Attending Mass....Secretly

As a 20 year old Calvinistic baptist, I have felt an on and off again desire to join the Catholic Church for the past 5 years. As a young man with hopes of being ordained, and having an extremely anti-Catholic mother, you can see the dilemma. The local Catholic Church which recently opened (I can see it from my kitchen window, it’s that close!) invited my family to mass when I went to their open house. I have a great desire to go and observe for myself, however it would greatly upset, even anger, my mother. I’ve considered going somehow without her knowing, but I’m not sure if that is the right course of action. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

It might sound strange coming from me, but I did use to be Catholic. And before that Methodist, the son of a Methodist minister. You should just go to that church, in secret if you really must. But you should eventually be honest with your mother, especially if you decide to continue attending. My father was extremely anti-Catholic as well. My father and I clashed over the issue many times until I flat out told him that I was leaving Methodism for Catholicism. He took it better than I thought, but he did give one condition: As long as I lived under his roof, I must attend his church. I guess I could understand it. It doesn’t look good if the pastor’s own son doesn’t attend the church.

In the end, I don’t think you should be afraid of upsetting your mother. You’re 20 years old and are your own person now. If you really do feel that way, then you are bound to upset her sooner or later. Therefore, I suggest taking the initiative so that you have more control over it. Otherwise, it might just result in a lot of heated arguments, as it did in my case.

If God is calling you to his church, and it sounds as though he is. You should do your best to answer the call.

I myself had issues with family and friends when I became Catholic 3 years ago. Some even disowned me. But I gained so much more than I lost. To have Jesus present in the Eucharist and being partakers in receiving him cannot be put into words.

I have found peace in the CC. And I pray you do as well.


Well, that’s a hard one. You’re over age, but you honor your mother (of course!) and you live under her roof.

OTOH, you have a right and duty to follow Christ wherever He leads you. Sometimes this can cause dissension in the family, as Christ Himself warned us.

Since you are over age, your mother does not have the right to know all your daily doings. I’m sure you share many of them with her, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even want to know how often you stop at the drugstore or go to the bathroom! So if you want to go to the mall or to Mass, it is not really her business.

So basically, I wouldn’t want you to lie to your mother, or to sneak around. But if there’s a convenient time when Mass is offered, and you can plausibly be out of the house in decentish clothes (like Saturday evening), I would say there’s nothing to stop you dropping by Mass.

Of course, you would have considerably more freedom of action if you lived in your own place; but it’s perfectly normal to live at home and save your money.

As time goes by, if you continue to be interested, you might want to see if the parish offers anything of interest to your mother, like Bible classes. But I wouldn’t push her.

I agree that you shouldn’t go around behind her back, if you become seriously interested in attending Mass frequently and joining the Church, or even just attending RCIA classes. But right now, you’re literally just exploring.

You’re 20. I would think it’s not up to your mother.

If you feel a longing to go to Mass, by all means go. I wish i had the courage to do so many, many years ago but didnt. I missed a lot. You are a consenting adult and must now look towards your own path to eternal life with God. I was just very matter of fact with my mother and she still thinks its a stage i am going through (really at 50…a stage)…
Do not let your love and concern for your mother or what others think, keep you from Christ.

Come on home, brother! :slight_smile:

Historical and Biblical fact: The Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus Christ Himself established to guide us until the end of time. And the Church did not fall into apostasy, because Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

Jesus knew there would be division…what you are experiencing He knew would happen…read Matthew 10, starting at Chapter 34. Nothing new under the sun!

Tell your mother to get a good study Bible (with all of the Books in it–73, not 66), find a wise priest (or if she is against priests, listen to anything by Dr. Brant Pitre!) and, if she really is seeking truth (and not just in some kind of competition!), she will “come on home” before long, too! I really don’t know how anyone who reads John Chapter 6 can deny the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist!

In the words of St. Pope John Paul II: “Do not be afraid”!

It’s not true because I believe it; I believe it because it’s true!!! I’ll be praying for you!

If you would like to attend without informing your mother, you are of age and don’t have to tell her all your comings and goings. There are several masses so you can choose which one fits best for you. There is at least one per day, and there will usually be one Saturday night, a couple Sunday morning, and one Sunday evening.

At some point you will have to inform your mother, but it is up to your prudential judgment as to when is best to inform her. I would do so gently and matter of factly. Just explain what has been calling on your heart to investigate.

Try to make it not about you vs your Mom. Don’t make it about you vs her.

This is your own spiritual journey. We all seek the truth.

Either way you still have Jesus! If you end up in either church at least you have Jesus and be thankful for that. The Catholic church will give you ALL of Jesus though. But consider it the icing on the cake. We all understand why you want that icing.

You are of age and have the right to make your own decisions. At this point, it might be better if you do not burden your mother with this.

I would not do anything in secret. I would simply tell Mom you are going to satisfy a curiosity about the Catholic Mass. Be honest and open. If you want to study more afterwards do so in the same way.

Now, I can assure you it won’t be easy! Those who would be angry will hound you to repent and go back to your family’s Church. Any new Catholic friends you meet will urge you to join the Church.

You might recall this story,

And the Lord called Samuel again. And Samuel arose and went to Heli, and said: Here am I: for thou calledst me. He answered: I did not call thee, my son: return and sleep. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither had the word of the Lord been revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose up and went to Heli. And said: Here am I: for thou didst call me. Then Heli understood that the Lord called the child, and he said to Samuel: Go, and sleep: and if he shall call thee any more, thou shalt say: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and slept in his place. And the Lord came and stood: and he called, as he had called the other times: Samuel, Samuel. And Samuel said: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth [1 Kings 3:6 sqq.]


If you’re going back and forth between going secretly and telling her, you could split the difference. Just go without telling her, but be perfectly open and honest about it if she finds out or asks. That way you do not cause tension with her needlessly, but you are still at peace knowing you’re willing to talk about it and deal with it if she finds out.

That way you will avoid the two worst case scenarios: refraining from going at all out of fear of having to talk to her about it, or going in secret and living with stress from fear that she will find out.

You are 20. I don’t know which country you live in but I assume you are officially an adult. That means your choices are yours and not your mother’s even if you live in the same house. Whether you go with or without telling her I would anyway go to the Mass. It seems to me God is calling you home to the church.
Your mother may not like it but she cannot forbid you.

Attending Holy Mass in secret is far better than not attending at all, in my opinion. Of course, I am biased… :wink:

If you are kicking the tires and just want to see what Catholicism and Holy Mass are all about; that’s your business. However, if you are going to BECOME Catholic - you’re going to have to tell people eventually.

May the Holy Spirit guide you on your journey.

Gregorian -

I don’t see anything wrong with going to the Catholic Church and being silent for now with your mother. It may be very prudent to do so. Use the time to understand the faith better and be able to explain it well in the future to your mother - as well as your reasons for being interested in the Church.

What are you thinking in way of being ordained?

I know a Catholic priest who at 10 years old told his parents he would someday be a priest. They responded to him and said that they were Lutheran and not Catholic. He said that he would work it out. And he did. :slight_smile:

One has to follow their conscious and the Holy Spirit has a way of being very clear as to what path we should take in our lives.

AWESOME!!! God has a plan for each of us before we are born, blessed are those that know and obey.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit