Thoughts on taking the kids to Episcopalian mass?

I have two preschool-age children who attend an Episcopal school, because there are no Catholic preschools in my area. It’s a good school and even though affiliated with the Episcopal Church, it’s really more of a non-denominational Christian school. The director is Catholic, actually.

My daughter asked me if we could go to mass at the Episcopal church some day, mostly just because she’s curious how it differs from our mass.

I went to an Episcopalian mass once before. It was a tiny rural town with only two churches: Catholic and Episcopal. The pastors decided to promote interfaith dialogue by inviting the congregations to attend the other church one weekend, and I went. Their mass was more different from ours than I expected, but there was nothing I found surprising.

I’ve been thinking of taking the kids to the Episcopal church just to let them experience a different form of Christianity.

Anybody have any thoughts or suggestions? Good or bad idea? Any conversation points for before or after mass?

It’s perfectly okay to take your pre-school children to an Episcopal service if you don’t neglect your Sunday obligation to do so and don’t receive their communion. I’d only wonder if, at their age, they would be able to discern why we don’t worship with/like the Episcopalians. Is that kind of discussion at bit beyond them at their age? And you don’t want them thinking that if they like the Episcopal service better than Mass that it would be all right for them to skip Mass for it. We don’t judge truth by what pleases us, after all. Of course, only you can judge how your children would react and what the consequences might be. :slight_smile:


It is technically OK. They could get the wrong message. In your shoes, I wouldn’t, but only you know your children well enough to weigh the risks.

I wouldn’t have a problem with it if I were in your situation, and I’d also make sure to take them to Catholic Mass to fulfill our obligation, and have an open discussion about it. At their young age, it’s not likely to raise any insurmountable questions or leave them entirely wishing to leave the Catholic faith for the Episcopalian.

And I understand the need to find a preschool you trust. We were fortunate enough to find one at a nearby parish. There are only a handful that will take children as young as this parish took ours, but it’s left lasting blessings. If it weren’t so expensive ($11k annually per child) we’d still have them there.

I would not do it for a couple of reasons. 1st, it is a sin against the first commandment to do so. They do not have a valid Eucharist. We do not go to Church for community sake, we go for Christ. If the church does not have the valid Eucharist then how could you ever be giving God the proper worship He is owed?! Lets not forget they will also not have other valid Sacraments, because they do not have a valid priesthood! 2nd, it can give scandal to others since as a Catholic you profess a faith in the One, Holy, Catholic Church, which for Christians who know this, there can be now other path to salvation outside of the Catholic Church. Your presence at an Episcopal Church gives the impression that the two churches are equal which they are not and never will be. 3rd, why would you allow your kids to investigate a church which could harm their Catholic faith and expose them to a heretical form a Christianity, putting their very salvation at risk? Lastly, I hardly doubt a preschooler knows enough of their own faith to be able to understand the liturgical and theological difference between the two.

I think this is a bad idea. Just because your kids are curious does not me you should indulge their curiosity.

Agreed. This kind of thing happens to a lot of people…they go to other churches in with the intent of promoting dialog, but soon, they erroneously begin to believe that all church are the same…we all worship the same God, etc. etc. which is a dangerous and slippery slope.
As your kids get older, they are going to want to try all kinds of things. Now is the time to decide that you are making big decisions, not them. Time enough when they get older to loosen the reins.
You are the primary catechists of your children. Teach them well. Teach them we love people of other faiths a brothers and sisters in Christ, but you are Catholic. You attend the one true church.
God bless.

Hi trryan5. Two thoughts come to mind: first, just as we Catholics would be very happy to see an Episcopalian visiting one of our masses (without receiving communion of course) so too I am sure that Episcopalians would be happy to see you.

Second is that some Catholics would see an Episcopalian-attending-Catholic-mass as a first step toward him/her becoming Catholic, so I can only imagine that some Episcopalians have the same idea in reverse. I don’t mean to say “You shouldn’t visit the Episcopal parish (even once)”, just to be prepared.

Well I think it’s fine, but I might be biased. :wink:

How different it is really depends on the individual Episcopalian church. The Book of Common Prayer allows significant customization beyond the basics, and the 1979 BCP is in several ways pretty closely modeled on the RC Ordinary Form (OF) albeit with some Anglican twists. Some Episcopalian churches are fairly indistinguishable in outward appearance from RC churches. Vestments on the presider may range from practically indistinguishable from an RC priest to a plainer and have a more basic feel where the priest may only vest in traditional “choir dress” with a stole.

