Make a commitment to yourself, your family and to God, by attending Mass every week. But, how exactly do you prepare yourself for Mass on Sunday?
Fast Before Mass. It is Church law that one fasts for at least 1 hour before receiving Holy Communion. The purpose is to help us prepare to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Don’t chew gum in in Mass. It breaks your fast. It is distracting and it is considered impolite. Every Mass you attend deserves your complete respect and reverence.
No Food and Drink in Church. Bringing a snack into church is not appropriate. The exceptions can be for small children. We need to set the church apart as a place of prayer and reflection.
Dip Your Fingers in the Holy Water and make a sign of the cross on entering and leaving the Church. The Holy Water reminds us of the Sacrament of Baptism and unites us with Christ.
Dress Modestly and Appropriately. Put on your SUNDAY BEST. As Catholics, we believe that God comes to meet us at every Mass. Ask ourselves, “Is this the best I can wear for Mass? Is this appropriate and respectful?”
Show Up Early for Mass. Would you arrive late to a dinner date? Of course not. The same applies when you attend Mass. Getting to Mass early allows you to pray and prepare yourself better. Make sure you are seated by the time the bell rings, and please don’t stand outside the Church once the Mass starts.
Mobile Phones Should Never Be Used in Mass for Calls or Texting. Please keep your mobile phones and beepers turned off or set to vibrate mode during Mass. If you have an emergency situation, and need to answer the phone while Mass is going on, please walk out of Church to do so. If you are using the phone or iPad for readings or prayers – this is acceptable – but try to be discreet.
When We Enter and Leave Church, Genuflect or Bow Reverently Towards the Tabernacle or Altar. By doing so, we acknowledge that He is our Lord and our God. If someone is physically unable to genuflect, then a bow is sufficient.
Please Be Quiet While in Church. Once you enter the church, remember that it is not the time or place to visit and chat with those around you. If you must talk, do so as quietly and as briefly as possible. Remember that your conversation might be disturbing someone who is praying.
No Bulletin or Publication Reading During Mass. Imagine inviting a guest to your home and before or during the meal, they decide to read a magazine or glance at a newspaper instead of talking to you. That is what happens in God’s house when you read the bulletin or any other publication. Remember that it is important to prepare for Mass. Familiarise yourself with the readings in advance, and it will help you to understand and reflect on them.
Do Not Leave Early. We should stay till the end of the closing prayer and the recessional hymn that accompanies it. While there are certainly exceptions to this guideline, most who leave early don’t need to and ought not to.
Pray After Mass. It is a good custom, though not required, to offer a prayer of thanksgiving after Mass is over. We encourage you to leave church quietly so you won’t disturb others who want to stay and pray.
We need to keep all these Catholic Mass Etiquettes in mind before entering into church and participating in the Mass. This will allow us experience Mass in a more meaningful and prayerful manner, deserving of our Lord and Saviour.
Fr. George Packiasamy