Questions about Mass


#1

Hello

I have now been to Mass twice. The experience has been genuinely great and has moved me in ways I could never imagine. Despite the worries and concerns of my Wife and friends, I have no doubts whatsoever about my wish to convert to Catholicism (it really is coming home isn’t it?!) and am praying for patience as I want it all to happen yesterday.

However, I have some questions that might seem silly to very experienced Catholics but as someone new to Mass, I have made some observations that could do with clarification.

Please go easy on me:o

  1. In my old CofE church, when I received Communion, I was given both the bread and wine. On both my visits to Mass, I noticed my Priest take both body and blood, whereas the rest of the worshipers took only the body. Is there a reason for this, or have I been mistaken and not been paying proper attention?

  2. Would it be offensive to ‘proper’ Catholics for me to make the sign of the cross during Mass? (when the others do of course) At the moment, I am just trying to keep up with everyone else and to be honest am copying the person in front of me/next to me. I realise that experience will help my understanding but I would feel better knowing if my making the sign of the cross would be wrong.

  3. I’m embarrassed :blush: to ask this question but here goes: Both before and after receiving the Eucharist, some people kneel, some people sit and some stand. With reference to my previous question, I of course just copy the person next to me. However, I am puzzled as to why there are these differences - though I presume it’s merely personal choice.

I said these questions would seem silly but nevertheless would welcome any responses.

Thanks


#2
  1. Communion under both species is up to the Pastor of the Church. In my Diocese, there are only a couple of Churches that I know of that don’t offer Communion under both species. But bear in mind, when you receive just the host, you are still receiving the Body and the Blood (and the Soul and the Divinity) of Christ.

  2. Catholics have not copyrighted the “Sign of the Cross” (Hey, there’s an idea). You can make it with everyone else all you want. It’s simply recalling your Baptismal vows.

  3. The Diocese recommends what to do during the “Thanksgiving Meditation” after communion. If they have kneelers, I prefer to kneel, simply in reverence to the awesome gift God has given to His most unworthy servant!

Good Luck in your journey!!!


#3

In some Catholic Churches they only give communion to the congregation under one species, the bread. The Priest takes both species as part of the Mass.

  1. Would it be offensive to ‘proper’ Catholics for me to make the sign of the cross during Mass? (when the others do of course) At the moment, I am just trying to keep up with everyone else and to be honest am copying the person in front of me/next to me. I realise that experience will help my understanding but I would feel better knowing if my making the sign of the cross would be wrong.

The sign of the cross is not (to my knowledge) reserved only for Catholics. I for one would not be offended.

  1. I’m embarrassed :blush: to ask this question but here goes: Both before and after receiving the Eucharist, some people kneel, some people sit and some stand. With reference to my previous question, I of course just copy the person next to me. However, I am puzzled as to why there are these differences - though I presume it’s merely personal choice.

Well, it is not merely a personal choice. Part of the answer depends on where you are attending Mass. In the United States it is common to kneel after receiving communion but I believe we are allowed to sit. Before communion, again in the US, we kneel just after the Agnus Dei until we get up to go to communion. I personally have never seen anyone stand after communion. Also some of the Eastern Rite Churches may differ.

hth.


#4

Umm, sorry what does CofE stand for? Episcopalians? I assume you’ve received a valid baptism(“I baptise you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”). Know that, until you are Catholic and have received the proper training, you cannot receive Jesus yet…I’m sorry! That’s just the way it is.
Since each species contains the whole Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ only one species is necessary, although many like to receive under both species to feel closer to the Last Supper. Priests receive under both always because it’s part of the liturgy.
Just remember to PLEASE, PLEASE not receive Communion until you are Catholic(until the priest has decided you are ready to receive Communion).

  1. Would it be offensive to ‘proper’ Catholics for me to make the sign of the cross during Mass? (when the others do of course) At the moment, I am just trying to keep up with everyone else and to be honest am copying the person in front of me/next to me. I realise that experience will help my understanding but I would feel better knowing if my making the sign of the cross would be wrong.

I don’t think it would be offensive. It’s a prayer that can be used by all. Anyone can bless themselves with the Trinity’s Name…reminding themselves of Jesus’s Sacrifice for us.

  1. I’m embarrassed :blush: to ask this question but here goes: Both before and after receiving the Eucharist, some people kneel, some people sit and some stand. With reference to my previous question, I of course just copy the person next to me. However, I am puzzled as to why there are these differences - though I presume it’s merely personal choice.

In our parish we all kneel or sit(usually those who sit have medical leg problems). It is up to choice, although unity in formation is good, so if you go to a Mass where everyone is kneeling or sitting, you should probably do what they do(that is if what you would do would seem out of the ordinary to many).


