Inviting non Catholics to mass


I was wondering if it is okay to invite non Catholics to attend a mass. I know Catholics aren’t suppose to attend others church. So is there anything in Canon law that say we can’t invite non Catholics to mass. I don’t want to offend Jesus if I did


It is perfectly fine to invite non-Catholics to Mass. They aren’t to receive Communion, though.


When I was considering becoming a Catholic I had to go to my first Mass (as an adult) by myself. I subsequently went to Mass as a non Catholic for over a year. It would have been nice if some Catholic had invited me to attend Mass with them. As long as the non Catholic is fairly respectful and doesn’t take Communion there shouldn’t be a problem.

That said, as Catholics we are allowed to attend Protestant services as long as we don’t take Communion. If it is stated in Canon Law otherwise please let me know as it will solve several family “discussions.”:wink:


Of course! And invite your non-Catholic friends to receive a blessing, by crossing their arms across their chest.


Protestants being exposed to Catholic worship is a good thing.

As to the reverse:

More exactly, we cannot participate in any way that would imply communion with them (St. Alphonsus, Moral Theology, Book 5, Tract. 1, Ch. 3; cf. Vatican II’s Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches, para. 26).


Well I did a search and apparently canon law 1365 can be used stops us from going to a Protestant service. I would tell you to look at it for yourself because I could be wrong. I also found this.

In the first place a Catholic has no business attending Protestant church services even occasionally. To participate in a heretical worship service and especially a communion service can be sinful for a Catholic because such an act is an affirmation of what we believe to be untrue.

To attend an ecumenical service or a wedding or baptism is allowed, but Catholics are not allowed to attend such churches for the main reason of worship.

Now if there are no Catholic churches in the vicinity on a Sunday, Catholics are allowed to participate in the Liturgy of Churches whose clergy are validly ordained such as the Eastern Orthodox Churches—including the reception of the Eucharist.

Although we consider them to be in schism (not in union with the Pope) with the Catholic Church, such Churches are not heretical and share our basic beliefs.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

As sympathetic as I feel toward your situation, and to some extent I do understand that situation as I am a single woman who is 40, what you suggest is treating the holy sacrifice of Christ in the Mass as a duty to be crossed off a Catholic To-Do List while these Protestant services would be where you would “really” worship Christ and hang out with people you like more than you do your fellow Catholics. I am sorry to have to put that so bluntly, but you must understand the gravity of what you are proposing.

Besides the fact that the awesome privilege of being near Christ himself in his unbloody sacrifice re-presented in time and space is not just a dull obligation that you must seek to “enliven” with “praise and worship” services elsewhere, regular attendance at Protestant services is both a scandal to others and a grave threat to your own faith. You will be listening on a regular basis to flawed presentations of the gospel of Christ, and you will be interacting with people who will be encouraging you to abandon your Catholic faith. And, given your own flawed understanding of the Mass demonstrated in your question, you evidently will be vulnerable to such suasion to leave the Church.

Bottom line: No, Catholics cannot attend Protestant services when they are doing so because they find the Catholic Mass and those who attend it to be “unwelcoming.”

As I said though, I do sympathize with you. Perhaps you could call your archdiocese and ask what kind of services and ministries are available to older Catholic singles in your area. If there are none, perhaps you could use some of the free time you wanted to fill with participation in established groups to put together a program of your own for older Catholic singles to propose to your pastor and/or your archdiocese. You might also ask your archdiocese if there are any third order groups for lay Catholics in your area. If there are, perhaps you might try to discern if you have a vocation to one of them.


I would like to point out as per instructions of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments

“In a similar way, for others who are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in accord with the norm of law, the Church’s discipline has already made clear that they should not approach Holy Communion nor receive a blessing. This would include non-Catholics and those envisaged in can. 915 (i.e., those under the penalty of excommunication or interdict, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin).”

I would take the opportunity to explain to them what it means to receive communion and why the church has its rules governing reception.:thumbsup:


I go to Evangelical services frequently. They are very entertaining if not theologically deep or accurate.

I hold my girlfriend’s hand, pray with her, enjoy the band and sometimes quietly pray the rosary. I excuse myself to the coffee bar when they have a baptism or partake in the Lord’s Supper.



I don’t think he’ll mind a guest or two.


Interesting! I hadn’t heard of this before. At our church and many others, all are welcome to receive a blessing in this fashion if they desire one. Indeed, the nun that organizes our parish at RCIA has encouraged us to take part if we have the opportunity.


I prayed Vespers and chanted the litany of the saints with my girlfriend this evening. For the life of me I can’t understand why a Catholic would date a non-Catholic.


