WHAT TO EXPECT


What IS A CATHOLIC SERVICE (MASS) LIKE?

Catholics worship God in a variety of ways, but our chief act of communal worship is a service you'll here us call “Mass,” an English word derived from the Latin text of the priest’s dismissal at the end of the liturgy (“Ite, missa est.“).

Sunday Mass includes prayers, hymns, readings from the Bible, a sermon (also called a “homily”), and the Eucharist (Holy Communion).

It is easy to find entertainment in today’s world. Mass is something different: a place to contemplate and pray; a place to bring the sufferings and joys of daily life to our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

HOW LONG IS MASS?

A weekend celebration of Mass usually lasts right around 60 minutes. You are encouraged to stay until the priest and other ministers process out of church.

 

HOW SHOULD I DRESS?

As a visitor, you are our honored guest — please dress as you are comfortable. Some people wear suits and business attire to Sunday worship while others dress more casually.

 

DO I HAVE TO IDENTIFY MYSELF AS A VISITOR?

Nope, you're free to remain completely anonymous. We will not ask you to raise your hand or be identified in any way. However, if you would like get connected to our community, we encourage you to visit our "Welcome Table" in the gathering space just outside of the main sanctuary to fill out a "connection card" and meet our clergy, staff, and other members.
 

DO I NEED TO BRING ANYTHING?

Bring a heart open to hearing the Word of God! Readings from Scripture and our songs can be found on the screen and in the books in the pew.

 

HOW DO I KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON?

Attending Mass for the first time can be intimidating or even confusing, but don’t worry! Relax, reflect on the sights and sounds, take time to pray in your own words, and listen to the Word of God.

If you would like to read along with the prayers or Bible readings at Mass, books in the pews contain almost all of the texts. We also display the prayers on a screen. However, one doesn’t need to follow along – if you’re comfortable, just listen and pray along in your own words.

 

DO I NEED TO GIVE TO THE COLLECTION?

The collection is used to support the various ministries of the church, including charitable outreach. Occasionally, a second collection will be taken for a missionary or some other need. Neither visitors nor registered members are required to give. Those who do decide to give may place their contribution in the collection baskets which are passed person-to-person down each pew. Alternatively, one may donate electronically via the giving kiosk in the entry space of the church or here on our website (see “Give” button at top right of the menu).

 

DO I HAVE TO HOLD/Shake hands with people?

When praying the Lord’s Prayer — the Our Father — many will choose to hold hands as a sign of unity. Following the prayer we exchange a sign of peace. This is usually a handshake or, between couples and families, a kiss or hug. If you are not comfortable with these physical gestures, you are not obligated to participate. A friendly smile is just fine!

 

CAN I RECEIVE COMMUNION?

The basic condition for receiving the Eucharist is to be able to honestly say “Amen” to the Catholic faith with integrity of one’s belief and actions. Practically speaking, non-Catholics are not able to receive Communion in the Catholic Church. (If you would like to become Catholic, click here for more information.)

Receiving Communion acknowledges both our faith in Christ as well as our union with the apostolic teaching of the Church. The Catholic Church longs for the fulfillment of Jesus’ prayer “that they may all be one” (John 17:21). We grieve the division within the Body of Christ, because division is contrary to the will of Christ, Who is the Head of the Church. These divisions in teaching and community are real, the sad result of human sin. Because of these divisions, those who are not one in the unity of the faith should not receive Communion at Mass. Rather, we and all Christians are called to see other means to work towards the true unity in Christ that will allow us to all come to the table together.

Catholics not in a state of serious sin and members of various other Orthodox churches are welcome to join us in Communion. We use real wine, and we believe that God’s grace transforms the bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. In First Corinthians 11:27-28, Paul writes, “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” Through Confession, Christ offers healing and conversion — reconciliation between not just you and God, but between you and the entire Body of Christ. If you’re Catholic and not sure about receiving Communion, make time for the healing Sacrament of Reconciliation.