Sit or participate in church

I have no religion. I want to go to Mass sometime. I think personally a weekday mass might suit me better than on saturday or sunday when the church is packed.

if i went to mass would it be ok to just sit or should i try to say the prayers, responses and the genuflections. I do not have faith, that is why I ask this.

This is my personal opinion - first, welcome. Second, look at why you are coming to mass. If it is because you are curious due to someone your life - try going with them and see what you two can work out in your parish.

If you are going by yourself - you may want to follow along and try your best to say the prayers just so you don’t feel out of place. Usually if you sit next to one of the nice old men and explain to them that you are a first timer and you have not a clue they will show you the Missal (our book of verses and prayers) and how to follow it.

You won’t be able to partake in Eucharist unless you make the decision you want to become Catholic and do this.

You should most definetly genuflect during the Consecration of the Eucharist as this is when the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ - and it is a sign of humility and respect - if you do not believe this now - it is OK, you may later and you may not but out of respect for others you should do this.

God bless you and thank you for asking.

My suggestion would be, even if you are “just” going through the motions, you should go through the motions.

One reason being, you will likely feel more comfortable. i.e. Sitting while everyone else is standing, kneeling etc. in any setting isn’t likely to leave you very comfortable. You are really likely to feel in the way.

Secondly, you might find that the motions have significance to those who are not “just” going through the motions and this might give you some clue as to what they might be experiencing.


It is perfectly acceptable to go to a Mass and simply sit or stand silently. Usually you would stand when others stand, and sit when others sit. When other kneel, it is alright for you to simply sit. When others go the the front of the Church to receive Holy Communion, it is fine for you to stay in your pew (going for a daily Mass might be good in this regard, because some Sunday Masses are indeed crowded and it might be difficult to know what to do if you are not going to to receive Holy Communion.)

There is no pressure, and no expectation (aside from not intentionally causing a commotion). If you do go, we would love to have you come back to these forums and share your impressions (and ask questions if you have any).

God bless!

Agreed I didn’t mean to imply that you “couldn’t” in my previous post.

I was basing my recommendation on the experiences of my Baptist mother in law and non-Christian sister in law.

When they come for a visit they attend mass with my family.

The first mass, they both sat. Then they began to sit and stand. Then it was sit, stand and go up for a blessing. And then sit, stand, kneel and go up for a blessing.

Now they say most of the prayers right along with us and you wouldn’t be able to tell they were not-Catholic just by watching them.

They told me they felt really uncomfortable not following along at that first mass. The sit and stand helped them feel much more comfortable. The transition from scooting forward in their seat while others knelt to a full blown kneel took the longest transition time. **

I was really just thinking along the lines of helping you to be as comfortable as quickly as possible **

But in retrospect, it may be the transition process itself that made them more comfortable over time.

So, yeah, do what feels right and God bless ya.


If you do go to a weekday mass be aware that the number of people attending will probably be on the small side, some of them are even held in little chapels rather than the normal sanctuary. No one will really notice if you don’t say the prayers out loud, some people simply don’t for whatever reason, but you might feel out of place if there are 20 people in a small room all going through the motions and you are just sitting there. I would say the best option is to do what makes you comfortable at the time, but be aware that if you want to learn it people generally learn faster by participating than watching.

The other thing is too - if you talk to the priest ahead of time and let him know where you are coming from - maybe there is a single male (I assume you are male from your screen name) about your age that attends on his own - maybe you two could go together - so you aren’t kind of out there - not really sure what to do.

So - what brings you to us - and there are no wrong answers just wondering?

From 20 years of experience attending Mass without being Catholic - I’d agree with all the previous responses. You’ll more likely feel more comfortable and a “part of the congregation” if you do what the others do (with the exception of receiving Communion, of course) [edited] So to insure that people didn’t have to stumble over me - I would try to always sit at the end of the pew if possible :slight_smile:

I would encourage you to attend Mass as others have advised you. As others have said you would probably feel more comfortable sitting, standing, and kneeling when everyone else does so. You can of course say the prayers and responses or not as you choose.


Just so you know, there is still a moratorium on discussing the topic of going up to receive a blessing at Communion, including the open questions of whether or not it’s “prohibited” or a “liturgical” abuse.

Thank you for that. I didn’t know there was a moratorium on that issue. I would, in my defence, say that I was not really discussing it put pointing out to this poster that she should not start her experience of the Catholic Church by engaging in a dubious practice.

As for whether it is prohibited or a liturgical abuse I have seen HE Francis Cardinal Arinze, Prefect Emeritus of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments say that it is wrong.

I shall not say any more on the matter because you have advised me on the moratorium.

If you went to Mass, it would be ok to just sit. If you want to follow along with the prayers and do what the others are doing- genuflect, kneel, stand etc. that is ok, too. Just do not go up to receive Holy Communion. I recommend that you speak to God inwardly telling Him of your lack of faith and so on, but tell Him “It is my desire to believe, to know that you are real and that you are here. Help my unbelief”. Speak in your own words whatever is on your mind. He hears you, whether you know it or not.

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