I Don't Want to be Phony

Hey all,

Right now when I go to mass, I pretty much do everything the Catholics do, I cross myself, sit, stand, kneel at the kneeler, and fully participate except of course, when I go to communion I go with my arms crossed.

I’m going to go through RCIA when it starts (Inquiry starts in less than 2 weeks! hurray!)…my question may be a little silly. I’ve always felt the urge to genuflect before taking my seat like the Catholics I envy so much - because I do know Who is up there at the altar. I just don’t want to be a poser, I think I’d feel sort of phony since I’m not even Catholic yet.

Any suggestions? Would it be inappopriately phony or okay? Or should I wait?



It would be great if you did that. We are genuflecting to the Real Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle.:slight_smile:

Not being “officially” Catholic yet does not mean that it is not appropriate for you to show your respect and awe at the presence of God in front of you. If you feel called to do this, and you know Who is up there, then by all means do so!!

To be honest with you, I think it would look MORE suspect if you never did any of these things, then all of a sudden you started after you were received into the Church. As an outside observer I’d wonder why it wasn’t important enough for you to be respectful while you were studying and preparing for reception into the Faith. Just my two pennies. :slight_smile:

God Bless you on your journey to the Truth!! :thumbsup:


go for it
but here is a little secret
Catholics in church aren’t paying very much attention to what other people do (we hope very much they are paying attention to the Mass). if you believe what genefluxion means–that Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle–then it is right and proper for you to do so, and to participate in Mass with responses, songs, gestures and postures as you feel so moved. Be sure to ask in the inquiry sessions the reasons for any actions you don’t understand.

Oh, and Welcome Home!
oooooh I love my job.

From a Tiber-had to wait almost 2 years- Swim Team member, I recommend starting as you intend to go on. You will not be regarded as a poser or a phoney. I did all those things before I was finally accepted into the Church except that I remained in my pew at Communion. They did not practice going up with arms crossed for a blessing when I was in RCIA.

When I was finally Baptised and Confirmed, going up for Communion was just so awesome, words fail to describe.

Instead of separating yourself as ‘not yet a Catholic’, consider yourself Catholic now in everything except the final initiation and practice the Faith as it is taught.

The Lord Jesus Christ is present in the Tabernacle to all who are present - even those who do not believe. It is only fitting and appropriate to genuflect before our Lord.

Christ’s peace and bless you on your journey.

Its interesting how we doubt differently given the same circumstances - it never occured to me to question genuflecting, but I did question whether I should be crossing myself with holy water at the entrance and exit - since it is supposed to remind us of our baptism, and I hadn’t been yet, I always wondered.

Here is the general principle I tried to follow: If you find yourself only doing something to avoid getting funny looks from the rest of the congregation, then you probably shouldn’t. If you have a desire within you to give God His due despite what people may think, then you probably should. Anything between those two is worth reflecting on before the blessed sacrament.

Hope that helps, God bless.

Thanks guys. All the posts have been helpful. I think I’ll just do what I want to (except take communion, for which I have to wait forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever) :stuck_out_tongue:

Golly, do I remember that! It was sheer torture sometimes staying in the pew. Nowadays, our RCIA candidates and catechumens leave after the Liturgy of the Word and go to the hall for their course so they do not have to undergo the pain of not being able to receive.

I sure wish I had known about a Spiritual Communion at the time. I recommend this.

Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You.

God Bless you.

Since deciding to convert last January I’ve struggled with similar issues.

I won’t be a full member of the church until at least next Easter. Yet my commitment is today in real time. If I am going to be a Catholic then the first step would seem to be adopting a Catholic lifestyle. Thus I started by taking up saying the Rosary daily and attending Mass 3 times a week months ago.

The Mass is entirely different from any worship service I have ever attended. I knew almost nothing about it at first and nobody really seemed interested in helping me understand it. I didn’t even know what the Holy Water Font was.

It hasn’t been easy. My solution has been to adopt what I can as I learn what each action means or am comfortable with that. Genuflecting at the pew came pretty early, as did crossing myself as I enter or leave the sanctuary.

