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So I was at my first Catholic mass...

JamesRottnek

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and I have a few questions about whether or not things are standard practice.  Firstly, is it normal for a priest to sit down during the Gospel reading and to have a woman reading it instead?  Secondly, is it normal to have a woman - instead of the priest - saying the things for which we are to pray (after of each of which the people say something like "Hear our prayer, O Lord")?  Also, is there normally just one reading from the Bible at mass?  I was under the impression there would be more than just a single Gospel reading (no Old Testament reading and no Epistle).

I have to say, this mass reminded me a whole lot of the Protestant services I used to go to.
 

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I can't answer a lot of these questions as I lack familiarity with general RC practices, but I have observed the priest sitting for a substantial portion of the service such as during readings/singing. I can't comment on similarity to Protestant services as I've already surpassed my "being a jerk" limit for this month  :angel:
 

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JamesRottnek said:
I have to say, this mass reminded me a whole lot of the Protestant services I used to go to.
Exactly.

You may or may not be aware, but in 1970, the RC made some serious changes to the mass.  Before this, they were so very Orthodox in their practice of the Old Order mass.

Now that these new changes have taken place, you get masses where the only male in the altar is the priest, the rest women.  There are liturgical abuses galore, and the RC bishops aren't very on top of things.  I've seen many of these liturgical abuses when I was going to a RC Church before finding Orthodoxy.  One gets used to them.  But after seeing how the liturgy is celebrated in the Orthodox Church, one can't really tell the difference between the RC's and Protestants.  It's a very sad thing.
 

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I was a Protestant for the first 18 years of my life, and the Mass does not resemble Protestantism as I experienced it at all.
 

JamesRottnek

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It isn't necessarily the mass in general, but the mass I attended.  The guitar being played by the woman leading the hymns, despite having a perfectly good piano right behind her, made it seem like a Protestant service.  The selection of hymns made it seem like a Protestant service.  The relative lack of mention of the Saints or the Theotokos made it seem like a Protestant service.  These types of things, which may well not be the norm, made it seem Protestant.

One more question while I'm at it: is it normal for no incense to be used, at all?
 

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JamesRottnek said:
and I have a few questions about whether or not things are standard practice.  Firstly, is it normal for a priest to sit down during the Gospel reading and to have a woman reading it instead?  Secondly, is it normal to have a woman - instead of the priest - saying the things for which we are to pray (after of each of which the people say something like "Hear our prayer, O Lord")?  Also, is there normally just one reading from the Bible at mass?  I was under the impression there would be more than just a single Gospel reading (no Old Testament reading and no Epistle).

I have to say, this mass reminded me a whole lot of the Protestant services I used to go to.
1.  Not normal at all.  Probably illicit and an abuse.  Only the priest or deacon is allowed to read the Gospel, as I understand it.

2. Could be ok.  Oftentimes the lector will "say the things for which we are to pray", or at least some of them, and the priest or deacon will say the remainder. 

3. Normal Sunday Mass has 2 readings and a the Gospel reading.  The "2 readings" may be Old and New Testament (Epistle) or both from the New Testament.  See this http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042212.cfm, for example, for today's readings.

4. I think whether or not incense is used depends upon the priest presiding.
 

kurtismjohnson

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I attend Mass quite regularly. In fact, Im bout to go to one now. I have never heard anyone other than the Priest read the Gospel.  They do have other people read the prayers that we respond too sometimes.  They also have several readings, not just the Gospel. 
 

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JamesRottnek said:
One more question while I'm at it: is it normal for no incense to be used, at all?
I saw incense used one time in 16 years of being RC.

Laity leading the litanies is pretty common. Someone other than the priest reading the Gospel isn't as common but I've seen it done. Skipping readings is a bit odd, though.
 

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When I was little and my grandmother took me to her Church, incense was always used.  It was very little.  I've not seen incense in an RC parish since then.
 

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Christ is Risen!

The modernized Roman Catholic liturgy is one of the things that drove me away from it! I was especially angry when our local Anglican Church started having monthly Sarum Mass in Latin while we were letting hippies take over the music ministry and cutting out the most beautiful parts of the Mass.  ::)

Anyway, to answer your question...
When I was Catholic, these were the rules: only priests or deacons could read the gospel at Mass. Anybody who is chosen to be a lector (man or woman) can read the Epistle, Old Testament Readings, or the Small Litany. At the Roman Catholic Churches I used to go to, they only used a little incense during holy week.

