Do I have to attend Mass now?

I’m in the awkward stage of learning about the Church, following Church teachings, etc. but not being fully initiated into the Church (i.e. the “conversion period”). I will be inducted (is that the word?) into the Order of Candidates on December 5th. The RCIA director said that we don’t have to go to Church on Sundays until he tells us to, and he told us to go after we enter the Order of Candidates/Catechumens.

So my question is, if I don’t go to Mass until December 5th, am I committing a sin? Keep in mind too that tomorrow (November 28th) is a Holy Day of Obligation. Do those apply to me?

And, speaking of Holy Days of Obligation, what happens when one of those falls in the middle of a week where one has school? December 8th is a Marian Feast Day (not sure which), but I also have school on that day. So…I’m in another awkward position.

I strongly encourage anyone in RCIA to start living as a Catholic as fully as they can. One of the ways of living as a Catholic is to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days. So I would encourage you to attend and to participate with praying and singing.

On holy days parishes usually offer additional Masses, especially in the evening in order to accommodate working people. On December 8 we celebrate the Immaculate Conception. Check with your own parish or with parishes close to your school to see if there’s an evening Mass you can attend. If there’s some kind of Catholic ministry at your school they may have a Mass scheduled.

Canon 1247 of the Code of Canon Law state, “On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Mass.” So if you are not yet received into the Catholic Church, you are not yet part of the “faithful” and the obligation does not apply to you.

Yes, I would agree that at this stage you are not obligated to attend but that you should since you are choosing to become Catholic AND the Mass is central to Catholicism. You are not held accountable for missing Mass at this point but if you think that Mass is something that you HAVE to do as a Catholic then you need to really dig deeper into the meaning of the Mass. As Catholics, Mass is who we are as opposed to something that we do. Mass is where we can be present at the one eternal sacrifice of Christ. It is a gift comparable to none.

This is a good question actually asked by many Catholics. I was one of those who resisted going to Mass. But, wow, what an awakening once I realized the truth of this eternal gift. May God bless you now and throughout your journey home. Keep asking great questions and never stop learning. Our faith is an incredible ride and once you embark you will never be the same again. In Christ…teachccd :slight_smile:

Right now you are in the inquiring stage of the RCIA process. You are just learning the basics, and kicking the tires, so to speak, to see if you wish to continue with your studies. (Most people have already made up their minds). After Dec 5, things will get more serious and you will be learning more about the Church in depth and start living out your Catholic faith. Right now it is not really a sin for you to miss Mass, but you should try and go anyway. As Catholics we are obligated to attend Mass each and every Sunday for the rest of our lives. On Holy Days of Obligation, most parishes add Masses during the day, plus a Vigil the night before, so working people and students have a chance to go; one can attend Mass at any Catholic Church, so if you can’t find a time that suit you at you regular parish you are free to attend somewhere else.

Just wanted to throw in my two cents… I went through RCIA a few years ago and even though we did not have to attend Mass until that period when we officially became catachumens, I wanted to go to Mass so I could experience the whole Mass as much as I could (In our program, we left the Mass before the Prayer of the Faithful every week until Easter to meet with a parish member and discern further).

Congrats and good luck during this process. It is such an exciting time so enjoy :slight_smile:

Hmmm, by my calendar, tomorrow is November 21. November 28 doesn’t happen for a whole nuther week yet.:wink:

Before Vat II you had to leave after first part of the Mass.

The Mass of the Catechumens was the title for the first half of the RC or Orthodox worship known as the Mass or Divine Liturgy. This part of the Mass is now referred to as the Liturgy of the Word. It was originally called the Mass of the Catechumens, because the Catechumens (candidates for Baptism), were required to leave the ceremony before the beginning of the Liturgy of the Eucharist.

On holydays there is usually an evening Mass somewhere near which you can catch.

I would agree with the others…even though it’s not technically an obligation to go…you should try now because you will see what it is like so that when you have to go…you are already in the habit.

All saints Day wasn’t a holy day of obligation here in the US because it fell on a Monday. But we still went as our parish had an evening Mass…and it was SUCH a blessing!

Yeah, my mistake.

But I have been attending Mass since late August. I like the Mass and how it’s read for the most part, but I’m not able to receive the Eucharist so I feel like there’s no point in my being there.

Two things.

First: Do you only want to go to Mass because you are “obligated” too? I hope not.

Second: Do you only feel there is a point to prayer when you get something from it? You are an active participant in the prayer of the Mass whether or not you receive the Eucharist.

i would get used to this now, at some point in your life their will probably be a sunday mass that you wont be able to receive due to not being in a state of grace and not being able to confess before hand. if you use that train of thought then you will be committing the sin of missing mass. i would go, it will help in your learning process too, i went for almost a year before i converted.

I have a meeting with an RCIA director on Monday. I’ve been baptized and consider myself a Christian. I attended Mass this evening, but did not partake of the Eucharist, which made me sad. Nonetheless, I wanted to go and enjoyed worshiping.

If he is not considered part of the “faithful” I am probably not either. Am I not to consider myself a Christian? I do not understand a couple things, which I want to address with the RCIA director. What is the point of putting off confession? What is the point of waiting months and months to practice the Lord’s Supper?

I can understand the import of catechism but there is no guarantee that any of us will even survive the day. If there is one thing I’ve come to learn about life through EMS, it is that. To quote Red from The Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’.”

Of course you are a Christian. I was in a similar situation in RCIA. I also had been attending the Catholic church for some time. I was very burdened by sin especially when going to eucharistic adoration. Not understanding the sequence of rites of RCIA, I ended up going to confession during a weekday morning which was made available for the congregation during the month of December. I had prepared for a first confession by reading materials online.

