I went to Mass!


#1

So, since this forum is where I first really began my serious investigation of Catholicism, I thought I would tell you all I actually managed to go to Mass today. :slight_smile: It was very good! I must confess I was a little unsure what to do at times, and I didn’t have all the responses memorized, but I don’t think I did or said anything too shocking. :slight_smile:

Well, I noticed that people were crossing themselves upon entering the chapel, but I wasn’t really sure how to do it right, so I just walked in and sat down. Some people did some sort of kneeling thing in the aisle too, and I wasn’t really sure what that was supposed to be. Anyway, no one looked at me weird when I just came in and sat down. :slight_smile: I saw one of my friends from Basic (who’s in another unit now) there, so I went over and sat down by him. He showed me the Missal book with the appropriate section for today, which definitely helped keep me from becoming too lost. When it came time for the Creed, I had to fumble through the book for it, as I don’t have it memorized (in my experience, most evangelical Protestant churches don’t say either the Nicean or Apostle’s Creeds). Still, I managed to find it before they were completely finished!

I was impressed by the amount of Scripture that was read. Most Protestant ministers I have heard usually read a very short segment of Scripture and then talk about something related to it. I thought it was especially timely for me that the readings were from Isaiah 22 and Matthew 16, which speak of “the keys” and authority.

When it came time for the Eucharist, I was planning to just remain seated, but my friend told me I could cross my arms when I approached the priest and receive a blessing instead. So, I did that. Was this an acceptable action? I’ve heard of people doing this if they were not ready to receive the Eucharist due to unconfessed mortal sins, but I wasn’t sure how that applied to non-Catholics.

Before the Mass was over, the priest/chaplain told us that there were RCIA classes after Mass (though not this week). I have been planning to go when I get back to the U.S., but it appears I can go here as well. I’m not sure how often I’ll get a chance to go, and I’ll still want to go when I get back, but I figure it will be a good opportunity for learning.

So, that was my first Mass experience. My friend told me it was shorter than a normal Mass (we didn’t do any singing and the homily was short), but I guess that’s life in a combat zone. It was a very good experience, though, and I look forward to going again.

I honestly didn’t come away with any objections to what was said or done. I can see how a laymen in the pews could mindlessly mouth the responses and not have them mean anything, but I guess that’s not any different than a Protestant sitting in the pew and zoning out during the sermon. When one speaks the words wholeheartedly, however, they are a wonderful confession of faith. I also noticed a far more reverent attitude in the chapel. As soon as I entered, it felt different. I’m used to going to churches where, as I walk in, the worship band is playing loud, energetic music and people are talking to each other about all kinds of things. I’m not saying this is bad, but I definitely appreciated the quiet, respectful attitude of worship in the chapel, even before the priest arrived.

God Bless!


#2

Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you had a good experience.
I don’t know if the chapel you were at had a holy water font, but often Catholics will dip their fingers into the holy water and make the sign of the cross (forehead, chest, left shoulder, right shoulder). It’s a reminder of our baptism.
The “kneeling thing” you described was probably genuflecting. It’s a gesture of respect for the Eucharist. We will get down on our right knee, facing the tabernacle, and cross ourselves before we enter the pew.
You certainly can go up and get a blessing. It’s acceptable for anyone who can’t receive the Eucharist, as long as the chapel allows it. At our church, non-Catholics, young children, and people who can only go to Mass right after they eat often will get blessings.
I loved the readings for today, too.
It’s great to read your post. Too often I take the privilege of going to Mass for granted. I don’t always pay attention to what I’m saying or to what’s going on. When I do pay attention, though, there is so much meaning to be found.


#3

Congratulations! I’m excited for you. Mass really is wonderful. There’s not much more I can say, you’ve said it already.


#4

Welcome Iambic! You didn’t say it, but when Catholics enter a church (or chapel), we usually look for a holy water fount. We remember our baptism, dip our hand into the water and make the sign of the Cross. Basically, it is our acknowledgement that we are entering into the sacred. We genuflect (i.e. going down on bended knee) before entering the pew because we are acknowledging the presence of Our Lord (the Holy Eucharist is in the Tabernacle).

Your mention of Basic says to me you are in the military. :thumbsup: Thank you for your service. I also appreciate the fact that you at least tried to participate.

