Non Catholics attending Mass

I am a non Catholic. However, since my granddaughter attends a Catholic school I attend Mass with her on occasion. In which parts of the Mass am I permitted to participate? Can I use holy water and make the sign of the cross? I know that I cannot take communion. Can I use a rosary? I really enjoy Mass, but don’t want to do anything that could cause problems. Thank you!

you can do anything and every thing you are comfortable doing, except of course recieve Communion

Outside of receiving the Eucharist, you can do anything else (that is done in the mass) that you’re comfortable with.

I don’t think it’s that common for people to have rosaries at Mass anymore though. From what I’ve heard, it was originally done by the laity during the old Mass (now commonly called the TLM or Extraordinary Form) as a devotion because they didn’t really know what was going on in the Mass (besides the occasional ringing of bells).

The answers above are right. You can do anything at Mass – up to and including receiving ashes on Ash Wednesday and palms on Palm Sunday – with two exceptions: receiving the Eucharist, unless and until you are in communion with the Church; and serving in certain liturgical roles such as doing one of the readings. (A couple of people have posted on here saying that they are non-Catholics but have gone to Mass so often that they’ve been asked to do a reading, and is it permitted. No, except by approval of the bishop.)

Thanks for asking! We really do appreciate your thoughtfulness and respect!

For years my father attended Mass with our family even though he wasn’t baptized. He participated in the liturgy in every way except for the reception of the sacraments. He was always the first one to volunteer for parish projects and to do the cooking at parish picnics. He was so active in the parish that the priest asked him to consider sitting on the parish council. Father was shocked to hear that my father wasn’t even baptized at the time. My father eventually was baptized and now finds one of his greatest joys is not only attending mass, but participating in it in every possible way with all of his family.

Welcome to the forums. May the Lord bless you for demonstrating your faith to your granddaughter. She, in turn, is blessed to have such a caring grandparent as yourself. Since the mass is a new form of liturgical celebration to you, here is a link to the scriptural basis of the mass:

May Christ’s peace be with you.

Welcome !

Think of the rosary as a guided tour of the life of Jesus. May I suggest the book “The Lambs Supper” by Scott Hahn.

Welcome Grandma!

We love having guests at our celebration. I have to tell you that every year we receive new Catholics into the fold - even people of the grandparent generation. By going to a kid’s Mass at the school, you should learn many of our rituals and traditions on a simpler level.

You basically cannot receive any of the 6 Sacraments until you are Baptized and received into the Church. I’m not sure if you are a Baptized Christian of another denomination, but then you would also have to be received into the Church before receiving the other Sacraments. Most of the other Sacraments you do not have to worry with because they happen only on special occassions. The two ones you will come across more commonly are Communion/Eucharist and Confession.

Everything else outside the Sacraments, you are free to partake in.

What a loving and thoughtful Grandma you are! Please partake in all of the Church’s wonderful customs (holy water, crossing yourself) that you feel comfortable with. I’m sure your Granddaughter will be thrilled that she has such an awesome Grandma - and maybe someday you will join us fully! :wink:

Thank you all for your responses. They were very helpful.
I attended mass this past week with my granddaughter at her school. Even though I didn’t have a bulletin, I found the order of the mass in the hymn book and followed pretty well. Since I grew up in a very strict old-fashioned Lutheran church, I was familiar with parts of the liturgy. I wasn’t sure about genuflecting, so I didn’t do that.
After the mass was over, a novena was said. I really enjoyed that part, as well. It was some kind of novena to Mary with perpetual in the title. I didn’t quite catch that. One of the prayers really touched me when we got to the part that said anyone who asks for help is never turned away or something to that effect. Until then, I have been having a hard time feeling much for Mary since that was not a part of my upbringing at all. However, I can feel my heart changing. I truly believe the Holy Spirit is at work and I want to go back to mass when I can! It certainly wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be.
Thank you all and God bless you!! :slight_smile:

Oh Oh! Sounds like the Holy Spirit has hold of you! Might I be so bold as to suggest a book? The only thing wrong with it is the title. It is called Catholicism for Dummies, written by Fr. John Trigilio and Fr. Kenneth Brighenti. It covers nearly all aspects of Catholicism and will greatly assist you in understanding the faith. It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many other sources. If you cannot find it, please ask and we will do some searching.

May Christ’s peace be with you.

You can receive Communion in a way…you can pray an Act of Spiritual Communion. You stay kneeling in your pew and you say the following prayer…

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.

I am a Catholic. I couldn’t receive Communion at Mass this Sunday because I broke the one-hour fast. I prayed the Act of Spiritual Communion. If prayed with an honest and sincere heart, it can be spiritually fulfilling (nowhere as much as receiving the Blessed Sacrament though).

I am in RCIA. First lesson was yesterday. I have been going to Mass for some time, but I’ve never heard of the one-hour fast. Can you please explain this to me?

Under Canon 919 §1 of the Code of Canon Law, “A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine.” Hope that helps –

you are talking about the Memorare. it is beautifull. one Parish i go to, we begin by praying this prayer at every Mass.

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

You are not required to kneel when we do. We kneel and genuflect because we believe the bread and wine become the true Body and Blood of Christ. If you do not believe this, then you might not want to kneel, as this signifies you do in fact believe it.

Also, feel free to use the holy water - it is for everybody. I suppose you don’t have to do the sign of the cross, just say some sort of blessing for yourself.

Really you aren’t required to do anything. You can be a non-participating observer if you wish.

I am a non-believer who has been attending mass with my Catholic wife every Sunday for several years. I stand when everyone else stands, sits when everyone else sits, and kneel when everyone else kneels. (I don’t, however, cross myself or genuflect.) After all this time I know the liturgy pretty well, so I just say / sing the words with everyone else. I guess what I try to do is just blend in so that I am not a distraction to anyone else.

It is a blessing to have you on this site. Since you have not ruled faith out, I am sure that you feel blessed to have a spouse who is faithful. I am guessing that you simply do not feel the “spark” of belief at this time. Please correct me if this is not the case.

No matter how you think or feel about the concept of God, there is something you can do to have your doubt addressed. The parish which you attend likely offers what is known as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or simply Adoration. Might I suggest that you inquire when this is offered and then just go and sit in the presence of what Catholics believe is Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Ask Him to demonstrate His existence to you. That’s all. Just sit in the quiet and ask. It may take some time, but you will receive an answer - you will have absolute assurance. Be patient, and know that God is listening and waiting for you.

Peace be with you.

Thank you for being so polite. I’ve known many lukewarm Catholics who act far worse.

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