Even now I do not have the Liturgy of the Eucharist memorized and can’t really participate in that part of the service. I just stand there respectfully and try to hear what is being recited and commit it to memory. As I become more comfortable that I understand each part I participate more fully.

As far as I can tell other folks don’t really care or notice. Oh I’m sure they would recognize me in a ‘oh yeah he’s been coming for months and doesn’t take communion’ sort of way, but the flip side of the ‘nobody is welcoming me’ coin is that ‘nobody is bothering me either’.

I arrive early for Mass and try to get in a good state of mind before the service starts and pray to be open and for God to help me get what I can out of each service. I believe that has helped me be less self-conscious than I might normally be and less worried about being phony or perceived as such by others.

Most churches in the States have a booklet called a Missalette which is freely available, usually picked up as you enter the church or in the pocket in the pews. You may want to ask someone to help you with it initially because following it is a little confusing to beginners. I know I needed some help with it.

This has all the readings for the day, plus the prayers used in the different parts of the Liturgy so you can follow along, including the responses of the laity.

If you are really keen, you can purchase the Daily Missal and the Sunday Missal but these really require someone to show you how to use them.

I joined the parish’s Charismatic Prayer Group before I was baptised. My MIL had introduced me to this movement and indeed, I really needed the help they gave me. I used to mess around with the occult before God touched me and I needed deliverance. Anyway, this is a way to get to know your fellow parishioners in a smaller setting. I found their support invaluable in my long nearly 2 year wait. Looking back, it doesn’t seem like it was so long anymore. They quite rightly moved my focus from my Baptism to my on-going life with Christ. Focusing on Baptism is like focusing only on the wedding and giving little thought to the marriage.

If a prayer group does not appeal to you, there are usually several other organisations, like the St. Vincent de Paul Society, which helps the poor and disadvantaged. Check in the bulletin for what groups meet when.

Christ’s peace

Thanks everyone.

I went to Sat Vigil this evening and freely and joyfully genuflected and crossed myself to my heart’s content. And you’re right. Nobody gives a flip. They prolly don’t even know I’m not Catholic. :smiley:

I really should have linked this book in my earlier post. It has been very helpful for me and after I gave it to my RCIA director she said she may use it for the program in the future.

It is called “The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You”, and it has been a huge help to me in understanding exactly what is going on during Mass. It is short, easy to read and explains each part of the Mass.

Ever wonder why the readings during Mass sometimes differ slightly from what’s in your Bible? Or why some candles are lit sometimes and not at others? That book does a decent job of explaining these sorts of question and explaining the sources of those and other practices like crossing, genuflecting. Ever notice that folks do a mini cross on their forehead, lips and heart as the Gospel reading starts? Its in there.

I got a used copy through Amazon for something under $10 including shipping.

By all means, genuflect. It does not draw attention to you, but rather acknowledges the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist in the tabernacle.
Prayers & blessings
Deacon Ed B

I have felt to the Catholic church because of her theology. I have no idea what to do at Mass. I went last week and tried to follow everyone else but I don’t even know how to cross myself or genuflect correctly (well, I get the gist of it but I try to be very precise-my husband calls it being “anal”). I don’t want to be a phony either but neither do I wish to offend.

When with Roman Catholics, do as Roman Catholics. The best way to learn is to practice. I see nothing phony about giving reverence to our Lord Jesus who is present in the Eucharist located inside the tabernacle of every Roman Catholic Church on earth. Aside from the RCIA that is strickly academic and not very spirit filled, I would recommend you look for a Charismatic Catholic Church where you can enroll in an Alpha or Encounter course that has praise and worship music along with spirit filled lectures from gifted Catholic speakers. This will help you better understand the Catholic Faith and also develop a personal relationship with Jesus.

I suggest you buy a book which will explain the mass, because it is different from all other “services”, save the Eastern Orthodox.

Mass Appeal by Jimmy Akin would be an excellent start. In only 32 pages, this most excellent Catholic apologist explains exactly what is happening, as well as why. It is $2.95! Check for a local Catholic bookstore as they will very likely have it on the shelf. Or, you can order it right here:


You are blessed in that you have yielded to the Holy Spirit, Who alone has called you to the one true church. Praise God!

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