Returning to church


#1

So I was baptised Catholic as a baby and received first holy communion although not confirmed.

Not raised in a strict Catholic family - in fact we weren't religious at all.

I am not sure why but I feel drawn to attend mass tomorrow morning (I'm in Australia).

I haven't stepped foot in a Catholic Church in over 17 years.

Things to remember? What not to do? I know I can't take communion - anything else?


#2

If there is a missalette available (at my parish, they are at the entrances), you might want to pick one up to help you follow along.

But the main thing is, don't stress -- just follow what you see the rest of the people do as far as when to stand, sit, and kneel.

Welcome back!


#3

Hi Mummato2

How bizarre! I'm in exactly the same situation as what YOU are!!! :shrug::shrug:

I was also baptized Catholic, received my First Holy Communion but was never Confirmed. I also live in Australia (Brisbane) and over the last month or so... Have been strangely, gently nudged...or drawn back to the Catholic faith. Problem is, I havent been involved in the church in some 20 years !!! ...although I have been to mass a few times of late. Only HE truly knows what he is about!!! But admittedly there is a deep longing within me to come back. I have inquired at my local parish and it would seem that I would need to complete some or other Adult Confirmation class and then reconciliation.... Perhaps it would be a good idea for you to chat to someone at your local parish for some guidance on what to do next too.

God Bless YOU as draw near to HIM.

Michelle


#4

God is calling you let Him lead you back, don’t worry about a thing just rest in His arms. The advice of picking up a missal is excellent it will help you respond. I will pray for you to be at peace though this time, God bless you.


#5

The main things what not to do you ask?

I will say the main thing to do is relax and just go with flow of the service and pick up the courage to speak to the priest at the end, even if to say you are a returnee as such and ask him if coffee is being served anywhere and ask him to grab someone to show you where. Yeh so you can find your own way around but it is that intro to speak to another isn't it... (Even if he announces coffee in the hall still ask him etc or someone at the back of church) 'And just in case you are wondering why I am asking you to go in for coffee? Well its so easy to 'run' off home afterwards but church is so much better once we start getting to know people and coffee is that good time though it will take time to mingle hence the reason of asking the priest or someone to show you where rather than being independent about it. ;)

Enjoy
xxx


#6

Thank you Agnes Terese x I think because it's just myself going I am a little worried about doing the wrong thing

I'm in Sydney Michelle. Wow - almost identical situation!! We will be great mates on the forum then lol. I am struggling because my husband has decided he doesnt have a belief however he has agreed to my kids being raised whichever way i decide so my eldest starts kindy in a catholic school next year.

Thank you mountee - your words are calming. I take that advice and let you know how it goes


#7

Beautiful advice englishredrose x

Im looking forward to meeting the priest - hoping he is nicer than the ones i encountered at school (a huge reason i left the church as soon as i was old enough)

With respect to sacraments etc - should i be doing anything in particulaf if i want to remain going to the catholic church and want to resume communion? Im sure i'll need confession but is there anything else i need to consider?


#8

[quote="mummato2, post:7, topic:301714"]
Beautiful advice englishredrose x

Im looking forward to meeting the priest - hoping he is nicer than the ones i encountered at school (a huge reason i left the church as soon as i was old enough)

With respect to sacraments etc - should i be doing anything in particulaf if i want to remain going to the catholic church and want to resume communion? Im sure i'll need confession but is there anything else i need to consider?

[/quote]

Sorry, I can't answer about the Sacraments as I am Anglican and not Roman Catholic.

Our Service looks the same so I could give you the tip about relaxing with the service. But as to the rest, I think you will need to speak to the priest and he will guide you the Roman Catholic way of doing things otherwise I would just put my foot in it and confuse you because I don't know the workings of how you guys do these things. I don't even know how most Anglicans do so. I just have my own ways though been going over 25 year but I have my own outlook to some things. Of which I do actually do confession but not for the same reason as others seemingly do. Good luck:)

(When I mean relax I don't mean go in chewing gum and carrying a bottle of coke etc if anyone else is wondering. I mean relax with God and the service.) Relaxing with God is a treat.

