Blog Archives

Can RCIA Candidates go to Daily Mass?

Can RCIA Candidates go to Daily Mass

In reviewing my website analytics, I discovered that someone came across my blog after typing this question into Google. I just wanted to provide a big old YES! You can most definitely attend any type of mass as an RCIA candidate or even as a non-Catholic. The only thing you cannot participate in is receiving the Eucharist.

While I was in RCIA, I attended daily mass quite often. I learned SO much from the homilies and was inspired to learn more on a variety of different topics. I always chose to go up and receive a blessing from the priest during mass, though if you are uncomfortable, you don’t need to do that. I always looked at it as I’ll take any and all blessings I can get :).

If you choose to go up, just cross your arms over your chest and the priest will know you would like to receive a blessing instead of communion. Or alternately, you can just stand in the pew and wave others past you. Catholics do not receive communion if they feel they have committed a mortal sin, as we must be in a worthy state to receive, so you likely will not be alone in not receiving the Eucharist.

One other note, I felt daily mass was confusing at first, as it seemed different to me than Sunday mass. It is a shortened form and sometimes they choose alternate versions of some of the things we speak aloud. Find a guide to the mass and bring it along. You may also want to pick up guidebook outside the chapel or church or get yourself a missal, which has the daily readings, as well as the Entrance Antiphon, which we say at the beginning of mass, and the Communion Antiphon, which we say at the end of mass. Just follow along with everyone else and after a few weeks, you’ll have it down pat.

Got other questions about RCIA? Shout! I would love to help.

13 Things to Do After RCIA to Keep Your Catholic Faith on Fire

13 Ways to Keep Your Faith on Fire After RCIA via @ACatholicNewbie

Note: This post contains affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission to support the Catholic Newbie blog if you make purchases through these links. Thank you!

So you spent the last nine months of your life going to weekly sessions to learn all about the Catholic faith, attending weekly mass and receiving special blessings. You got through the nerve-wracking first reconciliation and you made it through the long Easter Vigil finally confirmed in the faith and an official member of the Catholic church.

Congratulations! Joining the Catholic church is not an easy process, nor should it be. We only want you to join the Body of Christ if you’re truly passionate about Jesus Christ and “thirsty” for best way to life out your faith.

For more Catholic Newbie posts, subscribe by email:

Many of us Catholic “newbies” (as I like to call us :)) are zealous for all things Catholicism, especially at first. We’re so excited at this jewel we have discovered in the Church that we want to learn all we can and tell everyone who will listen to us all about it. But like new love, sometimes that excitement wears off. I’ve got 13 things you can do to keep your faith on fire and make sure that come next Easter you haven’t fizzled out.

13 Things to Do After RCIA to Keep Your Catholic Faith on Fire

1) Go on a Silent Retreat

First, you need to start your Catholic life with prayer. I started the tradition of a yearly silent retreat before I joined the church and I’ve found it so beneficial to help me discern next steps in life. Check your diocese or one nearby for retreat houses or monasteries that offer a day’s silent retreat. You can often choose to spend at least one night if you’d like, as well, and it’s always a very minimal cost less than $40.

Turn off all electronics and just check in periodically for emergencies and try to be as silent as possible. Pray the rosary, visit the chapel (if one is available) in silent meditation, walk the grounds, pray the Stations of the Cross if available, read the Bible, read spiritual books and record your thoughts in a journal. LISTEN to God and you’ll be amazed at the direction you receive in silence and prayer.

2) Make Prayer Part of Daily Life

I always feel myself slipping away when I get busy and end up sacrificing my prayer time. I’d suggest praying as close to the start of your day as you can (for parents it may be after the kids go to school or before they wake up). Consider praying the Liturgy of the Hours (you’ll find them in the free Laudate app available on smartphones), pray the rosary, offer your day’s work to the Lord that it may work for His will, and pray any prayers that are special to you (perhaps to your confirmation saint or Mary or other prayers you love). I also try to remember to stop at noon and pray the Angelus (a short prayer to Mary that the Pope prays daily), as well as offer a closing prayer as I go to sleep.

