Starting my swim across the Tiber


So I just tl started RCIA classes last Tuesday, and I am really excited to see what’s to come over the next nine months…

But there are some things I’m a little uneasy over. Like “is it ok for someone like me to start praying?” And how exactly would I go about that? Besides being baptized, my knowledge on the faith is rather scant…

Another thing would be is it ok if I were to start going to Masses when I can? I know that I can’t receive communion, but would it still be ok for me to go? Sundays are a little tough because those are the busiest days at my job. Sometimes I get them off, sometimes not.

Finally, is there anything else I can do to get a little bit of a jumpstart on these classes? I have the Laudate app on my phone simply because its more convenient than lugging around huge books…

Thanks for the help


answers to you questions

1, yes of course you can pray, praying it just like a conversation thats how you speak to God, just talk to him, don’t ask to win the lottery though, he wont let you have that one :slight_smile:
2. Anyone is welcome to go to mass you don’t have to be catholic to do it, though you cant received communion it doesn’t mean you cant go up for a blessing just cross you arms over you chest then the priest will know your not there for communion. Weekend mass starts on Saturday with the vigil so that tends to be around 6pm through to Sunday evening.

There is many sources to help you on your way. Father Barron’s Catholicism is one i used that, website like this, reading about saints help to.


In regards to Mass, all Catholics have a Sunday Obligation. Technically, you are not Catholic and I don’t think (not sure) you are bound by this obligation until you are properly received into the church. However, anyone who wishes to follow God should go to Mass irrespective of the obligation.

And in regard to your work, going to the Saturday evening vigil fulfills the Sunday Obligation, so just check whether your parish has one at an appropriate time.

In regards to a previous poster about crossing your arms to receive a blessing, I might check that with the priest first. I am not sure but I believe this receiving of blessing with crossed arms is not in the GIRM (not technically part of the Mass since the priest blesses everyone at the end anyway) although it is something that many Catholics do anyways. I would just check with a priest first. Also, I’m pretty sure only a priest can give a blessing if you do cross your arms, so you should avoid walking up to extraordinary ministers for a blessing (I think).

Ultimately, call up and ask your priest, he can answer these questions better than us anyhow. And welcome home.:slight_smile:


sorry forgot to add check your parish, my parish does the cross your arms thing, but i know some churches dont do blessing at all, i never went up for a blessing. to many people going up for communion never wanted to confuse the issue,


Your enthusiasm is wonderful and I am going to pray that you will continue to be filled full of joy and curiosity as you go about the next few months. Of course you can attend Mass and pray and do everything that you want to help you become familiar and feel a part of the faith. You can not participate in communion yet but as you prepare for that day you will come to understand why you must wait now. People on this forum have recommended Catholicism for Dummies as a simple overview of the faith, you may want to check it out. I subscribe on my Kindle app to Living Faith: Daily Catholic Devotions. It lists the readings for the day followed by a brief meditation by lay people and clergy, I really love it. Praying for you.


Yes you can start to pray, and yes you can go to Mass. And in fact those are the things you should be doing as you prepare to enter the Church.

The RCIA book – the actual “Rite” of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults – summarizes what it is that is supposed to happen during the Inquiry period that shows a person is ready for the Rite of Acceptance.

  1. The prerequisite for making this first step is that the beginnings of the spiritual life and the fundamentals of Christian teaching have taken root in the candidates. (Ad Gentes 14) Thus there must be evidence of the first faith that was conceived during the period of evangelization and precatechumenate and of an initial conversion and intention to change their lives and to enter into a relationship with God in Christ. Consequently there must also be evidence of the first stirrings of repentance, a start to the practice of calling upon God in prayer, a sense of the Church, and some experience of the company and spirit of Christians through contact with a priest or with members of the community.

So the things you’re asking about are exactly the kinds of things that should be happening in an Inquirer’s life. Isn’t it nice to know that the things you want for yourself are also the things the Church wants for you?


Do go to Mass, just stay in your pew while the people take Communion. There is a lovely little prayerbook, The Catholic Pocket Prayer Book which you may find helpful. It has a section on the Mass, which I used every Sunday while I was in RCIA.

You should definitely begin praying – The Lord’s Prayer and the Angelus are easy ones to begin with – and I also recommend the Rosary.

Tiber Swim Team of 2014


You should go to Mass and pray as much as possible. The Church isn’t a reward for the holy, it’s a hospital for sinners! Don’t let the Devil get in your head with all that “I’m not worthy” false humility nonsense. None of us is worthy. If we were worthy of salvation, the Cross is meaningless.

That Laudate app is great…it has just about every book you’d need right in your pocket. I wish I’d had that when I was in RCIA, but in 1997 smartphones weren’t a thing yet.


I would recommend attending Mass every Sunday from now on, and if your job prevents you from going Sunday morning, go to the Saturday evening vigil Mass instead. If you can do neither, speak to your employer about allowing a couple of hours off for religious observance. After all, keeping the Third Commandment (honoring the Sabbath) is more important than your job.

I do not recommend going up during Communion with your arms crossed for a blessing. Many parishes do this, but they shouldn’t. The best thing is to remain in your pew. Besides, everyone gets a blessing at the end of Mass.


Thanks for the replies everyone!

Now that I’ve got a little help in the right direction, I know what to do as for the personal aspect… and I’ve basically come to the conclusion that I’m going to sit (or kneel) when everyone goes up. I don’t like having the spotlight, and I don’t want to be the only one that gets something different.

I feel really drawn to the Saint Michael the archangel prayer, because it reminds me that He’s watching no matter what you do… that may become part of my pre-completion routine (I bowl competitively)

Once again, major thanks to everyone. I’m nothing short of excited to see what’s to come!


I highly recommend Eucharistic Adoration. I am never at peace as much as I am with a bible and the Eucharist. It is always one of the best hours of my week.


Also, most people overlook the amazingness of spiritual communion in the presence of the Eucharist. Just being in the room with the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus is amazing.


Welcome home. God bless you on your RCIA journey. Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you guidance, direction, strength, wisdom & fortitude along the way. Have fun along the journey growing in faith.


I went to a Maronite Liturgy today. All kinds of people were going up in the Communion line with their arms crossed–and all of them received Communion. I don’t have any idea if this is a Maronite custom or a Byzantine custom as this was a pretty mixed crowd, but if people of either Church go to Mass at a Latin church–don’t cross your arms–you might not get Communion.

It never was a tradition in the Latin Church for people to go up for a blessing if they are not receiving Communion. Everyone receives a blessing at the end of Mass. The Communion line is just that–the line you stand in to receive Communion. Now it’s become confusion. :frowning:


Sure it’s ok to pray! It’s great to start going to Mass when you can. If you don’t feel comfortable going through the communion line, it’s ok to sit in the pew and pray silently for a spiritual communion with God.

Welcome home!

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