#5

All of the questions you ask are good questions. There is nothing at all wrong with asking them or any other questions that might be on your mind. I converted recently and my wife and family are still not supportive of the idea. Yet, I love it. It was the best decision I’ve ever made and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

In my old CofE church, when I received Communion, I was given both the bread and wine. On both my visits to Mass, I noticed my Priest take both body and blood, whereas the rest of the worshipers took only the body. Is there a reason for this, or have I been mistaken and not been paying proper attention?

I’ll let those who know more answer on what is offered. At my church both the body (bread) and the blood (wine) are offered, though you can choose not to partake of the wine.

Theologically speaking it does not matter. Christ is fully present in both or either. Of course you cannot partake of the Eucharist until you have converted.

Would it be offensive to ‘proper’ Catholics for me to make the sign of the cross during Mass? (when the others do of course) At the moment, I am just trying to keep up with everyone else and to be honest am copying the person in front of me/next to me. I realise that experience will help my understanding but I would feel better knowing if my making the sign of the cross would be wrong.

It would not be offensive. I shouldn’t think so anyway. As a CoE member, you should already know how anyway :wink:

I’m embarrassed to ask this question but here goes: Both before and after receiving the Eucharist, some people kneel, some people sit and some stand. With reference to my previous question, I of course just copy the person next to me. However, I am puzzled as to why there are these differences - though I presume it’s merely personal choice.

I’ve actually never seen anyone stand either, but perhaps that is a regional variation. Personally, I kneel and there are a few good prayers you can learn for before the Eucharist and after. Think about this way: you’ve just partaken of Christ’s flesh and blood, a divine gift for you from Jesus Christ. I think it is worth a kneel.

Even if you do not take communion yet, you can think about Christ’s suffering, humiliation, and death upon the cross and the wonders of the resurrection. His great gifts to us in establishing the Church. Well, there are so many possibilities really.


#6
  1. In my old CofE church, when I received Communion, I was given both the bread and wine. On both my visits to Mass, I noticed my Priest take both body and blood, whereas the rest of the worshipers took only the body. Is there a reason for this, or have I been mistaken and not been paying proper attention?

Good answers here:
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=127833
We do receive under both species when circumstances permit, such as a small number of participants, or special occaisions, such as the bride and groom on their wedding day. You will receive both species on your first Holy Communion.:thumbsup:

  1. Would it be offensive to ‘proper’ Catholics for me to make the sign of the cross during Mass? (when the others do of course) At the moment, I am just trying to keep up with everyone else and to be honest am copying the person in front of me/next to me. I realise that experience will help my understanding but I would feel better knowing if my making the sign of the cross would be wrong.

“Proper” Catholics would be pleased, and they wouldn’t do anything to make you feel uncomfortable.

  1. I’m embarrassed to ask this question but here goes: Both before and after receiving the Eucharist, some people kneel, some people sit and some stand. With reference to my previous question, I of course just copy the person next to me. However, I am puzzled as to why there are these differences - though I presume it’s merely personal choice.

I prefer to kneel until my sore back distracts me from my most intimate moment with Jesus. Then I sit. Personal choices in
minor devotional practices will always be there, and they are all fine as long as no one is offended and kept within rather broad boundaries.

I woul like to tell you about my own personal preferences.
I prefer to genuflect upon entering the pew, facing the Tabernacle, before Mass begins, but not as I leave. My reasoning is that after Holy Communion, I am a living Tabernacle, and so are all the other communicants. To me, genuflection AFTER Communion towards the Tabernacle is redundant, but making an issue of it would be overly scrupulous.

How to genuflect with style:
When you approach your pew, take a full step forward with the left leg.
Place both hands on the left knee as you descend. This will maintain balance.
Keep your back straight as you can without falling over.
Pause to bear most of your weight on the right knee, and the left foot.
Push with your hands that are on your left knee to help your legs in your ascent. Genuflection should take about 1-2 seconds.

Most Catholics make the sign of the cross immediatley after receiving The Eucharist. Well, that’s fine. Millions do it I guess because it seems like a pious thing to do. But the sign of the cross is prayer, worship and a mini-exorcism all-in-one. That’s what has been going on since you walked into the church, so for me, making the sign of the cross after Communion makes little sense, Because the Eucharist is the summit of our faith. But that is one of those minor devotional variances that don’t really make any difference to the end result.


#7

Hi Eddy, welcome to the forums.

Some answers…

  1. In my old CofE church, when I received Communion, I was given both the bread and wine. On both my visits to Mass, I noticed my Priest take both body and blood, whereas the rest of the worshipers took only the body. Is there a reason for this, or have I been mistaken and not been paying proper attention?