However, every parish is different...traditionalist Roman Catholic parishes would probably use incense every Sunday.
 
 

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J Michael said:
JamesRottnek said:
and I have a few questions about whether or not things are standard practice.  Firstly, is it normal for a priest to sit down during the Gospel reading and to have a woman reading it instead?  Secondly, is it normal to have a woman - instead of the priest - saying the things for which we are to pray (after of each of which the people say something like "Hear our prayer, O Lord")?  Also, is there normally just one reading from the Bible at mass?  I was under the impression there would be more than just a single Gospel reading (no Old Testament reading and no Epistle).

I have to say, this mass reminded me a whole lot of the Protestant services I used to go to.
1.  Not normal at all.  Probably illicit and an abuse.  Only the priest or deacon is allowed to read the Gospel, as I understand it.

2. Could be ok.  Oftentimes the lector will "say the things for which we are to pray", or at least some of them, and the priest or deacon will say the remainder. 

3. Normal Sunday Mass has 2 readings and a the Gospel reading.  The "2 readings" may be Old and New Testament (Epistle) or both from the New Testament.  See this http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042212.cfm, for example, for today's readings.

4. I think whether or not incense is used depends upon the priest presiding.
The Gospel being read by a woman really stunned me; in fact, it was read (I believe) once in English and once in Spanish, by two different women, despite a priest being present.
 

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Wyatt said:
I was a Protestant for the first 18 years of my life, and the Mass does not resemble Protestantism as I experienced it at all.
I've seen Lutheran (Missouri synod) services and Anglican services that resemble the old catholic service for what it is worth.

Im just so glad I found Orthodoxy.........
 

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JamesRottnek said:
and I have a few questions about whether or not things are standard practice.  Firstly, is it normal for a priest to sit down during the Gospel reading and to have a woman reading it instead?  Secondly, is it normal to have a woman - instead of the priest - saying the things for which we are to pray (after of each of which the people say something like "Hear our prayer, O Lord")?  Also, is there normally just one reading from the Bible at mass?  I was under the impression there would be more than just a single Gospel reading (no Old Testament reading and no Epistle).
I went to an RC service very similar to this one a few months ago. Definitely not isolated.
 

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JamesRottnek said:
J Michael said:
JamesRottnek said:
and I have a few questions about whether or not things are standard practice.  Firstly, is it normal for a priest to sit down during the Gospel reading and to have a woman reading it instead?  Secondly, is it normal to have a woman - instead of the priest - saying the things for which we are to pray (after of each of which the people say something like "Hear our prayer, O Lord")?  Also, is there normally just one reading from the Bible at mass?  I was under the impression there would be more than just a single Gospel reading (no Old Testament reading and no Epistle).

I have to say, this mass reminded me a whole lot of the Protestant services I used to go to.
1.  Not normal at all.  Probably illicit and an abuse.  Only the priest or deacon is allowed to read the Gospel, as I understand it.

2. Could be ok.  Oftentimes the lector will "say the things for which we are to pray", or at least some of them, and the priest or deacon will say the remainder. 

3. Normal Sunday Mass has 2 readings and a the Gospel reading.  The "2 readings" may be Old and New Testament (Epistle) or both from the New Testament.  See this http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042212.cfm, for example, for today's readings.

4. I think whether or not incense is used depends upon the priest presiding.
The Gospel being read by a woman really stunned me; in fact, it was read (I believe) once in English and once in Spanish, by two different women, despite a priest being present.
I have been attending the TLM for quite a few years now so I haven't been in contact with the New Mass in some time, once in a while near holidays when relatives feel the need to fulfill their "obligation" when they come around, I'll attend.

Women are now reading the Gospel? I have heard of some serious abuses by the Norvus Ordo, but never nothing like this.

Are you sure this "Roman-Catholic" church was in communion with Rome?

Something sounds very fishy here.
 

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NicholasMyra said:
JamesRottnek said:
and I have a few questions about whether or not things are standard practice.  Firstly, is it normal for a priest to sit down during the Gospel reading and to have a woman reading it instead?  Secondly, is it normal to have a woman - instead of the priest - saying the things for which we are to pray (after of each of which the people say something like "Hear our prayer, O Lord")?  Also, is there normally just one reading from the Bible at mass?  I was under the impression there would be more than just a single Gospel reading (no Old Testament reading and no Epistle).
I went to an RC service very similar to this one a few months ago. Definitely not isolated.
I was a catechist and traveled around Pensylvania a good bit in its heavily Catholic-Orthodox central counties and I've never seen anything like that.  I've seen one horribly invalid liturgy in up-state NY but in northern Maryland and Pittsburgh and central PA...never seen the like.  So it is not isolated but I do believe it is regional and is the fault of local bishops who have their own private axes to grind.