3) Begin Praying the Rosary

You might start by adding the rosary once a week on a set day and see how it works in your life. Once I started praying it weekly, I quickly wanted to pray it daily. However, I mostly pray my rosary decade by decade throughout the day however I can. I may pray the opening as I take the dog for a walk, pray two more decades at noon, pray another two in the shower at the end of the day and finish as I go to sleep. My advice, though, is to get started early otherwise the day will get away from you and you’ll be too tired to pray the whole thing. Read my tips on How to Work the Rosary Into Your Busy Day.

4) Read the Bible Daily

The simplest way to do this is to sign up for a free email that either provides you with a daily verse to read or tells you which verse to read. The founders of Flocknote offer free emails that take you through the entire Gospel in a Year, as well as the Catechism in a Year. You can also read the Catholic Church’s Daily Bible Reading on your free Laudate app, by subscribing on or in a daily missal book.

There are also Bible reading plans like the free 90-day Bible Reading Challenge from Ascension Press or the Coming Home Network’s Bible Reading Plan and Catechism Reading Plan, which takes you through related parts of the Old & New Testaments. Or pick a book of the Bible that you feel called to and start reading a chapter a day!

5) Read Catholic Books

This is one of my favorite ways of growing my Catholic faith. I have stacks of books and online lists of books that are just GInormous! Try to read at a minimum at least one Catholic book a year. Need suggestions? Check out My Favorite Catholic books Pinterest board, check out my Amazon book list on the right side of the page or email me if there are specific things you want to learn more about. My two absolute favorites are “New Testament Basics for Catholics” by John Bergsma (see my review) and Matthew Kelly’s “Rediscover Catholicism.” No need to spend tons of money on this either — see what you can find at your library and ask them to transfer things in if they don’t have it. This is where I started!

6) Go to Mass

This one should be an obvious, right? But you’ve GOT to go to mass to avoid falling away from the faith. You must receive Christ in the Eucharist. He told us in John 6:53:

“…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.”

That’s pretty darn clear to me! While you’re at mass, consider using a mass journal. This is a recommendation from Matthew Kelly, author (who I mentioned above) and founder of Pray at the beginning of mass that you will learn something to help you grow spiritually and when you realize what it is, write it down. It’s something you can review from time to time so you don’t forget what God is trying to teach you. Request a FREE one from (you just pay shipping).

7) Attend Daily Mass

OK, I’m upping the ante here :). If you really want to grow in your faith, try to get to daily mass at least some of the time. I find this is how I learned a lot about the Catholic faith (and still do) in the homilies and the daily Scripture readings. It’s a free activity that only requires the sacrifice of your time (usually only about a half-hour) and the best part of it all – you can receive Jesus any day of the week!! I find it a wonderfully quiet and centering way to start the day. It helps set the tone of my day and reminds me what’s most important as I go through my daily tasks.

8) Commit to Regular Time in Adoration

Another of my favorite activities (that I still tend to let fall off when I get busy, but shouldn’t!) is quiet time spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament or the exposed Eucharist in Adoration. For newbies, this means that you can sit and pray, read or meditate on Jesus by sitting in His actual Presence (meaning his REAL presence in the form of the Eucharist). You can actually SIT with Jesus!!

You’ll find much direction and discernment here. Ask most priests, deacons, nuns, monks, etc. about their discernment process and they will tell you spending time in adoration played a role. This doesn’t mean God will tell you to be a nun (He might though :)), but you’ll a get much clearer idea and sense of peace about the plans He has for you.

Most churches have a Blessed Sacrament (not exposed) or Perpetual Adoration (exposed) chapel where you can go sit with Jesus anytime. Don’t let Him be lonely! You please Him greatly by spending time with Him.