Ironically, more Episcopalian churches have features like altar rails that have disappeared from many RC churches in the US. The Anglican English vernacular hymnody tends to be different (and again, actually more “traditional” at times) than what is typically played in RC churches in the US.

Most of the differences will probably be lost on a pre-school age child. The theological points will certainly be. Of what a child might notice, there may be a female priest or deacon. That would definitely catch their attention. An Episcopal Church will always offer both the Body and Blood together at Communion where this may not be done consistently at an RC church. Most Episcopalian churches don’t have statues and most (but certainly not all) do not reserve the Holy Eucharist in a tabernacle. The Body and Blood tend not to be elevated during consecration (the BCP only requires hands be put on). They may use leavened or unleavened bread. Intinction or self-intinction is also common.

Matthew 18: 20.

I think the most noticeable difference will be in the music. Most Episcopal parishes don’t have ‘folk masses’ or pianos or guitars. Even small Episcopal churches will strive to have a pipe organ and pay the organist handsomely.

I was Episcopalian before conversion and I have never seen an Episcopal church where the Blessed Sacrament was not reserved. Maybe not in a tabernacle on the altar but in an aumbry hanging from the wall with a sanctuary light nearby. Elevation, some do and only a few don’t.

A motley crew indeed.

Concur; my work bears fruit.

Also concur on the reservation and elevation.


I couldn’t help remembering that a number of very senior Catholic clergy attended the service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s for the Queen’s diamond jubilee; and the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Westminster Abbey – where they joined, apparently cheerfully, in singing the words of the heretic Charles Wesley; and the enthronement in Canterbury Cathedral of the Archbishop of Canterbury – where the Archbishop (now Cardinal Archbishop) of Westminster read from 2 Corinthians. None of them seemed to have their fingers crossed or, at least outwardly, to be concerned that they were in sin or might be causing scandal to others.

Some of these things really do differ a lot by which Episcopalian churches you’ve been to. There is simply far more latitude afforded to the decisions of the local rector/pastor and the vestry. There is no GIRM; just the basics in the BCP and the canons which don’t get far into the mechanics. My church reserves the sacrament only a few times a year (most notably for Good Friday) and there is no permanent tabernacle or aumbry. There also is minimal or no elevation depending on the celebrant. The rest would probably be characterized as “high church” worship.

The idea of a regular folk or guitar mass would be completely foreign to most Episcopalian churches, I’ll give you that. All but the smallest Episcopalian churches tend to have a low and high service on Sundays, so if you don’t care for music, don’t go to the high service.

Dude! They asked us not to tell Credo in Deum that they did that!

oops, sorry! I do feel a fool!


What does your Rector or maybe Vicar do to give Holy Communion to the ill? Does he celebrate an entire Mass every time with no reserved sacrament? That sounds very inconvinient.

I have only been to High Church parishes in the dioceses of the Rio Grande (New Mexico) and Northwest Texas. That is mostly all that exists in those dioceses.

As for early masses, I have only been during the bad old days when 8AM was the only Mass three Sundays of the month with Morning Prayer the rest of the Sundays. I dislike rising at the crack of dawn, especially on a Sunday. Besides I am in no rush to hit the links, and I actually enjoy the hymns, service music and organ voluntaries. :slight_smile:

Well Eucharist is celebrated several days a week, so having the sacrament readily available to distribute to the sick or homebound isn’t actually a big deal or too inconvenient. Also we use home-baked bread exclusively on Sundays so reservation of that for any length of time is impractical anyway.

We use the term rector and priest, or Rev. and Fr. terms interchangeably. I can’t say I’ve met anyone ordained in the U.S. that went by the title vicar, personally. (We do have one female priest and I think she would bop you over the head if you called her mother (or a priestess!). :eek: )

I prefer early services during the hot months (we don’t have air conditioning - 1869 building). I do enjoy the singing and music too, though. It helps that Anglicanism has 400 years of an English vernacular hymnody to draw on; the English RC vernacular hymnody is just way more limited by comparison. Some of what gets sung in even very orthodox-seeming RC churches frankly surprises me. But that’s a different thread.

A rector heads a parish, and a vicar is in charge of a mission. I did not know if you were in a parish or mission so I said both. No big deal :).

There a quite a few missions in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, a mission is small and cannot support itself financially. Not too many Episcopalians live in New Mexico, not that many people really. The only large town in the state is Albequerque.

How can you go some place so morally corrupt it is a church founded on murder and adultery and currently promotes sodomy and baby killing the place scares me. It would never darken the door because it looks so similar but is so different

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