On Sunday, May 20, I experienced something for the first time that most Leesville students experience every Sunday — mass. As a Baptist, I would like to share my experiences and talk about how different Sunday mass is compared to a sunday service at a Baptist church.
I attended St.Andrews in Apex for a family-friend’s child’s baptism, which was the first oddity to me. From what I know about the Baptist church, which isn’t a lot but I do know some things, baptism comes after you have admitted your sin and asked for salvation. This process is an individual prayer to God.
After you have personally asked for forgiveness, you express to the pastor of your church that you have been recently saved and you would like to be baptised. Baptism in baptist churches I’ve attended is basically a church-wide announcement expressing that you have been saved. You’re then dipped in this big tub of, usually, freezing cold water with your pastor while the congregation sings hymns about Jesus’s sacrifice. It’s a meaningful ceremony to those who are a part of it. Then, while all soaking wet, the people of the church congratulates you on your accomplishment in your walk with God.
I read up on Catholic baptisms on aboutcatholics.com, and I learned that there are a lot of differences but many similarities as well. Many, if not all, Catholic baptisms happen to babies and very young children. In Baptist churches I have attended, young children are rarely baptised because they haven’t asked God for salvation and probably doesn’t even know what it means. Baptism in the baptist world isn’t the way to heaven– salvation is, but baptism is a way to express it to the congregation of one’s church.
What the two ceremonies do have in common are that each procedure, whether it’s Catholic baptism or Baptist salvation and baptism, they both leave a mark on the soul. In addition, it’s a promise of forgiveness for the previous and future sin the person may do.
The differences in baptism procedures was only a small difference.
In the beginning, because I was attending a baptism, we were introduced to the three children being baptised on that day. It was odd because we were singing a hymn, which was very beautiful and I loved it, but the congregation was instructed to turn to the back of the house, which is something I’ve never done in a baptist church besides to watch a woman take her screaming child out the back.
After the three children were being introduced, the priest, garbed in a long robe, and six children walked down the aisle carrying a very shiny cross and a beautiful tome, which I inferred was the Bible. I couldn’t help but think: who are these children? Why do they get special robes? Is there special training for this?
I couldn’t help but notice in such a high honor people looked up to the priest. He was dressed in a white robe, glittering with jewels and every time someone went up to speak or sing , they bowed to him. I don’t understand why they were bowing to the priest; I’ve never seen anything like it.
Another event that I had never experienced before was while the priest was speaking, the congregation would occasionally respond, in unison. The first time it happened, I was literally scared. As in, I jumped in my pew. There were at least 400 people in the house, and everyone spoke at once. I looked at my sister sitting beside me, who, I could bet, was giving me the same expression I was her. The only expression I’ve heard during a Baptist service was when the occasional man yells “Amen!” to something the pastor had said.
There were two things, two differences, that really stood out to me. First, I don’t feel like the priest actually stood up and preached at me; he was only up there preaching for a couple of minutes. What he said was good stuff and was very interesting, but it was short.
We were there for an hour and a half, from 11 to 1:30, and he only preached for five minutes. Maybe it was because it was a baptism, but when I go to church I really like to listen to the preaching, but the preaching kind of really disappointed me.
Another difference that I couldn’t help but overlook was that no one that I could see had a Bible, besides the priest. He read out of it, but he didn’t say from which passage he was reading it. It was odd because when I go to a Baptist church, everyone has their Bibles open, following along with what the preacher-man is saying.
The part that impressed me the most was the music. We sang many, short hymns, but they were beautiful and the message in them enlightened me.
Overall, attending my first mass was a very interesting experience.