Visitors and Newcomers

St. Mary's Catholic Church
Photo credit: Archer Photography


Whether you are here for a visit or plan to make St. Mary’s your new spiritual home, we welcome you with open arms. Please help yourself to the brochures and handouts at the back of the church where can find all types of resources about our parish and Catholic community. We look forward to meeting you soon!

Not Catholic and here for a visit?

We are happy to welcome you as well!  If you are thinking about becoming Catholic, please take a look at our RCIA page for information about joining the Church.  Whether you are thinking about becoming Catholic or not, attending Mass for the first time can be a little bewildering.  Here is a little bit on what you can expect:… Read More

  • Tradition–The Catholic Church is built on over 2000 years of apostolic tradition, and it shows in the Mass.  The people around you will probably know all the prayers and responses by heart.  Some of the responses are spoken, while others are sung.  The Breaking Bread books in the pews have a section at the beginning that can help you follow along, or you can just listen and pray in your heart.
  • Sit, Stand, Kneel–We assume different postures at different parts in the Mass.  If you are following along in the Breaking Bread book, it will give you cues on when to sit, stand, or kneel.  If you are not following along in the book, you may simply do what the person next to you does.  If you do not feel comfortable kneeling, it is alright to sit instead.
  • Song–The Mass has music and singing sprinkled throughout.  With the exception of some of the sung responses mentioned above, all of the songs we sing will be listed by number on a board at the front of the church.  Feel free to sing along!
  • The Lord’s Prayer and Sign of Peace–Midway through the Mass, we will all hold hands and recite the Our Father.  Afterward, the priest will say “Let us offer one another the sign of peace.”  At this point, the whole congregation will turn to those around them and either shake hands or hug (depending on how well they know the person) and say “Peace be with you!”  The proper response is “And with your spirit!” but most people will just say “Peace!” or simply smile and shake hands.
  • Communion–In the Catholic Church, Communion is a Sacrament, which means that we view it as a very holy thing.  Various Christian churches place different meaning in the sharing of bread and wine. The Catholic Church believes that when the priest says the prayers of consecration, that the bread and wine are miraculously transformed into the true Body and Blood of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Since many Christians don’t view communion this way, we ask that those who are not Catholic please do not receive the Body and Blood.  Instead, we invite you to walk up to the front of the church with those in your pew and cross your arms over your chest (like you’re saying the word “love” in sign language) to receive a blessing.  If you are not comfortable coming forward for a blessing, it is alright to stay in your seat during Communion.
  • Collection–During the Mass, a basket will be passed around for donations to the parish.  These weekly collections are how we fund our operating expenses and programs.  You are not required or expected to contribute anything, but if you choose to do so, we are grateful for your generosity!  At this time, children are invited to bring donations to the front of the church; all money donated to this special Children’s Collection will be given to charities or organizations that serve children throughout the world.

If you have any questions about St. Mary’s Parish or the Catholic Church in general, please don’t hesitate to ask!  All of our contact information can be found on the Contact Us page.