Saying a Prayer When Passing non-Catholic churches?

My family has developed the practice of making the Sign of the Cross and saying a quick prayer whenever we drive by a Catholic church, because of Jesus’s presence in the tabernacle.

We don’t do this when we pass by Orthodox churches, although they do have valid Sacraments. Is the Eucharist reserved in a tabernacle there (total ignorance on that, sorry :blush:)? Would it be appropriate to show a similar respect, perhaps while also praying for unity?

My daily prayer for Christian reunion-

Daily Offering:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our Bishops and of all the Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month. :slight_smile:

If you lived in a sparsely populated area, it might be a good thing. If you lived in a densely populated area, it would be a serious driving distraction. I make the sign and prayer when passing graveyards. I guess I should do it when passing a Catholic Church as well.

Saying a Prayer When Passing non-Catholic churches?

Yikes, the liberals are taking over everything. :eek:

Well, it’s not as if we are frantically reading Church signs to see what’s what. :wink: They are churches we pass by all the time. There are lots of Catholic and Orthodox churches in our area.

It’s not that I think there is any sin involved and I know it’s an entirely optional devotion. I don’t beat myself up for “missing one.” :stuck_out_tongue: Just curious if our practice is somewhat inconsistent. :hmmm:

Sorry, not following.

I do the sign of the cross whenever I pass a Catholic or Orthodox church as Jesus is reserved in body, blood, soul, and divinity in the tabernacle; acknowledging him when passing by is in fact good for a partial indulgence. I do nothing when I pass by protestant churches.

My bad. :o

I thought about putting something stronger, e.g. “Saying a Prayer When Passing non-Catholic churches? Anathema! Anathema!”… but I know Internet forums sometimes have a high ratio of sensitivity to sense-of-humor, so I didn’t want to say anything that risked offending someone.

Edit: Plus, it wouldn’t be clear that it’s saying “anathema” on the practice and not on the church being passed.

I didn’t know about the partial indulgence, that’s interesting. I’ll have to look more into that.

This seems to me to be the most consistent.

I do sometimes pray for unity when passing Protestant churches, but it’s definitely not the same because Jesus is not present in the tabernacle there. Plus as esieffe said, then I’d really be inviting the distraction because there are just tons of churches around here.

(Sometimes, if the architecture is vaguely Gothic my kids will yell out “Hey Jesus!” anyway…which is their form of acknowledgement at the moment…:stuck_out_tongue: It’s great when we’re driving around with our car windows open. :smiley: But they are 4 and 2, so not sure how much theology or Church history would be suitable about this matter at present. ;))

OK, I see where you are coming from now.

I guess the way I am looking at it is, Jesus is there in the Orthodox churches, even if we are not in communion with them. The same cannot be said for Protestant churches (or “worship spaces” if you prefer). I would think that if I’m making the choice to acknowledge His presence when I’m out and about, I should do that regardless, and it’s not about making a political statement.

Perhaps if the Protestant churches are empty, Christ is not there but we also have Scripture that states:

20"For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst."
Matthew 18:20

God bless!


But then there’s a whole new practical problem - I go a lot of places where I’m sure there are more than two Christians, even if I don’t know who they are. :wink:

I am referring specifically to the bodily presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. Catholic theology would say that is absent in Protestant churches, but not so for the Orthodox. Jesus is present in body there, not only in spirit.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I just had to copy that and put it on my desktop for the future. It’s a perfect morning prayer! Thank you! :smiley:

I always try to at least make the sign of the cross, bow my head and say a quick “hello” when passing a Catholic church, and say a quick prayer for the dead when passing a cemetery. It’s an old habit from years ago.

I had to :rotfl: at this one! :smiley:

That’s exactly the reason I do the same thing, though I had long forgotten about the indulgence. I just do it out of love and respect.

After reading this thread, I might also start saying a quick prayer for the conversion of souls when passing a non-Catholic church in the future. It certainly can’t hurt to pray for all souls.

What are you, a Protestant or something!?

(Sorry, I guess I got on a roll after the first joke. :o)

:smiley: :rotfl:


Heh … but seriously, I only genuflect in churches that have the Eucharist, e.g. EO, RC, EC, PNCC.

I understand the Catholic belief in the Host being Jesus and would never take the opportunity to diminish this belief. I don’t hold this but believe that Christ is with us wherever we are. In fact, many of our Lutheran churches have a candle that stays lit all the time as a reminder of Christ being with us all the time.

I know that’s not the same as the Host but for we who don’t have belief in transubstantiation it is a tangible reminder for us - something we don’t need but a helpful visual.

God bless, all!


Being on CAF for many years, many of you know that I’m Greek Orthodox.

Now, having said that, I’m also the secretary to the Church office. Every day, Monday-Friday, I open the Church vestibule at 9am & someone else locks it up at 8pm.

Although the front of the Church where the candle area is is open, the actual Church is locked but people can still see it because almost the entire wall is glass.

Now that you have this little background, we are surrounded by many Catholic Churches in our area as well as other denominations. The Catholic Churches only open up for certain Mass & that’s it.

We have many Catholics come into our Greek Orthodox Church on a daily basis & light the clear white white or red glass candles. They stay a while & pray, cross them selves & leave.

Why do the Catholics go into an Orthodox Church. It’s because they can’t go to theirs to light a candle & pray, that’s why. How do I know this. It is because they tell me.

Some Catholics even come into my office & ask if they can go inside the sanctuary and sit on the pew & pray for a while. I always oblige them! :slight_smile:

I’ve always been sad about this separation between our 2 Churches. My immediate family is both Greek Orthodox & Catholic. We get along just fine and embrace what we have!!!


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