Visitors expectations at mass

I’m trying to make a list or a paragraph form type thing… :stuck_out_tongue: for visitors at my church.

Basically what visitors should expect at mass. just the typical stuff.
how they can participate or if they even have to and simple explanation as to what may be happening during the mass… how they should dress etc…
Can someone help me with this… if there is a website with such information that’s be great.

I know a lot of people design wedding programs with this kind of information if they expect some of their guests not to know what’s going on. I didn’t find any in a brief Google search, but it might be worth a try.

I think this is wonderful. Best of luck.
I too did not find much in a quick check on line but will offer a couple of suggestions.

Basically what visitors should expect at mass. just the typical stuff.
how they can participate or if they even have to and simple explanation as to what may be happening during the mass…

If there is an EF parish in your area, you might stop by there and see if they have “missalettes” in the back. This might give you some pointers.
Otherwise, I’d suggest something along the lines of -
Liturgy of The Word

  1. The mass is the highest form of praise, having as it’s center the Real presenced of Christ in the Eucharist…
    You are welcome to participate in all the songs and prayers offered. Books are provided in the pews (I assume) that can help to guide you.
    The only part of the mass that you may not participate in is communion. This is reserved only for those who are fully initiated into The Church. When others go up to receive, just remain in the pew, either kneeling or standing.
  2. Mass begins with a song and opening prayers, asking God’s forgiveness etc.
  3. Next comes Bible readings (2 on Weekdays and 3 on Sundays) acclamations of praise from the Psalms are also sung.
  4. Sermon - The Priest gives a lesson
  5. Petitions
  6. Creed
    Liturgy of the Eucharist
  7. Offetory - song and gifts taken forward (collection at Sunday mass, feel free to give or not)
  8. Prayer over Gifts leading up to
  9. Consecration - When you hear the words, “On the night He was betrayed…” this begins the consecration, the transformation of the bread and wine into the Body, Blood Soul and divinity of Christ. ONe of the most solumn moments in the mass. This section ends when you hear, “Let us proclaim the mystery…”

Sorry I seem to be writing it for you…:smiley:

how they should dress etc…

Just make a quick introduction including mass times, and a very general dress code as a starter. They will quickly see how others dress.

Can someone help me with this… if there is a website with such information that’s be great.

I don’t think you are going to end up with a “paragraph” but then I may not fully understand what you are striving for. In any event I think it is a wonderful idea and I wish you the best of luck.


I’m not quite sure what it is you want. Maybe you could explain a bit more.

Meanwhile, I like David MacDonald on the Mass.

Scroll far down the page. He also has biblical refrences for each part of the Mass. He then goes into detail.

The Mass can be roughly divided into 4 sections which can be summed up in one word each:

1.Come - We come together in Mass as one Body, gathering before our Lord
2.Listen - Listening to the Bible readings, the Word of our Lord and Homily
3.Do - Praying and participating in the Eucharist, becoming One with Him
4.Go - The sendoff where we bring this message to all the world

I also love this explanation of the Mass, but it is way more than a paragraph. :slight_smile:

A Very Simple Guide to the Catholic Mass

I have an 11X17 tri-fold “brochure” from Our Lady of Lourdes CC in Daytona Beach Fla. It as a guide to the Mass that explains what is going on. It supplements the missal. It seems like it would be geared towards non-Catholics, but I am sure it a good refresher of the Catechism for all Catholics.

Google the Parish and they might be able to e-mail it to you.

While this is a useful and kind thing to do, I firmly believe we should first make sure the priest should know what to do during the liturgy/Mass when visitors are present:
He should say the Mass according to the rubrics and texts so visiting Catholics are not confused. Changing the words of the Our Father (and other prayers, especially the Eucharistic Prayer) to be sensitive to Protestant visitors is the sign of a self-hating Catholic who certainly should NOT be saying Mass; ditto for telling everyone to sit during the Eucharistic Prayer and inviting all to receive communion. - I have seen all of these!

What visitors should expect is a Catholic liturgy (probably Mass in most cases) according to Catholic rules and regulations, texts and rubrics. My experience is that is what Catholic and non-Catholic visitors expect but too often do not experience.

As to what to say - explain:

  1. The Mass is a re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary - it’s one and the same NOT ANOTHER sacrifice made present at Mass through the power of God.
  2. Christ becomes substantially present in the elements of bread and wine that fully become His Body Blood Soul and Divinity - since this is what we believe and many do not believe that, Communion is restricted.
  3. We participate fully, body (senses, mind, heart, digestive tract) and soul:
    Sight: we see the ritual, vestments, paraments, Altar, sacred vessels, etc.;
    Smell: we smell the incense and candles representing our prayers, His burning love for us and the sweet fragrance of His love;
    Hearing: We hear His Word, the prayers and bells;
    Taste: we taste the sacred Body and Blood under the appearance of bread and wine;
    Touch: we feel the Holy Water, the touch of the Host on our hands/tongue and Precious Blood on our tongue and the Chalice in our hands; we stand, sit and kneel at different times to express our devotion by our entire body.

