“The Lord is near to all who call upon him(Ps.145).”
The “new” evangelization, the call to all of us to share in the Church’s role of proclaiming the faith, reminds us that we fulfill the role of evangelizers by walking with those who struggle, those who do not believe. Ours is not to browbeat or bombard them with clever challenges or Bible quotations. Just listen, share your own faith, and love them. That is what God does.
Non-Catholics who attend our funerals and weddings comment frequently on the beauty and mystery of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They feel the promptings of the Holy Spirit and are moved by the experience. Have you ever thought about inviting a non-Catholic friend to join you for Holy Mass? It may encourage them to learn more about the Faith, and maybe even become Catholic themselves!
The Mass can be confusing for non-Catholics. That’s why it’s so important to help guide them when they come with you, so they can have a better understanding of what happens in our church each Sunday! A great way to help non-Catholics to feel more at ease is by showing them how to follow the readings and responses in the “Breaking Bread” missalettes. Your friend can observe you to know when to kneel, sit, or stand.
An important rule to keep in mind is that non-Catholics cannot receive Holy Communion. Be sure to give your friend a courteous heads up so that they know they can remain in the pew while you go up to receive. 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. Although non-Catholics are not supposed to receive Communion, you can tell your friends that the Church encourages them to use this time to pray for unity among all Christians.
With prayerful best wishes,
Fr. John Mahoney