'And for you, I hope the priest is better than the one you had in school but I cannot promise that one and as with like anyone else and personalities etc. Its taken me 25 year to find one that I can really share things with and thats because he has helped find a way for me but I have got on with them all and each own brings their own insights to life and help in their own way when we learn to trust them, thats the secret. When we trust them we can learn lots about ourselves and that helps us with God. So I hope you will like him but try not to base it on first service though hard to do.:thumbsup:


#9

For the immediate future, dress nicely, but not too fancy, so you'll blend in. Sit about 3/4 of the way back, so there will be plenty of people in front of you to mimic, but not so far back you're crowded by the late arrivals. Slide into the center -less desirable position - of the pew so you don't make an enemy first thing by sitting in someone's usual spot.;) Find a missalette. You're lucky; most churches still have the cheat sheets with the new translations in the pews.

For the long term, if you've been baptizes and received First Communion, then Confession is all you need to get back "in." You'll probably want to get Confirmed. Where I go to Mass, every year during Lent we have an abbreviated RCIA-type program, taught by the priests, for people in exactly your position: lacking Confirmation.

Best bet is to talk to one of the priests, or a Pastoral Associate, depending on how big the parish is and how its staffed. The most difficult part is picking up the phone and calling for an appointment. Been there, done that.


#10

[quote="Richard320, post:9, topic:301714"]
For the immediate future, dress nicely, but not too fancy, so you'll blend in. Sit about 3/4 of the way back, so there will be plenty of people in front of you to mimic, but not so far back you're crowded by the late arrivals. Slide into the center -less desirable position - of the pew so you don't make an enemy first thing by sitting in someone's usual spot.;) Find a missalette. You're lucky; most churches still have the cheat sheets with the new translations in the pews.

For the long term, if you've been baptizes and received First Communion, then Confession is all you need to get back "in." You'll probably want to get Confirmed. Where I go to Mass, every year during Lent we have an abbreviated RCIA-type program, taught by the priests, for people in exactly your position: lacking Confirmation.

Best bet is to talk to one of the priests, or a Pastoral Associate, depending on how big the parish is and how its staffed. The most difficult part is picking up the phone and calling for an appointment. Been there, done that.

[/quote]

Thank you :)


#11

[quote="mummato2, post:6, topic:301714"]
Thank you Agnes Terese x I think because it's just myself going I am a little worried about doing the wrong thing

I'm in Sydney Michelle. Wow - almost identical situation!! We will be great mates on the forum then lol. I am struggling because my husband has decided he doesnt have a belief however he has agreed to my kids being raised whichever way i decide so my eldest starts kindy in a catholic school next year.

Thank you mountee - your words are calming. I take that advice and let you know how it goes

[/quote]

This was me 21 years ago. I knew that I had to go back after my 1st son was born. Same situation as yours with husband - we married with no expectation of ever returning to the faith of our parents/childhood. He never has reverted although he has allowed our sons to be raised as Catholics, and he's "faked it" so they would believe that he is still Catholic. Welcome Home!!

Don't have expectations that you will feel at all comfortable at Mass at first. You may not recognize the Mass depending on which sort of parish you attend. The one nearest your house is your parish, although some of us are sort of in the middle of 2 and float between. When I first went back, I liked the more "modern" parish a little better but over time, I have come to realize that it is quite unorthodox in some of its practices, so I now prefer the more orthodox/traditional parish (which is actually closer now that we've moved). The congregation may be welcoming, or they may not be too warm. Try not to expect much at first.

