I’ve been going to mass and thinking about becoming a Catholic. As a non-Catholic and a newcomer, do I have the right to say the words and prayers at mass?

The liturgical celebrations of the Catholic Church – mass, morning and evening prayer, and other celebrations such as baptisms and weddings – are by definition communal celebrations. Thus they are always open to the community. Anyone who wishes may join us in prayer, whether or not he or she is Catholic or Christian.

As a newcomer, you are welcome to join your voice to ours in prayer and to respond out loud during the mass if you are inspired to do so and believe in the words that you say. If you decide that you wish to become Catholic, immediately before you celebrate the sacraments of initiation (baptism, confirmation and Eucharist) you will have a chance to make a public, official profession of Catholic Christian faith. However, you will already have begun to express that faith by joining in mass and by learning to pray the Christian prayers during your period of preparation.

Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.