• Images
  • Text
  • Find a Couple + Registry
GO
Catholic Weddings

NWR question from a non-Catholic

I'm going to visit DH's Catholic aunt and uncle in May.  I'll be there over the weekend, so I'll attend Mass with them.  I know I can't take Communion since I'm not Catholic, but I was wondering if  I'm supposed to remain in the pew or if I go up and receive a blessing or something.  Is there anything else in which I cannot participate as a non-Catholic? 

I was going to ask DH's aunt an uncle, but then I got worried that since they've been attending as Catholics for so long, they wouldn't remeber what non-Catholics are supposed to do.

Almost forgot attire.  In the summer I usually wear a dress and cardigan to church (I attend an Episcopal church).  If I get warm, I take off the cardigan.  I usually don't get warm, but just in case...Is it ok for me to wear something sleeveless in Mass?  Not spaghetti straps (no bra straps showing!) and certainly nothing strapless.

Thanks for your help!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Re: NWR question from a non-Catholic

  • Tami87Tami87 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited April 2012
    It kind of depends on the church and what they are used to. Many churches are prepared for anyone to come forward and receive a blessing instead of communion. You simply cross your arms in front of your chest to indicate not to give you communion. Although, FI has run into issues of Eucharistic ministers not knowing what to do when has done this in the past when he hasn't had a chance to go to confession before mass and didn't feel he should receive communion. If I am not going to receive communion I usually prefer to just stay in the pew. I generally get up and let people out so they don't have to crawl over me and then sit back down.

    As for participating in anything else, it should be completely fine. Just participate to your comfort level. Most churches still have cards with the new responses so that should make it easy to follow along.

    As for attire, again this can depend on the church and the members. I generally try to keep my shoulders covered in church and would keep my cardigan on, but there may be plenty of other people at mass who do not. I would wear what you feel comfortable in.
    image
  • edited April 2012
    Hello!

    On the attire, you might check with the aunt to be sure.  I would say no bare shoulders, but I wore a strapless wedding gown, so that's a bit hypocritical of me.  However, some churches have more stringent guidelines than others, and they may be "unspoken."

    About communion, you are welcome to go up and get a blessing, but understand that only the ordained (read: priests, deacons, etc.) are supposed to give blessings.  Many EMs will give them, but before I was Catholic, whenever I would give the sign for receiving a blessing to an EM, they would get this sort of pained look on their face and just pat me on the shoulder.  I just got into the habit of watching who was serving communion to my "line."  If it was the priest, I'd go.  If it was an EM, I'd just stay in the pew.

    And I don't think there's anything else you can't do.
    Anniversary

    image

    image

  • Regarding going up and getting a blessing: If I were you, I certainly would just stay in my pew because (semi-rhetorical question,) if you don't believe in the Catholic faith, then why would you believe that there are any special graces or benefits from receiving a blessing from a Catholic priest? Plus, 5 minutes after Communion, the entire congregation receives a special blessing from the priest.
    Anniversary
    ILoveBeachMusic
  • Tami87Tami87 member
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Comments 25 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited April 2012
    In Response to Re: NWR question from a non-Catholic:
    [QUOTE]Many EMs will give them, but before I was Catholic, whenever I would give the sign for receiving a blessing to an EM, they would get this sort of pained look on their face and just pat me on the shoulder.
    Posted by professorscience[/QUOTE]

    I asked FI about this because he used to serve as a EM at our undergrad church and I wondered about EM's giving blessings. The priest there apparently instructed them all what to do if someone comes forward for a blessing. Apparently they did not actually give a blessing but essentially prayed for the person. But they were all prepared for this situation. Now it seems that many of the EMs at the church we attend have no clue what crossing your arms means and try to give you communion anyway.
    image
  • In Response to Re: NWR question from a non-Catholic:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: NWR question from a non-Catholic : I asked FI about this because he used to serve as a EM at our undergrad church and I wondered about EM's giving blessings. The priest there apparently instructructed them all what to do if someone comes forward for a blessing. Apparently they did not actually give a blessing but essentially prayed for the person. But they were all prepared for this situation. Now it seems that many of the EMs at the church we attend have no clue what crossing your arms means and try to give you commuion anyway.
    Posted by Tami87[/QUOTE]

