Why I Skipped Mass Today

I skipped Mass at school today. I’ve never done that before. Mass is of course an important event at Catholic schools and I do want to be supportive of it. But I’ve come to a point where the lack of inclusivity of the celebration of the Eucharist has become painful for me. I was raised in a Methodist church which also considers the Eucharist to be very important. In fact in the Methodist church the Eucharist is typically celebrated only monthly because it is so important. The idea I was taught was that it was too important to be taken casually or habitually so was done less often to keep it special.

I don’t have a big problem with daily Mass and Eucharist but I do have issue with the limits placed on recipients in the Catholic church. There is a line in the Mass that goes “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” Apparently though not being a member of the Catholic church is not healed by this prayer. On the other hand the invitation to Communion that my father (an ordained Methodist minister) read was:

Ye that do truly and earnestly repent of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbors, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways: Draw near with faith, and take this Holy Sacrament to your comfort, and make your humble confession to almighty God.

Methodist church membership, or any church membership for that matter, was not required. That is the open Communion I grew up with and which, to me, feels more like what Christ would have (does) want. Communion is very important to me. It is probably the single most important worship event I can take part in. Being excluded while others worship in that way hurts.

4 Responses to “Why I Skipped Mass Today”

  1. Diane Zeluff says:

    Alfred I have felt this way about Catholic Communion for a very long time. I believe that only God knows our heart and if we want to take Communion in the Catholic Church it should be between myself and God.
    We Protestant Christians are not less than any one who is Catholic. We are all the same in God’s eyes. It is a dam shame that some Catholic Priests and Lay people do not see it that way. However there are many Catholic Priests who do embrace non Catholics and serve Communion to all in the Congregation.

  2. Dolly Soucy says:

    Alfred it was painful just reading your effort to express a very important point, how does one judge who the Lord decides to invited to his table. The Catholic Church has long lost their way to inclusivity, I still in prayer our new Pope is more progressive in his leadership. My Mom shared your pain during Mass.

  3. Richard Thompson says:

    I have participated at Mass on several occasions. I remember a time when my dad was just diagnosed with ALS twenty years ago. I went to the 10:00 PM Mass here at the Newman Center in Berkeley, CA. I had decided not to go forward to receive the Eucharist out of respect for Catholic doctrine. As others went forward I had the experience of the Holy Spirit saying, “This is for you, I am for you”. With tears I went forward and experienced the presence of God in a way I never had before. My experience that night changed my view of the Eucharist, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus. I commune on Him in my heart by faith.

    The over riding question is whether Christ’s table is an open table or not. I believe it is. Catholic doctrine states otherwise, except in specific circumstances. As a good Protestant I believe they are wrong and act accordingly.

  4. Only 2.5 years late…

    I once participated in Mass by mistake. My father-in-law died at Catholic Medical Center. Shortly after that, we received an invitation to a memorial mass, which the hospital does monthly for all the people who died there during the month. So far, so good.

    We all went to the mass, and there was no point in the proceedings at which it was obvious to me that I should excuse myself for being Protestant. Nor was anything said about Catholics only (though I had heard the rule at some point). So I find myself standing in front of a priest intent on popping a wafer in my mouth. Okay, I’m game. I probably even said a prayer beforehand, along the lines of “‘Scuse me!” But I had always been _handed_ the wafer before. Not having any technique ready, I…

    Well, I bit the priest.

    He did the best possible thing: he ignored it.

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