Bringing a Non-Catholic Friend to Mass

10-08-2023Pastor's LetterVery Rev. Richard C. Wilson, VF, Pastor

Dear Friends in Christ,

So, you have friends, neighbors or relatives that you are hoping might become Catholic, what can you do? Well, first of all, pray for them. Include them in your rosary, pray for them at adoration and pray for them during the Mass. As the gifts are brought up, offer your intentions with those gifts.

Another effective action you can take is to simply invite them to Mass. Many never do this because they are not sure how to make the invitation or perhaps, they fear rejection. I would like to offer some suggestions on inviting friends or family to Mass.

When I was in Georgetown, I encountered many people who had six or seven decades of life on them and they had never been in a Catholic Church, much less attended a Catholic Mass. Invite your friends to come with you to Mass at a time when you think they might be available, perhaps the vigil Mass if they attend a Sunday service. Then ask them if they’ve ever been to a Catholic Mass. That will give you more background on their experience.

The Mass can be very confusing for a non-Catholic. You might offer them a Daily Roman Missal, a copy of the Magnificat or other devotional where they will be able to follow along with the Mass. Also, you can certainly whisper what is happening at key points throughout the Mass. And of course, be sure to tell them that they can do everything that Catholics do in the Mass, except receive Holy Communion.

You might give your friend a courteous heads’ up so that they know they can remain in the pew while you go up to receive communion or they can approach the priest with arms crossed and receive a special blessing. Before they actually attend the Mass, you can explain that the Eucharist is not a symbol—but the actual Body and Blood of Christ—and that to receive Jesus in Holy Communion requires preparation beforehand and total adherence to everything that the Catholic Church teaches. (Most people will readily understand that they don’t want to partake and demonstrate union with the Church and adherence to her teachings if they don’t fully believe in them!)

It would be good also, if you can go out for supper with your friend or better yet, invite them for a meal in your home. In your conversation, you should not be pushy, but rather answer any questions that are asked.

Above all, pray, be warm, inviting and relaxed. The sheer beauty of the Mass will speak volumes to them. At funeral Masses, the Protestants who attend invariably speak of how beautiful the Mass was. Indeed, the Mass is a treasure....a treasure that should be shared!

All the best…in Christ,

Father Wilson