Yes, there is a lot of scripture read. We Catholics are accused of not knowing scripture when that is not the case. If you were to attend Mass over a three year period, you would hear the entire Bible (Old and New Testament). I can’t cite you chapter and verse, but like most of us, we have been exposed to Scripture all of our lives. Is it more important to know chapter and verse or to apply the words of Scripture to our daily lives?

You did the right thing at Communion. But you could have also stayed in the pew as well.

I am really humbled by your post. I am humbled by a lot of the posts from converts to Catholicism. We cradle Catholics take far too much for granted.

Once again, thank you for your service and I will keep you in my prayers.


#5

Thanks so much for sharing!

Maybe it’s silly, but I can’t help feeling it’s more than a coincidence that the gospel reading for your first Mass was Matthew 16:18–“Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my church.” That’s the line that converted my mother to Catholicism over sixty years ago.


#6

[quote=Kay Cee]Thanks so much for sharing!

Maybe it’s silly, but I can’t help feeling it’s more than a coincidence that the gospel reading for your first Mass was Matthew 16:18–“Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my church.” That’s the line that converted my mother to Catholicism over sixty years ago.
[/quote]

That is not silly, that is not coincidence either, it happened for a reason. So much in my life has happened for a reason that I KNOW is being controlled by Lord above. I went to a mass last year, where I had been contemplating my personal relationship with Jesus (not to the exclusion of my relationship with the rest of his body) and sure enough, the priest’s homily focused exactly on this topic. It gave me goosebumps, so I approached the priest after mass and asked for a copy of his homily, which he emailed to me.

God works in Mysterious ways.


#7

Awesome dude!!! Hey you are still in the desert? I am very glad you chose to go to mass and you know what…it gets easier to know the responses and the whole sit-kneel-stand thing the more you go… I am very happy for you. I will say a special prayer for you!
Oh btw…as a non catholic you can go up during communion for a blessing…that is perfect! Glad that they have RCIA there. I do have a question for you…What is the priests name? I am looking for a priest that is serving in the desert at the moment and I hope to find him very soon. My parish pastor is in the AF reserves and didn’t know him so I am hoping to find someone who does.

Welcome Home!!!


#8

Welcome home and my prayers are with you. I can relate so much because it was a visit to Mass that led me to absolutely fall in love with the Church. I was so impresed by the ritual, solemnity and reverence, which the Mass has all of these. I found that the Catholic Church contains the complete truth. BTW, I loved todays reading in the gospel where Jesus establishes the Papacy. Everytime I here it I think of our Pope is the sucessor of Peter.


#9

Thanks for the responses, everyone! :slight_smile: I know many of my descriptions must have sounded a bit funny to you, but I’m still learning. :slight_smile:

Grace and Glory:

Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you had a good experience.
I don’t know if the chapel you were at had a holy water font, but often Catholics will dip their fingers into the holy water and make the sign of the cross (forehead, chest, left shoulder, right shoulder). It’s a reminder of our baptism.

I don’t think we had a holy water font here. The chapel on our camp is more of a general use facility and is used by a variety of Christian groups. Thanks for your information!

The “kneeling thing” you described was probably genuflecting. It’s a gesture of respect for the Eucharist. We will get down on our right knee, facing the tabernacle, and cross ourselves before we enter the pew.

Thanks for this explanation as well. I had heard the term “genuflecting” before, but I had no idea what it meant.

brotherhrolf:

Your mention of Basic says to me you are in the military. Thank you for your service.

Yep! :slight_smile: And you are certainly welcome!

I will keep you in my prayers.

Thank you very much!

Kay Cee:

Maybe it’s silly, but I can’t help feeling it’s more than a coincidence that the gospel reading for your first Mass was Matthew 16:18–“Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my church.” That’s the line that converted my mother to Catholicism over sixty years ago.

Well, God certainly knows what He’s doing!

BlestOne:

Awesome dude!!! Hey you are still in the desert?

Yep! Although I must admit it’s not exactly a desert this close to the Tigris River. Still too dry for my tastes, though.

I

am very glad you chose to go to mass and you know what…it gets easier to know the responses and the whole sit-kneel-stand thing the more you go…

I hope so! :slight_smile:

I am very happy for you. I will say a special prayer for you!

Thanks!

I do have a question for you…What is the priests name?

Honestly, I can’t remember. He walked in the chapel door still wearing his body armor (he was running a bit late), and then he quickly threw his “priest outfit” (vestments?) on over his uniform. I didn’t catch his name. If I find out later, I’ll let you know.