9) Take Time for a Daily Reflection

Matthew Kelly offers a great daily reflection called the Prayer Process in his book “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic” if you can get into the habit of doing so. You simply take a moment at the end of your day to reflect on what you could have done better, what God is trying to tell you through the events of the day, thanking God, asking for forgiveness, praying for others and just taking a moment to talk with God about your life. You can get a free Prayer Process card on

10) Get Involved in Your Parish

Find a way, even a small way, to get involved. To truly be a member of the Body of Christ, you’ve got to get in there and mix with its people — for good or bad. Could you be a reader, teach religious education, help clean the sanctuary, play an instrument, sing, help set up for an event, speak to future RCIA candidates…? Most parishes offer plenty of opportunities in the way of serving. Here are my 5 surefire ways to help you get involved at your parish. Pray, discern and speak up! I’ve read God provides many graces for those who assist at Mass. 🙂

11) Take a Class

If you want to learn more about your faith outside of books, consider taking a class. I’ve considered getting my master’s in theology (for lay people) and looked into institutes around me who offer flexible programs. St. Meinrad in Indiana and Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio) both offer flexible programs with online components, though I’ve determined right now isn’t the time for me, but I hope to begin the process down the road. If you just want to learn and don’t want to pursue a degree, consider reputable online programs like the Avila Institute, which offers classes on various saints, spiritual formation, spiritualities and more that you can do from home.

12) Go to Reconciliation

I think you will also find the fire fizzling if you don’t regularly go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. While it’s an easy one to put off, when you get there and confess your sins, you feel remarkably better and receive grace to continue to battle your temptations. Here is what I wish all RCIA candidates knew about confession.

I’d recommend going at least monthly if you can. It will keep you in good spiritual health. Plus, as Vinny Flynn points out in his book, “7 Secrets of Confession,” this is one of a few Sacraments where you experience the Real Presence of Jesus, this time not in the Eucharist but in the priest who acts as Jesus in hearing and forgiving your sins. Don’t miss that opportunity to be in the presence of Jesus! It’s a tremendous blessing!

13) Consider Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary

I won’t go into this in depth here since this post is already long, but it’s a great next step in deepening your faith. Read more in this past blog or check out the books “True Devotion to Mary” by St. Louis de Montfort or “33 Days to Morning Glory” by Fr. Michael Gaitley.

Did I give you too many marching orders!? Take it one step at a time starting with prayer to determine where to begin. It’s also a lot about building habits. In the book “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” by Gary Keller (one of my all-time favorites, though not specifically Catholic), he says it takes about 66 days for a new task to start to feel like a habit, so add in one thing at a time till it becomes a habit and see how it flames the fire in you.

Now, as Catherine of Sienna says, “If you are what you should be, you will set the world on fire.” We just need to get it kindling first…

If you liked this post, would you mind giving Catholic Newbie a “like” on Facebook below? Thank you!

Read more:

5 Must-Dos for the Catholic RCIA Candidate

RCIA Candidate ResourcesSince I was a Catholic RCIA candidate this time last year, anxiously awaiting Easter and my full communion with the Church, I thought I’d share several resources that I found to be indispensable as a Catholic newbie. Of course it goes unsaid that everyone should have a Catholic Bible (New American version) and a Catechism of the Catholic Church, so I’m going to skip past those. Here are my 5 must-dos for RCIA candidates:

1) Read “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly – This book changed my vision of the Catholic church from stodgy and out of date to the most genius I have yet to come upon. If you’re struggling with any of the common issues, such as praying to Mary, fasting, the Eucharist, etc., Kelly explains it in an easy-to-understand way that makes sense in today’s world. It is FREE at Go order your copy today! 

2) Catholic Radio – I did not discover Catholic radio until halfway through RCIA and I could not believe what I had missed. Here in Indy, you can listen to Catholic Radio on 90.9 or 89.3. All day long are shows to help you learn about your Catholic faith. Teresa Tomeo and Al Kresta help you understand the issues of the day in light of the Catholic faith and shows like Open Line and Catholic Answers help explain some of the intricacies of the faith. Good stuff!