When I entered the confessional I explained to the priest that I had been baptized Lutheran years ago and was attending RCIA and wasn’t sure if he could hear my confession or not. He allowed me to go ahead and absolved me that day. I am very thankful to him.

Of course , it would have been better to ask his permission first , i was nervous and embarrassed and didn’t want to be problematic, of course I ended up taking a lot of his time anyway, being it was a first confession:blush:

Talk to them about it, I have found them to be very kind and understanding.

I don’t think it is committing a serious sin, no, but you really must ask yourself, why wouldn’t you go to Mass as you are preparing to become a member in the Body of Christ? I mean why wouldn’t you want to? If you are already having scheduling issues, doubts, don’t feel like it, etc…you really need to examine your commitment level now.

Every year there will be something to bind you on any given Sunday or Holy Day. I remember one year on a Holy Day, I had a strange work schedule where I was going to be working really early to really late and had worked late the evening before prohibiting me from attending the vigil Mass. I searched all over the city and found a 6 AM Mass an hour away from my house and got myself there. Look for solutions, not ways around things.

I think it is time for an overhaul of the RCIA, with a more careful examination of the candidates. One young woman told me she and her fiance (who were already living together) went through RCIA to become Catholic so they could get married in a specific church. She told me, “I just went and acted like I believed everything they told me, got married in the church I wanted to get married in and now I don’t go any more.” Her big hang up? She thought not eating meat on Fridays during Lent was stupid.

Sigh…sorry to sound harsh, but we don’t need more lax Catholics and you won’t hear that in any of your RCIA classes.

I am about to officially start my RCIA sessions (this week in fact)! I am moving into a new parish, and wanted to be accepted into my new parish RCIA program as soon as I knew I was moving - that was two weeks ago. Since I haven’t been able to attend my RCIA program, I asked what I could do, so I do not fall more behind. I was told to start attending Sunday Mass, listen to the readings and reflect on them, and I love it!

Oh! I have been attending Mass in the parish I will be leaving…anyway, I have been going up when everyone else goes for communion for a blessing from the Priest.

I am certainly not going to look back now :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


This is a common dynamic which is largely misunderstood in today’s society. We do not to to Mass to receive Communion. We go to Mass to assist at Mass. The requirement for the faithful to receive Communion is only once a year, during the Easter season.

Say one is in a state of mortal sin. If he can’t confess before Sunday (and never mind all that “act of perfect contrition”; assume there is no grave reason), then he cannot receive Communion without incurring the mortal sin of sacrilege. However, he is still obligated to go to Mass. He must do so (without receiving Communion of course); to refuse to do so without serious reason is the mortal sin of disobedience.

porthos11: I always saw the core part of Mass to be the Eucharist. It just doesn’t feel right when I have to miss the core part of the Mass, the part where you literally receive life (Jesus said “Whoever does not eat my body and drink my blood does not have life inside him”, paraphrasing).

Ashurie: Congrats on starting RCIA!

ByzCath: When I thought I could receive the Eucharist, I went to Mass eagerly at every chance I got. But when I learned that I couldn’t receive the Eucharist until I officially join the Church, I quickly became disillusioned and have to drag myself to the church every Sunday morning. I think it’s the Eucharist that makes me happy. Being able to hold God physically and receive God physically is actually a great thing. I also love Eucharistic Adoration because I get to physically see God. Without the Eucharist, I feel like it’s an empty experience.

Many people joined the Church because of the Church’s teaching on the Holy Eucharist. I have to admit that that’s a major reason for me as well.

If you think the problem of lax Catholics comes from the RCIA program, you’re sadly mistaken. The CCD program is a failure in many respects from what I’ve seen from cradle Catholics. I’ve been Catholic (though not fully initiated as a member of the Church) since August and I know more about the religion, Traditions, and teachings than 90% of the cradle Catholics that I know personally (so I’m not taking shots at anyone here on this forum since I don’t know any of you personally). After hearing what goes on in CCD from many of them since I was in Elementary school when I didn’t even know what “Catholic” was, I’d say that the problem lies in the religious education program in general. I’d argue that the RCIA is a better program because people actually learn things and the majority of those who attend are there for the right reasons and not for the reason of “I’ve been going to CCD my whole life, so why not just finish it now” (which is the reason my local parish’s CCD class in general gives).

My RCIA program, thank God, is very good. The catechists drill it into our heads that if you don’t really want to be here, just walk out and leave. They also drill important doctrines into our head, such as Transubstantiation and other theological issues such as the symbolism in the church proper and in the Mass.

I’m not promising I’ll be a zealot. I’ll probably be very “moderate” throughout my life. I’ll try my best not to sin, I’ll pray, I’ll have faith, hope, and charity, and I’ll work on my relationship with God but I won’t be extremely religious. I don’t plan to be a Saint (in the sense of canonization), but rather a saint (in the sense of being in Heaven). I decided to join the Church not because it’s the fun thing to do, but because it’s the right thing to do.

Also, don’t worry, I’ve heard the anti-lax Catholic tangent in my RCIA class.

I am currently attending RCIA and have went to every Mass but 2 since then ( 2 I missed I was ill). I have been in different cities with my daughters cheer team, I also work NFL football games and I will find a parish in that particular city and go…I too WANT to accept the Eucharist soooooo bad…but know from my teachings that I can not participate at this time…

I personally think it is a good thing to make one wait…it makes it that much more special to our human selves when we are able to accept the Eucharist.

Bottom line is no it is not a sin yet…but I would encourage you to attend Mass every chance you get!

I do have a follow up question for the “seasoned veterans” on here…like I stated above I attend Mass and when it is time for the accepting of the Eucharist I walk up with everyone else and get a blessing from the priest or one of the Eucharist ministers…

My question would be…for proper “church etiquette” for lack of a better term, is it OK for me to continue to get blessed or just to remain back and not go up at all?

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