Prayer during Eucharist


I am a non-baptized person (currently in RCIA) who attends Mass weekly (I think since November I’ve only missed Mass twice) and I know that I am not to take part in Eucharist.

However, when I am kneeling in the pew while the rest of the parish partakes, I find that I cannot keep concentrated on prayer for very long and my mind seems to wander.

Wanting to give full concentration to my thoughts/prayers, I did something different today. I wrote my thoughts/prayers down on paper during Eucharist and found that I was so focused on what I was writing that I mind hardly wandered.

My question then becomes, am I allowed to write my prayers during this time?
Is this something I can continue when I am able to partake in Eucharist?



I think it is probably fine to do in the beginning, but to focus on what is happening (interior and exterior) at Mass is the best way to participate well at Mass.


Our pastor talked about wandering minds during prayer and/or Mass one time and what he said made sense to me. He said, if you find your mind wandering, or your eyes straying, then try just following it. It might just be that God is trying to show you or tell you something. Then when you’ve dealt with your distraction, return yourself to prayer and continue as you were before.
That really clicked for me for some reason, and has stuck with me for several years now.


Do you sit with an RCIA group or with an instructor? Usually RCIA students attend a Mass with other students & the instructors & then go to class after Mass. If this is not so, try to bring a prayer book with you to say yours prayers during the time people are receiving Communion.


Our class usually meets on Tuesday nights.
Right now for Lent and preparations for the Easter Vigil, they are doing the Breaking of the Word and such during the 11:30a Mass on Sundays but I cannot attend as I usually work 5a-1p


I think it’s fine to do. Eventually you won’t need the written prayer. It might take some time though. Don’t worry.


Cool. I never heard this before but I think it is wise advice.
Thanks for sharing:)


Once upon a time catechumens actually were asked not to witness the consecration of the Eucharistand so generally left after the sermon. This is still a valid option for a catechumen however since you have the opportunity to witness the Real Presence of our Lord I would definitely suggest staying. Writing is not diaeespectful during the procession however during the consecration I know I would have an issue with it.


I do really enjoy staying during the consecration and I would never even dare doing such DURING the consecration.

Usually when those who can receive the Eucharist go forth, I stay in my pew and kneel for prayer. However, it is here that I would find my mind wandering (what do I need to do when I get home, what will I make for dinner) and I feel that my wandering mind is…my mind can wander any other time. So tonight, I saved my writing for this same period - when those who can, receive the Eucharist while I respectfully stay in my pew.


Well I would say that unless approached my your Pastor or Parochial Vicar about the writing (which seems highly unlikely) then it seems to be a viable aide for prayer and harmless. Much moreso than say…bringing along a novel or a crossword puzzle. Seems acceptable and at Easter you will recieve your sacraments. When approaching the altar to recieve communion I personally pray an Act of Contrition (the Eucharist wipes away venial sin) and then on my return to my pew I recite the Apostles Creed. Many people say Catholic prayer is formulaic in nature but that nature helps to keep you focused rather than wandering, try memorizing some traditional Catholic Prayer and welcome to the Faith!


I’d say it’s fine for now, but what I’d really recommend is making a spiritual communion, perhaps in this form written by St Alphonsus Ligouri: “My Jesus, I believe that Thou art in the Blessed Sacrament. I love Thee above all things, and I long for Thee in my soul. Since I cannot now receive Thee sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though Thou hast already come, I embrace Thee and unite myself entirely to Thee; never permit me to be separated from Thee. Amen.”

The Anima Christi of St Ignatius of Loyola is another excellent prayer to be said at the time of communion. Your missal likely has more appropriate prayers.

Another suggestion might be to find a method of hearing Mass. These have faded in popularity since Vatican II, but many saints and pious souls wrote instructions for how to get the most out of hearing a Mass and directing one’s attention. Here’s an example from St Leonard of Port Maurice:

God bless.


This is why it’s important for a church to have a lot of religious paintings, artwork, icons, and/or stained glass windows. At least then, when the mind and eyes wander, they wander onto holy things.


There are a number of people saying that they think it is fine for you to write down your thoughts during Mass because you find it difficult to focus.

Well, I totally disagree with this. The act of writing down your thoughts will have you focused on your writing and your thoughts, not on what is going on at the Mass.

Instead, focus totally on what is going on. This may be done by watching what is done at the altar and also by following the prayers in a Missal. You can purchase a Missal in any good Catholic bookshop. The Mass is the highest form of worship of God. We should not be concerned with our personal thoughts about it, but enter into the mystery.

Distractions come to everyone at Mass. It is, unfortunately, one of the weaknesses of our fallen state. All you need to do, when you become aware that your thoughts had slid away to something else is to re-direct your focus back to the Mass. Do not allow yourself to become distressed about them, just shake them off and get back to Jesus.


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