You can print off a "cheat sheet" to take with you since our responses have recently changed - most parishes have had a guide since last year at Advent but some are gradually phasing those out. Having something to read from will be helpful when it comes to saying the Creed. (You don't have to say the Creed if you're not comfortable with it.) New Mass Respnses The funny thing is that the Penitential Rite includes striking your breast the way I did as a child! (through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault).

The advice from the previous poster about not sitting on the end of the pew is good! But don't sit too far back or you won't be able to see what the priest is doing.

Speak to the priest after Mass, just to introduce yourself and say you want to come back and bring your children for baptism. You will need to make an appointment to speak to him in person and give him all the facts but after Mass isn't the time to do that, so go to the Parish Office or call and make an appointment.

You will need to obtain a copy of your baptismal certificate which is easily done by calling the parish office where it was done. They will either send it to you directly or will send it to the parish where you are returning. You'll need that for confirmation classes. But you don't need it immediately, so you can wait until after you speak with the priest.

Again, Welcome Home!

:thumbsup:


#12

Hello mummato2,

It might be helpful to purchase a book such as Mass Revision, which provides an overview of the different parts of the Mass.

shop.catholic.com/mass-revision.html

There are many other books such as this; perhaps you could pay a visit to your local Catholic bookstore and just browse around. See what strikes your fancy...i.e., where the Holy Spirit might lead you to do a bit more study and learning. You could also browse for Catholic periodicals--in the U.S. there are publications such as Our Sunday Visitor and National Catholic Register.

For learning and study in a more structured fashion, you may want to consider participating in an RCIA class at a local parish. There is no commitment required to join the class; it's considered to be a period of inquiry and learning.

Best wishes!


#13

OK - so I went to church - I'm almost surprised that nothing at all has changed in the almost 20 years since I've been to a Catholic service!

I took the advice given, spoke with a few people who attend, introduced myself to the priest (has quite a lovely sense of humour!) and made an appointment to see him on Tuesday to talk about things in greater depth.

I have to be honest - I didn't get that "feeling" of connecting with God at this service (I definitely felt that in the past with other churches) - however I think it has more to do with feeling a little like a fish out of water rather than anything else.

I'll see what Tuesday brings and we will take it from there.

Thank you all for your love, prayers and support xx


#14

You will learn to connect and it takes time in some environments. Its good when the priest has a sense of humour. And, Just relax about tuesday too. :)


#15

[quote="mummato2, post:13, topic:301714"]
OK - so I went to church - I'm almost surprised that nothing at all has changed in the almost 20 years since I've been to a Catholic service!

I took the advice given, spoke with a few people who attend, introduced myself to the priest (has quite a lovely sense of humour!) and made an appointment to see him on Tuesday to talk about things in greater depth.

I have to be honest - I didn't get that "feeling" of connecting with God at this service (I definitely felt that in the past with other churches) - however I think it has more to do with feeling a little like a fish out of water rather than anything else.

I'll see what Tuesday brings and we will take it from there.

Thank you all for your love, prayers and support xx

[/quote]

The first time I went back to Mass, I felt exactly the same. I wondered what in the world I had gone back for...I doubted my resolve. But I knew I had to keep going. Feelings aside, I just went, Sunday after Sunday. And things went from there. Faith is not about feelings, because feelings are transient and can be affected by such things as the music, the personality of the Pastor or priest, etc. That is why the "mega-churches" attract so many people - they manipulate people's emotions through entertainment, lighting, music, etc. It's all about feelings and having fun at "church." It's a motivational speech and not a pathway to Heaven.

Glad your priest has a sense of humor! I wish you all the best when you meet with him!

Welcome Home!

:love::love::love:


#16

[quote="mummato2, post:13, topic:301714"]
OK - so I went to church - I'm almost surprised that nothing at all has changed in the almost 20 years since I've been to a Catholic service!

I took the advice given, spoke with a few people who attend, introduced myself to the priest (has quite a lovely sense of humour!) and made an appointment to see him on Tuesday to talk about things in greater depth.