M.
 

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Question. Are women not allowed to read the gospel during the Easter Agape service in your church? This was my experience as a teenager but not since then.
 

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I was at an Orthodox service today and I spoke to a man who was an Eastern Catholic. He attended Orthodox services because they reminded him of the services he attended when he was growing up (in America). Those still exist, but there are none in our area. I think that the the cultural makeup of a faith community, more than the faith itself, defines the experience of the service. An Eastern Catholic service for a predominantly Palestinian audience is going to be very different than a Western Catholic service for a culturally diverse group with no majority (out of fear of alienating those without strong ties to any one culture).

Now, if what you witnessed is permitted by the Vatican, that I do not know.
 

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In the past (prior to converting to Orthodoxy) I attended Catholic masses at several parishes in San Diego with different friends that are Catholic.  I never once saw incense used, and it was common for women to read the epistle while the priest sat.  In one parish I did see guitar playing at the mass, and I have seen laity (both men and women) distributing communion.  Only one parish that I can remember allowed the people to receive the wine, and on the right hand side of the altar the cup with the wine was given by a woman to those who wanted it.

It seems that there was a lot of variation from parish to parish, but all reminded me of Episcopal services that I had attended in the past as well.  Really little difference at all.
 

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I'm curious, do those who mention guitar playing consider it an egregious affront to the faith, or just a foreboding omen of unwanted reformation? Also, has anyone ever heard "Amazing Grace" sung at a Mass? I was a little jarred by that... isn't it from an Anglican author?
 

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lovesupreme said:
I'm curious, do those who mention guitar playing consider it an egregious affront to the faith, or just a foreboding omen of unwanted reformation? Also, has anyone ever heard "Amazing Grace" sung at a Mass? I was a little jarred by that... isn't it from an Anglican author?
I heard it there more than once. It caused me to walk out.
 

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biro said:
lovesupreme said:
I'm curious, do those who mention guitar playing consider it an egregious affront to the faith, or just a foreboding omen of unwanted reformation? Also, has anyone ever heard "Amazing Grace" sung at a Mass? I was a little jarred by that... isn't it from an Anglican author?
I heard it there more than once. It caused me to walk out.
Is there something particularly offensive to you about 'Amazing Grace'?
 

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biro said:
lovesupreme said:
I'm curious, do those who mention guitar playing consider it an egregious affront to the faith, or just a foreboding omen of unwanted reformation? Also, has anyone ever heard "Amazing Grace" sung at a Mass? I was a little jarred by that... isn't it from an Anglican author?
I heard it there more than once. It caused me to walk out.
If you don't mind me asking, would that be because of the author's affiliation, the song's Protestant associations, or do you just not like the song?

I'm curious about different sects appropriating each other's music. The founder of Chabad Chassidic Judaism, Schneur Zalman of Liadi, was inspired by Napoleon's march and made it into a niggun, a wordless melody sung between religious speeches or before services. Napoleon was not a Jew, and I don't think think any faith would consider him a saint by any means of the word, yet Schneur Zalman, who practically all religious Jews view as a holy man, deemed a melody that glorified his military conquests suitable to be sung in a religious setting. The argument from Chabad is that because of his holiness, he was able to "extract" the impurity of the melody; because few others were at that level, efforts to bring sing Beatles songs or the Tetris theme were generally frowned upon.

Are there similar views among the various sects of Christianity? I imagine it's fairly common for the more reformed groups to appropriate from the more classical groups, but is the opposite ever true, as in the case with Chabad?
 

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William said:
lovesupreme said:
I'm curious, do those who mention guitar playing consider it an egregious affront to the faith, or just a foreboding omen of unwanted reformation? Also, has anyone ever heard "Amazing Grace" sung at a Mass? I was a little jarred by that... isn't it from an Anglican author?
There are theological reasons for a cappella.

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,44016.0.html
Very interesting. Although modern day Orthodox Jews do not play instruments during services. The Sabbath and most holidays forbid the use of instruments because if the instrument were slightly detuned and you were to tune it by playing it, it would constitute "completing work." I'm fairly certain that they refrain from playing instruments even when it's not forbidden to further differentiate themselves from other religions, chiefly Reform Jews.
 

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I went with my Pop to a Mass during Christmas, it was the second church I had every attended.

