New or Returning to the Catholic Church?

1. What do Catholics believe?

  • In brief: Apostles Creed
    • I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; – and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord; – who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary; – suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and [was] buried; – He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; – He ascended into Heaven; sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; – from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. – I believe in the Holy Ghost; – the Holy Catholic Church; the Communion of Saints; – the forgiveness of sins; – the resurrection of the body; – and life everlasting. Amen. (see q13. pg. 6 Penny Catechism)
  • In more detail: See the Catechism Resources provided by

2. Can I just turn-up at a chapel? 
Yes, anyone can come (the chapels or Mass Centres are usually open 30-60mins before Mass starts - see the SSPX Chapels of Canada).
To follow the Mass, most people use a "missal for the faithful" (1962 edition or earlier). Alternatively, you can follow the Mass of the day on (option Missale).

3. What do I need to wear?

Quite simply, your "Sunday best" is always appropriate.  There is, however, no strict dress code.  Nevertheless, there are a few traditional guidelines which we recommend:

  • For men, no denim, shorts, or t-shirts.  Suits and ties are encouraged.
  • Ladies should wear skirts or dresses that extend below the knee.  Tops should be modest, that is, not low cut or tight-fitting.
  • It is also customary for ladies to cover their heads with a hat or veil, as this has been the practice of the Church since apostolic times (see I Cor. 11:1-5). 

4. How can I become a Catholic?
Talk to one of the priests after Mass or send an email to [email protected]. You will be enrolled on a course of instruction which may take up to a year. If your resolve remains firm and there are no obstacles, then you will be either received into the Church by baptism if you have never been baptised, or you will be reconcilled to the Church by a Profession of Faith and/or Absolution from censures if these are necessary.

5. How can I simply learn more about the faith?
Read good Catholic books. Here is a list of reviews updated monthly. 
Join the virtual catechism. Sign up here.

6. When can I go to confession?
If you are already a baptised Catholic, Confession is available before each Mass.
If you haven't been for a long time (over a year), make an appointment with a priest.

If you are not a baptised Catholic, see no. 4. 

7. How do I make a good Confession?
Follow a guide or use your traditional missal.

8. How do I make a good Holy Communion?

  • Only Catholics who (a) have no known mortal sin on their conscience and (b) have fasted for at least an hour (3hr solid food fast recomenned) may receive Holy Communion.
  • As the priest turns around to pronounce the words of absolution, renew your act of contrition, and make the Sign of the Cross.
  • When the altar boys receive Holy Communion, go quietly up to the altar rail with hands devoutly folded, and kneel.
  • As the priest approaches to give you the Blessed Sacrament, moderately raise your head, open your mouth, resting the end of your tongue on the lower lip.
  • While receiving communion reflect on the words which the priest then utters: “May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ preserve your soul unto life everlasting. Amen.” 
  • After this, return to your place, having your eyes cast down and hands again reverently folded.
  • Make a thanksgiving. Read this guide or use your traditional missal for prayers.