Hello! I have become increasingly interested in the Catholic Church - I’ve been reading alot of Catholic material online, as well as Keating and Hahn’s books from my library. I decided to visit my local Catholic church yesterday (not during mass) just to check it out. No one was there and the church was BEAUTIFUL (stainglass, wooden pews, candles, etc.) but I felt a bit awkward.
I’m not sure if this is the right forum … but I have some etiquette questions.
When do you cross yourself when you enter a church? Do you dip your fingers in the holy water on the way in, the way out, or both? May a not-yet-Catholic make use of the holy water?
When, where, and how do you genuflect?
From some guesswork, I assume that when the candle next to the tabernacle is lit, the host is present. How should I behave if I were to stand before the tabernacle? Cross myself? Genuflect? Kneel? Pray? Which prayer?
Is it ok to just sit in a pew and pray? Is it ok to just come in and use the kneeling bench? What is the etiquette?
I haven’t gotten my courage up enough to talk with a priest yet, but it felt really nice to slip into the Church and just pray for a while. I realized that while I feel have a very deep familiarity with the teachings and doctrine of the Catholic Church, I don’t know ANYTHING about etiquette. I know what to believe, but not how to behave!
Many thanks to anyone who can help! I’m sure I’ll have more questions.