I am a Muslim, but have great respect for what I have learned about the Catholic faith throughout my time at a Roman Catholic school. Since I often go to school early, I thought I’d visit the school chapel to quietly reflect this morning. To my surprise, when I walked in, a few of our religion teachers were doing a morning prayer. I was pretty embarrassed since they all knew I was not Catholic and were most likely quite perplexed as to why I was there. Although I stayed for a while, long after they’d left, I feel as if it was wrong of me to go, that I may be intruding into a sacred place for them during a sacred time with a large elephant in the room which is that I am not Catholic. I am now confused about whether or not I should continue to go. Should I keep showing up?
Everyone is welcome in our churches and chapels, as long as they are reverent and respectful, and it sounds like you are being very reverent and respectful. It is not wrong in any way for you to reflect in a Catholic chapel or even attend a Catholic Mass or other service, as long as you don’t receive Holy Communion.
It is none of your teachers’ business why you are in there (assuming you’re not breaking a school rule like going into chapel when you’re supposed to be somewhere else), and I doubt they were bothered by it beyond just perhaps taking notice of your presence. Perhaps if they see you in there again they might invite you to join them in prayer. If that happened you could do so or you could politely refuse, either option is okay.
I know you probably just feel self-conscious because I would if I were in a Muslim mosque.
But it’s 100% okay for you to be there.
If it makes you feel any better I have seen homeless come into churches just to rest or sometimes sleep…they’re usually allowed to stay as long as they don’t vandalize or disrupt anything. So if they can come in to take a nap then you can certainly come in to reflect
Please keep showing up. Its quite ok for you to do this. The Chapel is a house of God, you are a child and creation of God.
I do not disagree with anyone that’s responded before me, but since you say this is a school chapel, they may view it as a more private space than a regular church or public chapel (and I’m not saying they’re right to do so, just that it may be their opinion). You may wish to just touch base with one of these teachers and make sure that they didn’t intend this as some kind of preparatory prayer time for the staff - again, not likely, but no harm in asking them (as they will certainly know better than any of us), and that should help alleviate any perceived awkwardness.
Keep going. They might ask you to join, or politely not ask you. The intent being to avoid “scaring you off”. Go when you’re able, if anything is off, someone will let you know. Because you went, and nobody reacted, It should be good.
I know in the church I visit, they have the side chapel with a tabernacle as well as he main sanctuary. After the mass, I like to sit in the sanctuary for a while after everyone has left. Front row center. Quiet, peaceful silence,…mostly. I did ask the priest if that was ok to do. He said yes, but people might wonder why you’re in there still. The quiet, the smell of the candles after being put out, and the presence is a comfort to me.
No one has said anything about me sitting there. One lady walked through to retrieve an item, quietly saying good morning on the way by. Thats it.
I stick out a bit. Always wear black, and look like Anton LaVey but younger. (Look him up if you like, a little disturbing for some) The large silver Agnus Dei medal gives me away though.
As-salāmu ʿalaykum, brother.
Muslim puritans would say that you should not visit a Christian chapel at all, especially one that contains images of saints. I would suggest that you can visit, provided your intention is to spend time alone with the Exalted, and to remember His abiding presence. It may be, of course, that you are thinking of becoming a Catholic, and that visiting the chapel is your first step along that path. If this is the case, then you are obliged to learn as much as you can about what the Church has to say, and to follow your conscience. You would need to speak with a priest, and to get sound teaching and advice.
May the Exalted guide you along the path He has chosen for you - whatever that may be. And may He keep you close to Himself.
The Catechism tells Catholics:
" 841 The Church’s relationship with the Muslims . "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day."
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