First Time Attending Mass... Help!


Hello all!

I am a Christian who was raised Baptist, but I suppose now I’d have to say I’m non-denominational.
I have accepted a position at a local Catholic school, and I’m supposed to attend a special Mass service for all employees this coming Monday (three days from now). I respect the Catholic faith, and though I disagree with certain points of doctrine, I don’t want to seem disrespectful or ignorant to my coworkers and superiors. Can anyone give me tips on what to expect? My specific concern is my differences in belief over the Virgin Mary. I do not believe in praying to/in the name of Mary (e.g. The “Hail Mary”) and honestly I believe it is wrong to pray this. Since I don’t know what to expect during Mass, I’m concerned that I might be put in a situation where this belief will be exposed/challenged. Can someone inform me if any problems would arise in this area? Will it be extremely disrespectful of me to not participate?
The last thing I want to do is offend anyone, so any help would be greatly appreciated!


sit, stand & kneel when everyone else does

listen to readings & pray the prayers aloud you are comfortable with

please; don’t take communion


Ask someone from the school to sit with you during Mass and perhaps even explain it beforehand. I’m sure they will be happy to help!

Also, if you have cable TV, maybe try watching a Catholic Mass on EWTN.



Mary might be mentioned as an intercessor in the
Confiteor and the Eucharistic Prayer II and that’s about it unless it is on one of the Virgin’s feast days than there is more. Just don’t say the parts and it shouldn’t be a problem.


I would also say don’t kneel if you’re not comfortable with it. I’m non-denominational and don’t kneel when I go to mass with my wife.


That’s the key. Since you haven’t been to a Mass before, keep an eye on someone else in the pews that looks like they have been there before. A nun might be a good choice.

Just do as they do, stand, sit or kneel, you should be good to go. Particularly since you are a teacher in a Catholic school, you should already be aware that the Catholic Church is “closed communion”, you are expected to stay put when Catholics approach theater.


You should stand when others stand and sit when others sit. You’ll need to shake hands during the sign of peace. Kneel if you feel comfortable. Otherwise, keep your head bowed reverently. Also, you shouldn’t receive Holy Communion. So you should remain seated and let others pass. I’d like to tell you a bit more about the communion of the saints. Praying to a saint is the same as asking an earthly friend to pray for you. As for the Hail Mary, remember that in the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel greeted the Blessed Mother by saying hail, highly favored one. And St. Elizabeth greeted the Blessed Mother with great reverence. We pray in the name of Jesus. We ask Mary to pray for us. I hope this helps. May you be blessed by attending Holy Mass.


You don’t have to pray any of the prayers you don’t want to.

There will probably come a point in the Mass when everyone shakes hands with each other (the Pax). Just so you aren’t caught off guard. As folks have said, please don’t receive communion. You can just stay in the pew.

Good luck.


Thank you so much for your answer! I am curious as to why it is closed communion… at my church, communion is open to all believers, although my Pastor always begins with 1 Corinthians 11:26-29, which warns against taking communion in unworthiness.
Personally, I see it as a needed moment of self-examination, repentance, and reverence for the sacrifice that Jesus made for me.
I can easily observe the meaning of the moment on a personal level, without taking the Eucharist so that is not a problem. I am just wondering if it is the fact I may not fully understand the act of receiving communion and therefore “eat and drink to the judgement of my soul” (as stated in 1 Cor. 11) or is it simply that I am not a Catholic?


in the catholic faith; non-catholics are not supposed to take communion

so don’t do it…

if you want communion; consider rcia


Thank you for your reply! I understand and respect your opinion, but may I humbly ask… based on the above, how do you view 1 Timothy 2:5 which states “there is but one mediator between God and man”?


Catholics believe that the Eucharist is literally the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ and that the Mass is a re-representation of Christ’s death on Calvary (note that the Mass doesn’t “kill” Christ again. Rather one is transported back in time to the one and only sacrifice of Christ on the cross).

Those who don’t believe this are asked to abstain from Communion since they would be partaking of something they don’t believe in.


are you challenging catholic magesterium or attempting to “quietly sit” @ at a catholic mass as a condition of your employment?

i smell a troll here


No, this isn’t a troll. This is a person who is respectfully asking about aspects of the Catholic faith. :grinning:

I don’t get the troll vibe at all.


I am attempting to have a respectful and open dialogue about the tenets of a faith I see as very similar to mine and yet very different. I feel it is necessary to understand and explore a faith that I am going to be very involved with, beginning this week. I have not said anything harsh or condecending, and I’m only asking to see what you believe. I believe that we are brothers and sisters through Christ and that everyone, regardless of belief, should be treated with the same unconditional love of Christ. I’m sorry if I have offended you or anyone else.


Because the poster has probably never been to a Mass and doesn’t want to do anything potentially disrespectful. I can respect the OP for that. If I was going to a Jewish “service” (what are they called?) I would ask them what goes on.


This is exactly the case, thank you for respecting my questioning. The reason I came to this site is so that I could gain the information respectfully, instead of risking offending the people that I will be working with.


Why shouldn’t he have questions? That’s what forums are for.


We read the passage in context. Christ is the unique mediator being God himself yes. However that does not exclude intercession of saints as they are united with Christ and share in his work. In the same letter, 2:1 St Paul asks his audience for prayers and intercessions.

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