A reality every Catholic parish faces is this: Mass is, neither inherently nor constitutively, a “Seeker Service.” [See a quick, but not exhaustive description of seeker service characteristics here]. Mass is not designed for the unbeliever to come to faith for the first time. It’s not the place of pre-evangelization or initial proclamation–all critical stages in our robust Catholic understanding of Evangelization as a whole.
In Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy,” we hear:
The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church. Before men can come to the liturgy they must be called to faith and to conversion: “How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not yet believed? But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear if no one preaches? And how are men to preach unless they be sent?” (Rom. 10:14-15). (Sacrosanctum Concilium [Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy], no. 9)
In Josef Pieper’s In Search of the Sacred (1988), we are reminded that in the early Church, “barriers…excluded those who did not ‘belong’ from participating in the sacred mysteries [of the Mass], even those who prepared for baptism, the catechumens.” Although as a pastoral practice this is, “for us latter-day Christians, used as we are to taking the television broadcast of Mass for granted… difficult to comprehend,” the reality remains that Mass is not the most suitable liturgical act for the unbaptized (p. 34).