Attending Mass After 30yrs Absense


my parents and relatives are Catholic, and i was baptized, did my communion, confirmation,and was raised as a Catholic, but abandoned the church in the 80’s, and converted to the Jehovahs Witness religion, in order to evade military service, in South Africa, during the aprtheid era (see profile details). i left the JW religion 12yrs ago, lost faith in God and religion, became addicted to pornography and the occult, and then essentially became an Atheist

i have not attended mass for over 30yrs. is there anything i could start doing to familiarise myself with the church services, i have started viewing and “attending” services on the EWTN TV channel, but am sure that when, and if, i ever manage to gather the courage to attend a real service, i will have forgotten most of what my parents taught me. is there an online church manual/guide, that will help me remember the prayers, words and signs i need to recite at mass. thank you


Welcome back! There will probably be missals in the pews and you can use that to follow.


Just pray that God gives you guidance and go.

God loves humility. He will open doors for you if you are humble and truly want to return to the faith. If that is what you want then he will show you amazing things, and put incredible people into your life.

Just go.

But be prepared to work. God will put you to work. :D Don't I know it. :rolleyes:



Welcome back! Your hesitance is understandable, but rest assured the ceiling will not cave in on you if you walk into a church building - God will welcome you, as the father joyously received the Prodigal Son.

Watching the Mass on EWTN is certainly a great way to get reacclimated, but you will need the courage to make that final step. Most churches have good missals in the pews, and you will be able to follow along with no problem.

We will pray for you, and let us know how it goes when you do decide to attend Mass (soon, we hope)!


Yay! Welcome back! :extrahappy:


I was away for 26 years and I guarantee you will be welcomed back!


The best way to get reaquaninted with the Mass is to actually go to one; why don’t you attend your first Mass or two with one of your family members? They can walk you through it (not much has changed) and answer any question you have afterwards. Welcome (back) Home! We missed you. :wink:


thank you for the encouragement, and for sharing the word “missal” that i can now study a little. i love watching EWTN, especially the music parts. i watched a popular Catholic American country music singer on the show, some time ago, and it really moved me. i wish i could remember his name. i happened to tune into the show accidental. the song he sang and his faith, reached deep into my heart. i feel that this is what ultimately moved me to start thinking about mass again. i know that someday i will walk into the door of the church, and the pleasant memories of times i spent at mass with my parents, and relatives, in our youth, will return. i do not have many relatives left in South Africa, most reside in Italy, and i have not seen them for over 25yrs. possibly i will start attending mass when we are all once again reunited as a family over there.i hope it will be soon.thank you


many thanks, am not sure whether anyone has an official online copy of the English translation of the Third Edition of the Roman Missal, but have found this one, and will be studying it in the days to come.thank you


Oh, how wonderful!!! Welcome back! :D


God is good! Whilst returning, it is best to know what you are returning to, right? There is a very popular book entitled Catholicism for Dummies that I can most highly recommened. It is written in plain, easy-to-understand (if decidedly American) English. I believe that reading through it will greatly assist you on your journey. I learn something each time I open my copy.

In stark contrast to the unmerciful world, you will soon discover how amazingly merciful God is. And, not to worry if you feel unworthy of God’s mercy - none of us is.


Welcome home, mostolto! :smiley:

I would also urge you to make an appointment with your local priest and tell him what you are thinking. There is really no need to WAIT to go to mass to be reconciled with your family in Italy, because you can JOIN them in mass RIGHT NOW. You see, there is only one mass, which we become present in and joined to the unified Body of Christ (the church) together each and every time we go to the mass. In other words, when we attend mass, we are ALL spiritually at calvary to witness the death and resurrection of our Lord. Be assured, when you attend mass in South Africa you are every bit as united with your family as if they were standing right next to you. (I recommend reading “the Lamb’s Supper: Mass as Heaven on Earth” if you want a deeper understanding of this).

Talking to a priest will give you a better chance to discern your return to the church, and if you so choose I’m sure the priest would make himself available to AT LEAST give the opportunity for a good confession and reconciliation when you are ready for that step.


yes,however i do feel that as an act of penance and confession, i should at least try and unite with my family in Italy, as i have been separated from them and the church, now for over 30yrs, and no longer have any relatives left here in South Africa


Jesus tells us that if we realize that our brother has anything against us, we should leave our gift at the altar and go be reconciled with our brother first (Matthew 5:23-24).

It was radical teaching then, and is just as diffiult to do today.

By the way, I made a 37 year confession a few years ago. God is good.



Welcome Home.

Savor the first several Masses upon your return. I strongly suspect you will feel like you are “walking on clouds” afterwards. It’s a remarkable feeling. Ponder/pray on this feeling very strongly because I have felt it and it has long escaped me. I love the memories. They are precious to me.


Welcome back!

I was out of the Church for 22 years. When I walked into a church for the first time after 22 years, I was overwhelmed with a warm feeling, the kind you get when you come home after a very long time.

One confession later and I was back on track. The priest that heard my first confession in 22 years was very warm and welcoming.

Nothing but good can come out of this! Trust me!


PS I’ve been to Durban. Lovely part of the world.


Welcome back home! Looks like you’ve found a source to study the Mass. I hope you start attending in person soon.

You will also want to start preparing yourself for confession - there are lots of online examinations of conscience. usually the ones structured around the 10 commandments are the most helpful to returning Catholics.

You’ll have to go to confession before you receive communion again - but don’t let that stop you from attending Mass! :gopray2:


yes, i am very much looking forwards to my first confession. i am still carrying a very heavy load on my shoulders. my past involvement with the Church of Satan, an ongoing addiction to pornography, and most importantly, my abandonement of the Catholic Church, are all subjects that i would like to sit down and discuss in depth with the priest. possibly i will also try and obtain a little advise from some of the brothers at one of the Monastery's, or even possibly a brother who has had some experience with the occult. thank you


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