We hear His Word, hear the Homily, listening and saying with understanding according to our abilities and His revelation, etc.

We are drawn to love Him and all humanity as He loved us in His eternal sacrifice of love for us.

Digestive tract:
We become one flesh with Him - or perhaps better - he allows Himself to become one flesh with us.

This is the immanent experience of the transcendent God! The intersection of the Eternal God with time-bound humanity today.

Beyond that - give them the prayers, tell what to do and go forth to Love and Serve the Lord! Ite Missa est!

Thanks everyone I’ll take all this into consideration… I just want something perfect for Father to review and we’ll see :stuck_out_tongue: thanks again :smiley: and any more suggestions are welcomed :slight_smile:

If you don’t find anything on line I would suggest beginning with an outline of what you want to express and also an idea of how long you think the overall piece should be.
Someone said they had an 11x17 piece, I assume printed on both sides. This would mean 4 pages and I think probably about as small as one could make it and include the necessary basics in a format that is easy to read and attractive.

An outline of quick statements or “headings” would allow you to see how much you are trying to convey and how it might be organized to be brief and prevent overlap and repetition.

Just a couple of quick thoughts.


What a great idea! Such a handout should be put in the pews as well as at the entrance to the church.

My advice: keep it short, short, short. Make it welcoming and non-threatening. Leave out the dress code. Visitors aren’t going to go home, change their clothes, and return. They’ll notice what others are wearing.

Let them know they’re free to do what everyone else does or to sit and observe, either is fine.

Do include the standard guidelines for communion, although they’re in the missalettes, visitors who aren’t familiar with the Catholic church may not see them there.

In some parishes, those who don’t receive communion may come up for a blessing (I don’t agree with this but that is beside the point). If your parish is one that does not, be sure the guidelines say what to do at communion time. For example, “For those who will not be receiving communion today, please remain in your seat.” Otherwise, visitors may come up for a blessing to the discomfort and/or confusion of the priest or EMHC. If your parish is one that does this, briefly explain the procedure. Those wishing a blessing should go to the priest, since the EMHCs have no authority to give a blessing.

It might be helpful to include where in the missalette to find the prayers of the mass.

My feeling is that this visitors’ handout should not contain an explanation of what the mass is. At the most, only one sentence. Let the mass speak for itself.

It would also be helpful to have little pamphlets available at the entrance of the church explaining what the mass is, the parts, and the history. Good ones can be purchased or the parish could print its own.

It would be a good idea, at the end of the flyer, to put a statement such as: St. ______ church welcomes visitors of all faiths to worship with us at Mass at any time. Anyone wishing to sign up for classes to learn more about the Catholic church may do so by calling _________. Newcomers who want to register in the parish should ___. If you would like to be visited by a member of our evangelization team, please contact.

Our parishes do have evangelization teams, don’t they? Well, I’ve never known one that did, but it strikes me as a good idea.

My response here is really pointless because I can’t find the brochure that we had printed for the TLM for visitors. It was quite good. A few paragraphs explaining what they would be seeing.
If I find it I’ll post.

Okay so some of yall said not to mention dress code specifically hmmm but how about something like this…

Since we do come to worship and encounter our God in the Holy Mass, certain dress code should be followed. Some churches follow a strict dress code while others may not. The common rule for all, however, should be modest nice clothing. You can judge how you are best clothed to see the Lord your God.”

Note that although this is for my church i need to make something that can be used for visitors that may not always come to my church… our church doesn’t follow a STRICT dress code but Father has to once in a while remind us where we’re at and how we should dress… a couple times he has mentioned the covering of the “cleavage” and you could just sense many woman in their pews adjusting their shirts pulling them upwards hahaha :stuck_out_tongue:

I think it sounds just great. :thumbsup:
Keep it simple.
I really like how you bring in the idea of dressing in the presence of the “Lord your God”.

If I were to make any change it would be perhaps to use a different phrase than “dress code” which sound a bit “Lawish”. Perhaps substitute “certain mode of dress should be followed…”

I’ve always thought of church as being Christ’s “throne room”. This always gives me a sense how I should dress to enter there.
Just a couple of suggestions, thoughts.


But if the welcome handout is for visitors, they are already there in the church wearing what they are wearing. At most, a note at the end suggesting the appropriate dress for repeat visitors might be OK. It would be unkind to make a visitor feel out of place because of what he/she happens to be wearing. That’s not showing hospitality. I’m sensitive to this because not everyone who comes to my parish is well to do. Clean and modest is all I hope for from some.

I think it would be better to have available a more comprehensive pamphlet about the mass and mention the dress code there. Or your church could have a small sign at the entrance (some churches in Rome have them I hear). Something like: Welcome to the Lord’s house. We ask that you dress modestly to show respect.

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