I will be describing and exploring my first visit to a Catholic Church. I attended Sunday mass with an ambassador in our class, CCC, on April 13, 2014 at noon. The service was actually called Palm Sunday because it is the Sunday before Easter. The service lasted about an hour and a half and took place in the interfaith portable on campus at UCI. I have grown up in a house that is not religious and have not attended a church before. My family’s race is Caucasian and I am independent when it comes to religion. I decided to attend a Catholic Church for my cultural plunge to get the experience and to see what it is like to attend church. I have always listened to my friends tell me they are going to church and that they are this religion. But I have never been able to experience what going to church is like.
Common Stereotypes about Catholics
Stereotypes are very common in the world, especially when it comes to religion. My understanding about common stereotypes for Catholics mainly comes from personal interaction; where people have told me the stereotypes they believed about Catholics or from the internet. One stereotype that I commonly hear is that Catholics pray to Mary and the Saints, but instead they worship Christ alone. My attendance at the Catholic Church showed this when the priest was reading from the bible, he would stop and the audience in the church would know to say either “Lord you are in our prayer” or “Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” depending on what the priest was reading. The next stereotype that I have heard before is that Catholics do not read the bible; which was true in the Middle Ages but does not hold true today. At the church Mass that I attended, I noticed bibles in the room so this stereotype does not hold true anymore. Another stereotype that is commonly mentioned is that Catholics have many kids compared to the world. This might appear to be true because Catholics are opposed to birth control and think contraceptive is wrong, but this stereotype cannot make the conclusion that Catholics have more kids than other religions. I did not get any understanding of this from the mass that I attended. The last common stereotype that I have heard about is how priests are pedophiles. This is not something you can figure out by attending church once, but I would think that there are as many pedophiles in the Catholic Church as there are in any other church. So this common stereotype about catholic priests can hold true for other religions as well.
Before the mass started I was feeling a little nervous to enter into the Catholic Church. I did not feel that I would be welcome and felt awkward. When I was walking up to the interfaith building where the mass was being held, there was a man handing out pieces of palm trees to everyone. I was confused at first what was happening and the ambassador, Casey, explained to me the reasoning behind it. I found this intriguing and very informative. During the mass,...