for the Bible, nor my appreciation for love my protestant church gave me when I was a child. I was able to keep all that was beautiful, good and true while receiving so much more.
It will be a life long journey and a beautiful one.
Thank you steymard for all the links. In regards to a high Anglican Church, it would be quite different to what I’m used to. I was in an Evangelical Church for nearly 10yrs until a year ago when I joined the Church of England, but we describe ourselves as ‘Evangelical Anglicans’ so apart from certain aspects there isn’t too much difference from what I came from originally.
I have found the contact details for my local Catholic Church and I am going to email later on today, I don’t quite know what I’m going to say yet, but I’m sure something will come!