Sunday obligation for those new to the faith

Hi all,
So over the past year I’ve been undergoing a fairly certain conversion to the faith of Roman Catholicism, though I have not yet been received into the Church. For a time, I was unsure whether my budding faith meant that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass (while not taking the Eucharist, of course) extended to me. The reason for this was partly that the Catechism states that it is incumbent on “the faithful” to attend mass, without making explicit that they are only talking about confirmed members of the Church.

It now seems to me that it must be the case that the Sunday obligation only extends to confirmed members of the Church, but I just wanted to confirm this. Of course, I might keep going to Mass anyway before and until I am confirmed into the Church, assuming that will happen, but the question whether persons who have developed faith in the Church and not yet joined have an obligation to attend Sunday Mass still stands.

As always, thank you!

Duplicate thread.

I’m sorry, I don’t see that this is a duplicate thread. The one you have directed me to asks about exceptions, presumably for confirmed Catholics, to the Sunday obligation. It also challenges the doctrine of Sunday obligation on the basis that it seems to provide the wrong impetus for attending mass and asks for a response. Neither of these are my question. Am I missing something?

I am on the RCIA team at my parish, and the candidates and catechumens are encouraged to attend Mass every Sunday, but are not “obliged” to until they are confirmed (per the priests and deacons.) However, attending Mass is the best way to deepen your relationship with Christ and the Catholic Church.

I hope that answers your question. God bless you.

It is not a matter of whether one is confirmed or not, but rather whether one has been received into the Church or not. Those two things can happen together or separately.

That said, if you intend to be Catholic, you need to take up Catholic practice and that includes Mass. If you have begun receiving the RCIA rites, then I would suggest you also attend Mass weekly and Holy Days as well.

Confirmed or not, Church precept or not, hopefully one day (soon) you will come to see attendance of Mass something you intensely “want” to do, and not what you “have” to do.

Attending only out of a sense of obligation is counter to Matthew 5:20, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The Pharisees, on the surface, appeared devout in all their actions, but they were reacting to legalism rather than personal desire to serve and give glory to God.

Peace and all good!

It goes deeper than Mass attendance on Sunday, it is also on non-Sunday Holy Days of obligation and is also keeping all those day holy, in which way we become icons of Christ, as described in the Catechism this includes:1. giving witness in communal worship
2. performance of works of mercy
3. rest to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives[INDENT]a) care of family and relatives
b) reflection, etc., for growth of the Christian interior life
c) avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities
[/INDENT] 2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God’s holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
2183 “If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families.”

2184 Just as God “rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done,” human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord’s Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.
2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.
The charity of truth seeks holy leisure- the necessity of charity accepts just work.
2186 Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of their brethren who have the same needs and the same rights, yet cannot rest from work because of poverty and misery. Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life.
2187 Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord’s Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees.
2188 In respecting religious liberty and the common good of all, Christians should seek recognition of Sundays and the Church’s holy days.

Yes, you ought to begin taking up Catholic practices such as attending Mass;
Yes, hopefully you will attend because you want to and not just because you have to;
Yes, the obligation extends to Holy Days also

but in answer to the question you asked, I concur with the following:


Thanks all for your helpful replies! That clears it up and provides me with some good things to keep in mind.

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