In the Traditional Latin Mass only the Bodily Host was served, with the Blood reserved for the priest. This changed in the late '60s after Vatican II. The priests were given permission to present one or both to the parishoners. The decision is the priest’s and can vary from parish to parish. Where I live in the States I can find both easily. The old-timey priests like it the old way!

  1. Would it be offensive to ‘proper’ Catholics for me to make the sign of the cross during Mass? (when the others do of course) At the moment, I am just trying to keep up with everyone else and to be honest am copying the person in front of me/next to me. I realise that experience will help my understanding but I would feel better knowing if my making the sign of the cross would be wrong.

You may cross as often as you wish. It is a very simple prayer, actually, expressing the belief in and reaching out to the Trinitarian God. One cannot cross him/herself too much. Proper crossing is done this way: While pronouncing the bapismal formula - In the name of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit - touch your forehead (Father), then your chest (Son), then your left shoulder (Holy), then your right shoulder (Spirit). Finish with “Amen.”

  1. I’m embarrassed :blush: to ask this question but here goes: Both before and after receiving the Eucharist, some people kneel, some people sit and some stand. With reference to my previous question, I of course just copy the person next to me. However, I am puzzled as to why there are these differences - though I presume it’s merely personal choice.

When I was a lad sitting back while kneeling was for sissies. Now that my back hurts and I have a few (!) extra pounds, I gave that up! :shrug: Seniors may chose to sit. You may even find that the priest will bring the Host to an elderly person so that person does not need to stand.

I said these questions would seem silly but nevertheless would welcome any responses.

Thanks

Not silly! :thumbsup:

BTW, how far along are you in your conversion process?

Subrosa


#8

Not as far as I would like. I appriciate it’s a very long road though and as i said in the OP, I’m praying for patience.

Having spoken to my Priest I get the feeling that it may be quite a while. However, as September gets closer I will start nagging him about RCIA (I believe the courses start around then)

Thanks to everyone for your advice. It’ll be nice to know I’m not upsetting people.

By the way, in answer to a question from TheApologist, CofE is Church of England and I would never dream of taking Eucharist until I’m allowed.

Thanks and God bless!


#9

Please be patient.

RCIA will typically begin in September and last until the Easter Vigil, which in your case will be the night of 22 March 2008 (if my maths are correct, which may not be the case!).

It sounds like a long time, but it is well worth it. You will learn a lot and be able to ask questions (none of which are silly). Also, you will come to know the people in the church community - which is a feature of RCIA that may not seem worthwhile at first, but once you really get started you’ll see that it is really worth it.

Also, it is a good lesson in Church time and patience. The Church doesn’t really work in days or weeks. Nine months is not really a significant amount of time to an organisation that is 2000 years old. So be patient with her and take the time to learn as much as you can. Coming from the CoE you’re already experienced with formal liturgy, the liturgical calendar, and some of the Catholic traditions. You can take the time to read and learn all you can about the Church, Christ, the Holy Mother, and other beliefs, practices, and disciplines.


#10

Just another FYI about people kneeling, sitting or standing after Communion…

I went to Catholic school all my life and I was taught (pre VII by just a couple of years) by the nuns and priests that we were to kneel at Communion. If you’ll notice, you are kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer and then again just before Communion when we say, “Lord, I am not worthy…” And then we kneel again after we receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord to pray in thanksgiving for the unbelieveably, awesome gift He gave us.

So, all during the time from the consecration on, Jesus is truly present until He is placed, after Communion, in the tabernacle. I was taught that whenever Jesus was present in the Eucharist, exposed, we are to kneel in His presence. It is only when He has been placed back in the tabernacle that we should sit.

That makes sense to me. If Jesus stood in front of me in flesh and blood as the Creator and Savior of the world and my poor soul, wouldn’t I be on my knees? Of course I would! In my parish, just before everyone gets up to go to Communion, when the priest and EMs are making their way to their positions - everyone sits! I was absolutely appalled when I first witnessed this, I couldn’t believe my eyes! What were they thinking? I’ve been in this parish for 12 years now, and we are a very devout parish and very close, but to this day, I don’t agree with sitting any time Jesus is exposed in Communion and sometimes I don’t sit. Sometimes I stay kneeling until it’s time for me to get up to receive. I used to tell my son when he was little that Jesus was on the cross for the longest, most horrible 3 hours imagineable for us and for him so he could kneel for Jesus for just a little while. Neither of us, now, will sit until Jesus is tucked away in the tabernacle. I just feel strange sitting while Jesus is present in Communion.

It is an approved practice though, from Rome, so it’s perfectly okay to sit after Communion - after you’ve spent at least a little time on your knees praying in thanksgiving and praise.


#11

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