Protocol for Catholic attending Episcopalian funeral mass

I’m not sure if I’m posting this in the proper place or not. A good friend of the family has passed away, and she was a devout Episcopalian, so there is a good chance we will be attending a funeral mass at an Episcopal church. I understand that as Roman Catholics, we are not to receive communion; however, I am unsure on the protocol for the rest of the service. Do we genuflect/kneel, etc.? Is there any other part of the service we refrain from participating in besides communion? I want to be respectful to this woman’'s family, but I also must obey Catholic Church teaching. Can anyone help me with this?

A member of my extended family had a funeral in an Episcopalian church. The Catholic family members simply did not go up for communion. For the other parts, you may participate as you feel comfortable (including standing and kneeling), or you may remain seated the whole time. Genuflecting is not applicable.

A few years back I was in a similar situation.I did not receive Communion,other than that I don’t remember there being any thing I would consider problematic. It was like a Catholic Mass in some ways.

My father is an Episcopal Priest. Genuflecting won’t bother anyone, as there are several mixed marriages in the EC, at least there were in my Dads Church. I went to several funerals and maybe it was the area, but most of them were graveside. There was no communion. Our church used * used to get visitors from other churches as ours was beautiful and we had a huge organ with a very talented organist. People who did not go up to communion felt comfortable and no one paid any attention to the fact that someone did not go. I think you will be fine. Sit out communion, no one will think anything about it.*

Genuflecting in an Episcopal church would not be appropriate for a Catholic, as it is meant to honor the Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle of a Catholic Church.

So that’s why I’m also wondering if I should kneel or stand if they do those things during the Episcopal consecration. Because the reason we kneel during the consecration at Catholic Mass is because the wine and bread become Jesus at that time. Also, if they recite the Nicene creed, I could recite that, right? Or should I refrain b/c it says, “We believe in one Holy catholic and apostolic church.” Now I know in this context “catholic” means universal,but if I recite it with them, am I in effect saying that the Roman Catholic and the Episcopal Church are one in the same? Also the Roman Catholic church does not believe that the Anglican (and thus Episcopal) church has valid apostolic succession. I hope I am making sense. The other Protestant weddings or funerals I’ve been to have been in churches like Methodist or Church of Christ, and I have no problem praying or singing with fellow Christians during their services. But the Episcopal Church is so much like the Catholic Church, that it becomes a bit trickier.

You may participate in the service as you feel comfortable. The Catholic Church’s only requirement, (simplifying a bit), is to refrain from communion.

You may participate in the common prayers and gestures, and could even participate in the readings if you felt comfortable. If not, then you may simply remain seated, avoiding drawing undo attention to yourself.

The focus should be on grieving your family friend. Being present should be comfort to his immediate family. If they take offense at you remaining seated during the service, then that is their problem. Episcopalians, however, seem very eager to make people feel welcome, so you should not feel too concerned.

Okay, thanks. My husband, who is also Catholic, said he is going to kneel out of respect for the family, so I’m wondering if it will look strange if I don’t also kneel? We will not genuflect or receive Communion. I will pray about it.

In my experience, it will not look strange if you do not kneel, during the liturgy of the Mass. You possibly might kneel at the Incarnatus in the Creed. Or not.

Episcopalians do not all respond identically, in the service. Likely no one will notice. In a Funeral Mass, you are likely to find folks who do not come from a liturgical background at all.


I think that is just a wee bit lacing in respect and rude. No Episcopalians have the real presence from the Roman Catholic point of view. But they believe they have it, ring bells at the consecration and genuflect to their tabernacles.

You would rightly be offended Veronica if an Episcopalian sat through the Mass, please return the favor and don’t sit through theirs.

Long before I was Catholic I went to a Catholic funeral mass for a co-worker’s son. She made it clear to all of us at work who wished to go that we did not have to do anything that the Catholics did. That there was no problem if we decided to sit rather than kneel or stay seated rather than stand.

She was just glad of our support and love.

There should be no problem participating in the funeral service and reciting the creed etc (just don’t take communion). I was recently at an ecumenical service at an Episcopal church, there was Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists and us Catholics :cool: My parish Priest and Bishop was also there. Everyone was very friendly and there was tea and biscuits afterwards. We recited the Apostles Creed and took part in all the prayers, the Creed was slightly different Universal Catholic and Apostolic was missing.

Thank you, all. My husband and I attended the funeral today. There was no kneeling at all–which solved the whole problem! :slight_smile: Everyone stood at the consecration. I followed along in the prayer book and felt comfortable reciting almost all the prayers. We simply did not receive communion. Everything was fine.

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