Do Catholic masses and the amount of time they take depend of the priest doing the service?
 

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lovesupreme said:
I'm curious, do those who mention guitar playing consider it an egregious affront to the faith, or just a foreboding omen of unwanted reformation? Also, has anyone ever heard "Amazing Grace" sung at a Mass? I was a little jarred by that... isn't it from an Anglican author?
Yes, I did and I also heard "A mighty fortress is our God" as well.  
 

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Just to chime in, I grew up in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and attended most of the parishes in Springfield growing up. I never saw any incense growing up that I can remember, but it was used at my grandmother's funeral a few months ago. "Amazing Grace" and other Protestant hymns were used at the funeral (per my Catholic mother's suggestion). BTW I cast no judgment on this; I am just reporting what I saw for those interested.

Growing up in this area, being a Catholic was pretty exotic and the area is very heavily Protestant of all stripes. I think that a lot of what is done is trying to blend in with the culture and adopt native Christian spirituality which can be "baptized" much in the same way that things from pagan cultures were. Anyway, acoustic guitars and other such instruments are the norm in all parishes in the diocese. I never attended a Mass without them. Songs were things like "Eagle's Wings" and other such 1970's "hippie" sort of compositions.

Communion was always offered in both species; ALWAYS. I was actually surprised to find out later in life that this is abnormal for Roman Catholics. Usually the priests would give communion with about three or so "extraordinary" female assistants giving out the elements to the faithful. Communion was always "in the hand", as some consider that a big deal. Priests always faced the people, and there was little chanting or intonation of the prayers by the priest. More recited in a normal talking voice, so proper chanting was unfamiliar to me when encountering Orthodoxy.

When I went to a Christmas Mass with my dear mom this last year, I did find the entrance procession being accompanied by Protestant hymns, piano and guitar to be a bit jarring. But again, no judgment; it's really not my business how they do things.

From what I understand the Kansas City (where I now live) Catholic culture is much more traditional across the board, at least in that the SSPX is headquartered down the street from my parish. But many of the Catholic churches that I've popped my head into seemed pretty gutted post-Vatican II, so I really don't know how true that is. The Kansas City Cathedral has a circular seating arrangement around the altar, so that seem to denote that the diocese up here might be more in the modern swing of things.

But I have a close friend who was raised Catholic in Alabama (who is now an Evangelical Pentecostal in the Vineyard movement), and he was catechized with the full deal traditional thing: kneeling and crossing oneself before entering a pew, kneeling for reception on the tongue, pre-communion fasting, incense, etc. I never saw or heard about any of that. All I ever really learned was the rosary, but not much of the meaning behind it or even how to count the decades and such. Just the basic prayer. So I think that what one finds in the USA varies pretty drastically depending on the bishop and the local Catholic culture.
 

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Nicene said:
I went with my Pop to a Mass during Christmas, it was the second church I had every attended.

Do Catholic masses and the amount of time they take depend of the priest doing the service?
They can, yes. There are different Eucharistic prayers, some long, others short. Depending on what the priest chooses, Mass can vary in length.
 

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Charles Martel said:
JamesRottnek said:
J Michael said:
JamesRottnek said:
and I have a few questions about whether or not things are standard practice.  Firstly, is it normal for a priest to sit down during the Gospel reading and to have a woman reading it instead?  Secondly, is it normal to have a woman - instead of the priest - saying the things for which we are to pray (after of each of which the people say something like "Hear our prayer, O Lord")?  Also, is there normally just one reading from the Bible at mass?  I was under the impression there would be more than just a single Gospel reading (no Old Testament reading and no Epistle).

I have to say, this mass reminded me a whole lot of the Protestant services I used to go to.
1.  Not normal at all.  Probably illicit and an abuse.  Only the priest or deacon is allowed to read the Gospel, as I understand it.

2. Could be ok.  Oftentimes the lector will "say the things for which we are to pray", or at least some of them, and the priest or deacon will say the remainder. 

3. Normal Sunday Mass has 2 readings and a the Gospel reading.  The "2 readings" may be Old and New Testament (Epistle) or both from the New Testament.  See this http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/042212.cfm, for example, for today's readings.

4. I think whether or not incense is used depends upon the priest presiding.
The Gospel being read by a woman really stunned me; in fact, it was read (I believe) once in English and once in Spanish, by two different women, despite a priest being present.
I have been attending the TLM for quite a few years now so I haven't been in contact with the New Mass in some time, once in a while near holidays when relatives feel the need to fulfill their "obligation" when they come around, I'll attend.