I am glad you excuse yourself to the coffee bar during those events, but you are a Catholic. I would highly discourage you from going to a non-Catholic church. If you want, you can get involved in a local Catholic church’s bible study group, or any other activities. But you should not be attending an Evangelical church.


It can awkward inviting a non Catholic to Mass and then refusing to set foot in a Protestant church. I went with my elderly mother to her Baptist church a few times until a pastor made anti-Catholic comments. My mother doesn’t drive so I informed her I would just drop her off and stay in the car. I went with her to a Memorial Service for a friend and that went okay.

So I have returned to my policy of not attending Protestant services except for funerals and memorial services.:shrug:


Mass can never be substituted with a Protestant service simply because it can’t. Protestant service’s are not Mass because the gift of the Eucharist and an ordained priesthood is missing. However, if a Catholic goes to Mass on Sunday and wants to attend a Protestant service there shouldn’t be a problem. The problems arise when one is not grounded in Catholicism and is looking for the “good feeling” church. Then perhaps one can be swayed and that can be dangerous.

Now, inviting a non Catholic to Mass is exactly what Jesus did at the Last Supper. The Jewish apostles went to the first Mass to be transformed and to see this magnificent gift of Jesus in the institution of the Eucharist and their being ordained. Mass is transforming and we need to invite all who are willing to attend. Yes, since they are not in communion with us they cannot receive the Eucharist but they can still receive the actual graces of the sacrament since the Eucharist is Christ Himself.

The word Catholic means universal since Christianity calls all to Christ and the fullness of truth in His Church. Please invite all to come as we all should. This is evangelization at its finest.


We’ll tell that to my parish priest. Children who haven’t been baptised/ christened can receive a blessing in my church.

My son and daughter have had friends staying at the weekend, they have come to mass on Sunday with us, they like it very much. I know they rant catholic, but it doesn’t matter what they are. They come and get a blessing of the priest.


In my opinion, which counts for nothing of course, it is the NON-Catholics who are in most desperate need of a blessing.

In response to the OP, YES, yes, yes, invite non-Catholics to Mass! JESUS is there, Truly Present, and surely, we Catholics should love bringing our friends and loved ones to Jesus, just as Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus.

Be aware that many Protestants have obligations at their own Protestant churches (play piano, sing in the choir, take turns working in the nursery, teaching Sunday school, youth group sponsor, etc.) and they may not be able to get away in order to attend Mass with you. So use some strategy–find out what time they attend their church, and then several weeks later, invite them to come to a Mass with you when they aren’t at their own church. :thumbsup:

I think this simple strategy could make all the difference in getting a positive response to your invitation to Mass. Many Protestants are very curious about what goes on at a Mass, and they would love to go with you.

Also, I know that some Catholics think that it would be best for Protestants to attend the Latin Mass rather than a Mass that looks like their own Protestant church worship service. I strongly disagree, at least when it comes to Evangelical Protestants. Yes, of course there are exceptions, but I think that most Evangelical Protestants would be strongly turned OFF to Catholicism by the Latin Mass. The OF of the Mass is confusing enough for Evangelical Protestants, most of whom have never experienced any kind of liturgical worship in their lives, other than reading the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father) once or twice a year, usually on “Founder’s Day” or “Rally Day” or some other occasion in which their “old-fashioned church history” is celebrated.

If you invite a non-Catholic to Mass, be prepared to explain things. I would recommend getting that great little booklet, “Mass Appeal” which was written by Jimmy Akin and handing it to your non-Catholic friends who attend Mass with you.

God bless you for bringing people to Jesus at Mass! They will thank you for all eternity!


I have an Anglican/Charismatic buddy who has been coming to a weekday Mass with me about once week for the last couple years. He just stays in the pew at communion time.


In the first place a Catholic has no business attending Protestant church services even occasionally. To participate in a heretical worship service and especially a communion service can be sinful for a Catholic because such an act is an affirmation of what we believe to be untrue.

Which is why I would never go to a Roman Catholic service. I have no business there.


I found attending other denominations to be a great means of disabusing our separated brothers and sisters in Christ of misunderstandings they may have of the Catholic Church. Accepting invitations to their worship services makes it easier for them to accept invitations to the Mass.
Yes, it is allowable to attend services with our separated brothers and sisters in Christ. Tim is following the criteria. We may not partake in their “communion services.” As Catholics, we must first attend Mass. Our non-Catholic brothers and sisters may not receive the Eucharist when they attend Mass with us.
I have heard the prayers for the conversion of Catholics when attending the Assembly of God services. Speaking of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, they were amazed that was what Catholics believed.
I attended services at the other denominations with full knowledge and blessings of my parish priest. As with all things, we are called to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Knowledge of what the Catholic Church teaches keeps us aware of the theological shortcomings, “the lack of depth” and inaccuracies when we do go to other services.


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