I have to be honest - I didn't get that "feeling" of connecting with God at this service (I definitely felt that in the past with other churches) - however I think it has more to do with feeling a little like a fish out of water rather than anything else.

I'll see what Tuesday brings and we will take it from there.

Thank you all for your love, prayers and support xx

[/quote]

I thought about your comments above when I read the following today. You might find it interesting...

From In Conversation with God, Volume 5, Father Francis Fernandez, Twenty-Eighth Sunday, Year B, p. 220:

"(There are) four stages in our effort to identify ourselves with Christ: seeking him, finding him, getting to know him, loving him. It may seem clear to you that you are only in the first stage. Seek him then, hungrily; seek him within yourselves with all your strength. If you act with determination, I am ready to guarantee that you have already found him, and have begun to get to know him and to love him, and to hold your conversation in heaven."

These Fernandez volumes are very good for daily meditation; they are 4-5 short pages that reflect on the Scripture reading for the day.

Another excellent meditation book is Meditations on the Gospel of Mark, by Adrienne von Speyr. Mark is a good Gospel to start off with for a first venture into Scriptural prayer and study, because it's very straightforward and easy to read.

ignatius.com/Products/MK-P/mark.aspx


#17

[quote="mummato2, post:1, topic:301714"]
So I was baptised Catholic as a baby and received first holy communion although not confirmed.

Not raised in a strict Catholic family - in fact we weren't religious at all.

I am not sure why but I feel drawn to attend mass tomorrow morning (I'm in Australia).

I haven't stepped foot in a Catholic Church in over 17 years.

Things to remember? What not to do? I know I can't take communion - anything else?

[/quote]

Mummato and Michelle....I was in that same position almost three years ago.

If you have been baptized Catholic and received first communion....in most cases...unless you have a marriage situation...you just have to go to reconciliation to start receiveing communion again.

Now...in my case I was married outside the Church but it was my first marriage and his...so we had a simple marriage blessing (convalidation). Your husband does not have to be Catholic to do so.

Please speak with your priest about it.

and WELCOME HOME!


#18

and as to Daisybee comment on the 4 stages just relax and enjoy each day with God. Ask questions to the priest tomorrow when you speak with him. Apart of his role is helping us to connect with God and if you find something not working for you then chat about this to the priest till you do find a way to connect. Don't be like I who taken 25 years to find the connection with God, though I'm there now. But please don't worry about the stages because they are unique to us all and we don't need to compare where we are at.


#19

I did the same thing this spring. Hadn't been in a Catholic Church in 5 years but could no longer ignore the pull to go back. A month later I found out why Jesus had been pulling at me so hard. My beloved father passed away, and without the strength of the Eucharist I would have never survived it.

Now, I don't want to imply that something awful is going to happen in anyone's life who returns to the Church, but what I do know is there is always a reason. That reason might just be how much God loves you and wants to draw you closer to Him.


#20

[quote="englishredrose, post:18, topic:301714"]
and as to Daisybee comment on the 4 stages just relax and enjoy each day with God. Ask questions to the priest tomorrow when you speak with him. Apart of his role is helping us to connect with God and if you find something not working for you then chat about this to the priest till you do find a way to connect. Don't be like I who taken 25 years to find the connection with God, though I'm there now. But please don't worry about the stages because they are unique to us all and we don't need to compare where we are at.

[/quote]

Hi englishredrose,

I hope I didn't imply by my comment that people must go through each stage in order to somehow be "successful" in the spiritual life--no, no; not at all.

I just like the meditation because it gives a general idea of growing in a relationship with God. It's definitely not a checklist to which dates can be assigned (Sought God--yes, found him on October 15; next...).

I shared the meditation to encourage mummato2 to continue in her journey/quest, not to suggest that there is a formula that everyone should follow.

As you imply, the stages aren't always exactly clear. Also, there can be difficult times in our lives where we may struggle with a "stage," that we thought we had previously mastered.

Peace.


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