    At the churches I've regularly attended (ours and my ILs'), most of the time they'll say, "God bless you" and move on.  But yeah, other times they're like, "Uhhhhhhhh......."
    Anniversary

    image

    image

  • [QUOTE]Now it seems that many of the EMs at the church we attend have no clue what crossing your arms means and try to give you commuion anyway.
    Posted by Tami87[/QUOTE]
    [head -- /> desk, head --> desk...] one more (sad) reason that perhaps non-Catholics and Catholics who are not prepared to receive should just stay in the pews...
    Anniversary
  • In Response to Re: NWR question from a non-Catholic:
    [QUOTE][head -- /> desk, head -- /> desk...] one more (sad) reason that perhaps non-Catholics and Catholics who are not prepared to receive should just stay in the pews...
    Posted by lalaith50[/QUOTE]

    Also reduce the overuse of EMs and TRAIN THEM PROPERLY if you do need them!
  • Thanks, ladies!  I'll stay in the pew and pack some skirts and short sleeve tops.

    As for why I would want to go up for a blessing from a Catholic priest, I don't see it as different (for me) from receiving a blessing in another church.  To me it's still a blessing from a Christian leader.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
  • I'm from Brooklyn and I never even heard of going up for a blessing until I started reading these boards. I've never seen anyone do it. I feel if I did that even the priest wouldn't know what I was doing! (I could be wrong though) So it also might be a regional thing.

    When I can't receive I just stay in the pew.
  • Going up for a blessing is currently under study by the church, but they discourage the practice currently.
  • Giving blessings to non-receivers during mass was just a practice that a few priests began and it kind of caught on.  It was never sanctioned by the Church.  If I can't receive, I stay in the pew.

    And EMHC's cannot give blessings because it is against canon law for a lay person to give a blessing during mass.

    Just saying.

    SaveSave
  • In Response to Re: NWR question from a non-Catholic:
    [QUOTE]Giving blessings to non-receivers during mass was just a practice that a few priests began and it kind of caught on.  It was never sanctioned by the Church.  If I can't receive, I stay in the pew. And EMHC's cannot give blessings because it is against canon law for a lay person to give a blessing during mass. Just saying.
    Posted by monkeysip[/QUOTE]

    Right.  And it's not just that they don't know this, but I think a lot of them that I've encountered don't want to turn someone away, so they end up in a kind of bad spot when someone comes up (especially kids).  The first time I got any kind of "bad response" from an EMHC, I asked H about it and he said, "Well, they're not allowed to give blessings."  "WHAT?!  Why didn't you tell me?!"
    Anniversary

    image

    image

  • Going up was originally designed as a form of spiritual communion for those, like RCIA candidates and catechumen, who genuinely desire to be one with the Church, but cannot for good reason. It sort of caught on for the crowd and was fed by the everyone goes to communion mentality that permeates the American Church.

    As an EMHC, we are very clearly told that we are not offering a blessing to a person who comes forward with their arms crossed. We are to say "receive the Lord Jesus in your heart," which reflects the spiritual communion that it should be. As such, I don't know why someone who does not seek spiritual communion would want such a "blessing." FWIW, I've heard this throughout my diocese, so it could well be a diocean order that is certainly contained in our EMHC training.

    I also think that sometimes we use the word "to bless" in a very cultural sense meaning something like "to wish someone well." This is opposed to the Church's sense of the word which is a very specific, ministerial task to ask God to give good to the person being blessed. So, I might describe what happens in the communion line a blessing for lack of a better word (and some might give actual blessings like "God bless you" mentioned above), but formally, I recognize that it is not.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards