Going to Mass for the first time, what to expect?

I’m a former Anglican and I’m wanting to become Catholic. I contacted my local Parish and the RCIA doesn’t start for another year but I thought in the mean time I could attend mass.
Someone from the Parish is going to call me in a few days but I wanted to know if anyone on here has any advice for attending the mass for the first time.
I want to go along to the earliest Sunday service. I know I can’t have the Eucharist, so I guess I just remain seated when everyone else goes up?
Anything else I should know or do and not do?
Thank you

What someone told me the first time I attended Mass was: sit when everyone else sits, stand when they stand, kneel when they kneel. When it comes time for Communion, you can remain in your seat OR you may cross your arms over your chest and get in line with everyone else and the priest will give you a blessing rather than Communion. :slight_smile: Do whatever you are most comfortable with! You may bless yourself with the holy water when entering and leaving the church as well.

Here is a link that will help give you more insight as to how Mass goes and what to expect:

I hope that helps! :slight_smile:

I agree with all said, except that I wouldn’t recommend going up for the cross-armed blessing – unless you are sure you are going to the priest. Lay distributors of Holy Communion aren’t able to give blessings (some will try!). Besides, everyone gets the priest’s blessing at the close of Mass, so it’s kinda redundant.

I’m so glad you are making this step! Listen carefully to the words at Mass, and try to listen for how everything relates to the love story of God and His people that is told throughout the Bible.

I would inquire at another Parish. Most Parishes are starting up their RCIA classes right now. This sunday will be our second class. You could still join up this year if you were interested in taking those classes (keeping in mind there is no obligations until the very end, you simply inquire for as long as you want/need).

See post # 4. Also, if no other parishes around ask the parish priest for private sessions. You do not have to be in a " class." :thumbsup:

Not much besides Communion is too problematic. We sit for the first two readings, but the Gospel reading (read by the priest), we stand for.

The Rector at the Cathedral in Whitehorse told a story of his visit to England that may give you an idea. He and a few other priests went to mass one Sunday morning and discovered 3/4 of the way thru that they were in an Anglican not Catholic church. Much of what you see and hear will indeed be the same.

As for communion, you can go up and be blessed - just cross your arms over your chest as you approach the priest, this will let him know you are not to recieve communion but wish a blessing which he will give.

Hi Gemma,

If you were an Anglican that attended a solemn Holy Communion on a regular basis the Mass is not much different then you would have already experienced. Enjoy the service.

I’d suggest for your 1st time sit quietly and observe, open your heart and ask the Holy Spirit in and revel in being home at last. I’d not worry too much about following along with all the motions or postures. I would hate for you to get so caught up in gestures that you miss the real meaning of Mass.

The only things I’d suggest being alert for is reciting the Our Father (Lord’s Prayer) out loud, as Catholics shorten it a bit. If you’re praying it out loud and keep going after everyone else has stopped it might be embarrassing for you:

Our Father who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil. Catholics stop here!

Welcome!!! :bounce:

You can do everything except receiving the Holy Eucharist. Yet I like the advice above: let your mind be focused on Christ offering Himself to God and giving Himself to His disciples. Let yourself be truly guided by the Holy Spirit, absorbing everything you see and feel, and offering yourself to the Father along with Christ.

An advice: spiritual communion. When you remain seated, you may follow this prayer and ask the Lord to visit you spiritually. Then you may close your eyes and adore the Lord in your heart as if you had just received the Eucharist. The Lord never denies His visit to those who long to receive Him.

It is God’s grace that is calling you to unity in the faith. And, wonderful that you are responding to that grace. Amen! Please consider getting a copy of Catholicism for Dummies, written by two very well educated Priests. It is a great resource that you will rely upon for years to come. Many RCIA programmes use it. I learn something each time I open my copy.

Going up for a blessing during communion is not done everywhere. In our diocese the priests were asked not to give blessings during communion. So it is best to see what the custom is in the parish or diocese. It might be embarrassing to go up for a blessing only to have the priest just stand there or try to give you communion.

About blessing during Communion, ewtn.com/library/liturgy/zlitur263.htm.

neither the Rite of Blessings nor the Roman Missal envisions this practice

the Holy See is tending toward a negative view of the practice

  1. The liturgical blessing of the Holy Mass is properly given to each and to all at the conclusion of the Mass, just a few moments subsequent to the distribution of Holy Communion.
  1. Lay people, within the context of Holy Mass, are unable to confer blessings. These blessings, rather, are the competence of the priest
  1. Furthermore, the laying on of a hand or hands — which has its own sacramental significance, inappropriate here — by those distributing Holy Communion, in substitution for its reception, is to be explicitly discouraged.

So just stay in your place, at the presence of the Lord, and through an act of Spiritual Communion you can be sure that the source of all blessings will bless you personally.

It is important to know that not every church does this, nor should they!

Well, we stop there for the Priest to say, “Deliver us Lord from every evil and grant us peace in our day. Keep us free from sin and protect us from all fear and anxiety.”

The congregation then says, “For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.”

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Well, I know that…I was just trying to warn the OP so that he isn’t saying “For thine is the kingdom, etc, etc.” while the priest is saying “Deliver us Lord from every evil, etc. etc.”

It can be embarrassing and make a visitor feel even more awkward and out of place than they probably already do.

I just didn’t want the OP to be confused. Catholics don’t cut out a verse or something like that. We simply interject a prayer in there.

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Well, I suppose it could be mentioned that the Lord’s Prayer really does stop after “deliver us from evil.” That’s the prayer given to us by Jesus. “For thine is the kingdom…” is a beautiful doxology, but it’s not in the Bible.

The other awkward one - when the priest says “let us offer each other the sign of peace,” people really DO use the proper greeting in Catholic churches. The greeting when shaking hands at this point is “Peace be with you”, or just “Peace.”

Thank you everyone for the advice. I’ve watched a broadcast of Mass on the TV and its similar to Anglican communion so I think I’ll be alright.
I’ve contacted another church that’s not to far away about their RCIA program. It starts at the end of October so It would be good if I can join in that one.

Also, I just want to ask, is Sunday morning the best time for Mass (for someone new to it) or do you think I should first go on Saturday or during the week?

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