What should I expect when I visit a Catholic church?

You are welcome to visit a church near you and attend Mass, where you can participate in communal worship, listen to the Word of God and, if you have received the Sacrament of Holy Communion and are in a state of grace, receive the Eucharist. To find the next Mass time, find a church near you and check the timetable.  

When you enter a Catholic church, please treat the place with respect. You can expect to experience a sense of sacredness and tranquillity and many churches offer spaces for personal prayer and reflection, providing a peaceful environment for individuals to seek solace or engage in private devotion. 

Every Catholic church building is unique – the design of a church often reflects the local community’s heritage and the time in which it was constructed, and differs in architectural style, cultural influences, historical significance, and artistic elements. You might find beautifully crafted stained glass windows, intricate statues, and artwork that depict biblical scenes or saints. 

Some areas of every Catholic church (such as the sanctuary or altar area) are reserved for those who have a specific role in Catholic liturgy, such as priests, deacons, altar servers, and other liturgical ministers. The sanctuary is typically elevated and separated from the rest of the church by steps or a communion rail – it is considered holy ground and symbolises the presence of God and the altar, where the sacrifice of the Mass takes place. 

Priests celebrate Mass in the sanctuary at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic church while the congregation sits in rows facing the sanctuary.
The sanctuary is a sacred space that contains a tabernacle, altar, lectern and a seating area for the celebrant. It is typically at the front of the church and is visually and physically distinguished from other areas rest of the church. At Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church Toongabbie, the back wall of the sanctuary is a different colour, and it is raised several steps.

Every parish has its calendar of local activities, celebrations and events, and opportunities to participate in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confession and special liturgical celebrations and gatherings and opportunities to learn more about the Catholic faith. 

If you are new to the area, we encourage you to contact your local parish office to find out more about how to connect and celebrate with your local parish community. 

1. Connect – Connect With Local Parish – MET

Complete this form if you are new to the area and want support connecting with a church community near you.

Have you moved to the area recently? Are you new to the Catholic church, or are there areas of parish life or service you are already familiar with or hoping to find in a new parish community? This information will help us help you.

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