3) Laudate & Mass Times App – Now that you’re becoming Catholic, you should never miss mass! To help, use the Mass Times smartphone app when you travel to make sure you can find the closest churches and look up their mass times. Laudate is a wonderful free app that includes the daily scripture readings, saint of the day write up, a whole host of prayers, the complete New American Bible and so much more. All at your fingertips and FREE!

4) A Rosary – Honoring Mary is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give yourself. She is a loving, caring mom who if you ask her, will guide you on your Catholic journey. I began praying the rosary nearly every day early last summer and it’s such a blessing. Find a rosary online or at your local Catholic bookstore (there are some very inexpensive ones) or just use your 10 fingers! You’ll need to learn how to pray it, which is tough for a newbie. Real Men Pray the Rosary has a great explanation (see here), as does the Laudate app (in fact they have podcasts you can listen to so you don’t even have to remember what to say). I recommend finding a pamphlet or printing out the Real Men Pray the Rosary one and following it until you have it memorized (it will take a while, no worries :)).

5) “The Catholicism Answer Book: The 300 Most Frequently Asked Questions” by Kenneth Brighenti – I had a TON of questions on the most basic tenets of Catholicism, especially on things like indulgences, praying to saints, why certain things are done at mass, etc. The best resource I found that answered nearly all my questions and explained things simply was “The Catholicism Answer Book.” I “checked it out” for free as a Kindle ebook from my local library, but you can buy from Amazon, too.

What resources have you found to be helpful during the RCIA process? Let me know if you have any questions or concerns that I can help with as a recent RCIA candidate. Email me at [email protected]!

My First Reconciliation Through RCIA

First reconciliationWow, I finally experienced my first reconciliation, also called “first confession” by many! Of all the portions of the Catholic RCIA process, this was the thing about which I was most nervous. Having to articulate — and thus face up to — all the wrong you have done in your life is not an easy task!

I love the idea of reconciliation, however. It forces you to regularly look your faults directly in the eye. There’s no hiding them shamefully in the back of your mind hoping you’ll forget them. That is not the path to self-improvement. If we want to become saints, or even just better versions of ourselves, we have got to start by discerning our flaws, acknowledging them and then addressing them. If you keep confessing the same sins over and over, that’s a sure place to start 🙂 on self-improvement.

I’ve been doing the Weight Watchers weight loss program over the last several years where I’m allotted so many points each day and week of food that I can eat. I find it greatly helps me resist an unhealthy choice because I stop and think “do I really want to waste 14 points on that?!!”

I feel like reconciliation gives me that same ability to resist. Since I did my first reconciliation, I stop myself when I start to do something wrong, as I can hardly stand to stain what has become so clean!

Reconciliation is an amazing gift for self-improvement and how wonderful that we are able to be forgiven of everything we have done wrong so long as we are truly sorry! It feels so joyful!

If you are nervous about reconciliation, here are a few tips that helped me for my first reconciliation through RCIA:

  • Make a list, but destroy it as soon as you’re done. I found I was so nervous I could hardly think and having the words in front of gave me the courage to just plow ahead!
  • Decide beforehand if you want to be face-to-face with the priest. Ultimately, I decided not to and I think that was a good call for the first time. Having to look someone in the eye while confessing your worst faults would have made me completely lose my train of thought I think.
  • Relax. The priest is there to hear you, forgive you and nothing more. There is no judgement. Remember, he’s heard it all before!
  • Don’t engage in a discussion. Just list out your sins, say your Act of Contrition and move on. Set up an appointment with the priest if you want to have a discussion.
  • Go regularly! I already strongly desire to go back so I can wipe the slate clean again. Again, I think this is such an amazing healing gift.

Do those of you experienced Catholics have any advice on reconciliation. What has helped you?