Thanks again for your responses and for your enthusiasm! God Bless!


#10

Hey Iambic, that’s wonderful! You’ll be in my prayers. Thank you for your service, as well.

I think all your questions were answered already. Yes, the reverence shown by the silence before mass is great. Most of us “cradle Catholics” were taught very young that Jesus is in the Tabernacle, and we need to talk to Him when we get into our pews, not eachother.

Peace.


#11

Me too! Today’s was my second Mass. I’m glad you liked it. And, don’t worry; most people tell me they’re not judgmental of new folks who aren’t always sure what to do. I’ll add you to my prayers tonight, both for your spiritual journey and for your safety wherever you’re stationed. Hooah!


#12

Iambic and Kristina,

Welcome both of you to the Church. Weren’t the readings today great. I was the lector and I loved listening to Fr.'s homily as he tied together the old testament significance of the Keys and the passage in the Gospel where Jesus gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom. Pretty darn cool that you guys have just begun the experience of attending Mass and immediately get hit with that.

God Bless you in your continued journey.

CARose


#13

That’s great IP and Kristina! It does get easier. I love the reverence that’s in the CC. So IP, are you going to start RCIA ? :slight_smile:

(Went today to my first Byzantine CC. Very interesting. :smiley: )


#14

Dear Iambic and Kristina,
I am so happy for both of you!! With God there is no coincidence’s, He always goes before us. I will keep you both in my prayers, keep me in your’s too please. This site, the vatican web site, and ewtn are all great sites by the way. www.vatican.va and ewtn.com. I know a bunch of other’s that are great too, but that is enough for now, there is even a link to the Cathechism online, let us know if you don’t have it, we’ll post that too. Welcome Home…His wonders to behold.


#15

Hey Lambic,

Congrats on your first steps to coming home. I too just came back to the church after having been gone for 25 years.

I see you are in the Army. I retired 5 years ago after doing twenty. Good luck to you and God bless.


#16

Congrats, from another desert here in California.

I was thinking a little through the readings today, I hope somewhere out there a person is coming to Mass and hearing the readings Isaiah 22 and Matthew 16 and how it ties together. It made me want to poke the person next to me and tell them about it, just in case they didn’t get it.

God Bless
Scylla


#17

[quote=scylla]Congrats, from another desert here in California.

I was thinking a little through the readings today, I hope somewhere out there a person is coming to Mass and hearing the readings Isaiah 22 and Matthew 16 and how it ties together. It made me want to poke the person next to me and tell them about it, just in case they didn’t get it.

God Bless
Scylla
[/quote]

I soooo hoped our priest would talk bout the connection between these 2 readings during his homily…no go. No mention of how critical these passages are to the Catholic Church. Instead we got a generic ‘do I recognize Jesus’ homily. I was so disappointed because it was the perfect opportunity to teach. I was like you…I wanted so badly to let everyone know the significance of these 2 passages and why they are being read on the same day.


#18

Amen Elzee!
At least at my parish the visiting priest did a homily on Matthew, but unfortunately never mentioned or alluded to the first reading. At least we got that much at my parish, that gave me a little comfort.

God Bless
Scylla


#19

[quote=Elzee]I soooo hoped our priest would talk bout the connection between these 2 readings during his homily…no go. No mention of how critical these passages are to the Catholic Church. Instead we got a generic ‘do I recognize Jesus’ homily. I was so disappointed because it was the perfect opportunity to teach. I was like you…I wanted so badly to let everyone know the significance of these 2 passages and why they are being read on the same day.
[/quote]

Same here! My homily contained references to the sex abuse scandal, and how the gates of hell wouldn’t prevail.

Not even a hint about the papacy. I’ll have to trust God that there was someone who needed to hear the homily that was preached.

…but the thought did cross my mind to get a megaphone and start a sidewalk sermon…

Iambic,
Have you ever read a scripture/liturgy parallel? There’s more scripture in the mass than just the readings…(think Roman soldier and “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word…”). If you have never read one, I can try and find one online for you.

God Bless,
RyanL


#20

Hello Iambic, I am glad you went today. The Scripture reading were powerful. My daughter who is eight has not yet recieved enough religious formation to recieve the Eucharist also goes up with her arms crossed for a blessing. Thank you for your service to our country.


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