Women are now reading the Gospel? I have heard of some serious abuses by the Norvus Ordo, but never nothing like this.

Are you sure this "Roman-Catholic" church was in communion with Rome?

Something sounds very fishy here.
It is definitely Roman Catholic; it's listed on the Diocese of Phoenix's website. 
 

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Do Catholics traditionally offer communion to other Christians? The churches that I've attended have, but I suspect that might be a recent leniency. From what I understand, this is rarely done in Orthodoxy (I've only heard of Catholics receiving Orthodox communion, and only in rare circumstances).
 

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From my experience, the Catholic parishes in San Diego are so large that no one questions who is Catholic and who isn't - there are just too many people.  Non-Catholics are not supposed to receive, but anyone can go forward and take it without being questioned.  I did it on several occasions a few years before becoming Orthodox because my Catholic friends urged me to do so, even though they themselves knew I was Protestant.  No one in the church asked me if I was Catholic.
 

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At one service I attended at the Basilica Church here at Mission San Diego, I was tapped on the shoulder by a man who asked me to "volunteer" to carry the gifts forward to the priest at the appropriate time during the mass.  I accepted, though I was a Protestant and just visiting with my then Catholic girlfriend.
 

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lovesupreme said:
Do Catholics traditionally offer communion to other Christians? The churches that I've attended have, but I suspect that might be a recent leniency. From what I understand, this is rarely done in Orthodoxy (I've only heard of Catholics receiving Orthodox communion, and only in rare circumstances).
It's rare, but permitted for some. For instance, they will give to the Eastern Orthodox.
 

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biro said:
lovesupreme said:
Do Catholics traditionally offer communion to other Christians? The churches that I've attended have, but I suspect that might be a recent leniency. From what I understand, this is rarely done in Orthodoxy (I've only heard of Catholics receiving Orthodox communion, and only in rare circumstances).
It's rare, but permitted for some. For instance, they will give to the Eastern Orthodox.
Right, but Eastern Orthodox Christians would not be permitted to receive communion from Catholics, even if they were offered. That is, unless there were extenuating circumstances and they were granted permission by higher authorities. Correct?

Also, I was encouraged to come up for communion at a Protestant church, even though the person knew I am not a believer. Maybe she just wanted me to ask the priest for a blessing, but I don't see that as proper or respectful either.
 

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peteprint said:
At one service I attended at the Basilica Church here at Mission San Diego, I was tapped on the shoulder by a man who asked me to "volunteer" to carry the gifts forward to the priest at the appropriate time during the mass.  I accepted, though I was a Protestant and just visiting with my then Catholic girlfriend.
I think most people assume you belong to the denomination whose service you're attending, especially in the larger ones where it's hard to remember faces and many people come inconsistently.

I always fear getting selected to do something of that sort. Of course, I would refuse, but that's never not awkward.
 

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lovesupreme said:
peteprint said:
At one service I attended at the Basilica Church here at Mission San Diego, I was tapped on the shoulder by a man who asked me to "volunteer" to carry the gifts forward to the priest at the appropriate time during the mass.  I accepted, though I was a Protestant and just visiting with my then Catholic girlfriend.
I think most people assume you belong to the denomination whose service you're attending, especially in the larger ones where it's hard to remember faces and many people come inconsistently.

I always fear getting selected to do something of that sort. Of course, I would refuse, but that's never not awkward.
I am sure that could happen at large Orthodox parishes, especially in Eastern Europe, but here in San Diego, the Orthodox parishes are small enough that most would notice a stranger.  Also, the priest would want to know your name when you are receiving communion.  It would be much more difficult to commune illicitly at an Orthodox parish here.
 

lovesupreme

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Do they not ask your name at Catholic communion? Also, how would that be a give away (not that there's really a reason to pretend to be Orthodox to receive communion...)?

The only communion I've overheard was at a small Episcopal congregation, where the priest simply said "blood of christ, body of christ" (if I recall correctly).
 

biro

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lovesupreme said:
Do they not ask your name at Catholic communion? Also, how would that be a give away (not that there's really a reason to pretend to be Orthodox to receive communion...)?

The only communion I've overheard was at a small Episcopal congregation, where the priest simply said "blood of christ, body of christ" (if I recall correctly).
They don't ask your name at a Roman Catholic church. Maybe they do at an Eastern Catholic Church, I've never been there.
 

dzheremi

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They did at the Ruthenian church I went to after I got sick of the Latins.
 
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