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Reverence, Silence & Respect In Parishes


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I was sharing an apartment one summer with a Jewish couple. I went to Mass on Sunday evenings and would often change -- out of a grubby jeans and t-shirt into a nicer jeans and t-shirt and then I'd hop on the subway and go off to church.

One of my housemates, who is a good friend of mine, was baffled by this behavior. "You're going to church in that???"

"Yeah, what of it?"

Apparently in just about any Jewish community, liberal conservative or anywhere in between, you are instructed to greet the Sabbath as a bridegroom greets his bride, and just about everyone dresses for the occasion.

I must confess that the occasional bulletin instruction to "dress appropriately and show some respect!!!" leaves me more than cold. [img]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/public/style_emoticons/default/mad.gif[/img]

But "greet the Sabbath as a bridegroom greets his bride" that seems enticing.

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This thread has become so odd - if rather entertaining - that I cannot resist adding a very funny memory. In her best-selling book, "Karen" (1950s, when women still had to cover their heads in ch

If jeans are unacceptable for women, are they also for men? Also: tank tops and other sleeveless shirts, t-shirts (tight, torn, and/or with problematic illustrations or slogans), shorts, etc. Let

I remember being at a TLM at Rouen in Normandy, a lady entered with a mantilla. My (very) trad friend  whispered to me "that's how you spot the american tourist." Same at Chartres, you could spot the

[quote name='JoyfulLife' date='02 August 2010 - 07:29 PM' timestamp='1280788169' post='2151124']
Absolutely. With some persistance, you can find simple, modest, loose, COMFY skirts, dresses and blouses.
[/quote]

I don't mind the skirts so much (as long as I'm allowed to wear shorts underneath, lol), but it's the blouses I have the hardest time with. It's difficult to find blouses that a) match the skirts and b) actually fit me nicely. The latter is the most difficult. I'm not terribly overweight, but I'm not super skinny. And I have broad shoulders. Tends to be difficult to find good blouses.

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One of the things I keep in mind is that I don't know the circumstances of peoples lives. Maybe they can't afford better clothes or something before or after Mass influenced what they were wearing for example just getting off of work or having to go to work right after.

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I find that the quietest and most reverent masses at my parish are daily masses. I guess that it is due to the self-selectivity of daily mass attendees. I love the early morning silence and how everyone is totally immersed in the mystery and sacrifice of the mass.
A note on dress:
I sometimes go to daily mass before heading to the gym to work out in the mornings. I've created a weird sort of outfit that allows me to feel "dressed" for mass but enables me to morph into fitness gal quickly. I put on my regular gym outfit (running tights and a tee or camisole) and then I just pull on a long skirt and long sleeved tee shirt over my fitness outfit. I keep my running shoes and a pair of black flats in my car and I can just switch out shoes and pull off the skirt and tee when I get to the gym.

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[quote name='vee8' date='02 August 2010 - 06:39 PM' timestamp='1280788742' post='2151130']
One of the things I keep in mind is that I don't know the circumstances of peoples lives. Maybe they can't afford better clothes or something before or after Mass influenced what they were wearing for example just getting off of work or having to go to work right after.
[/quote]

:yes:

There are times when I have felt so sick I didn't want to go to Mass, much less dress up, so I put on a pair of nice long pants and a modest shirt (usually a button up) and head out. It happened yesterday. I did not want to go to Mass, but I needed to because of my situation with my job and school issues and I needed to ask for strength in this battle. I'm very glad I went. :)

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[quote name='TeresaBenedicta' date='02 August 2010 - 07:21 PM' timestamp='1280787685' post='2151119']
I think, culturally, it's hard for those sorts of reasons to resonate with me. I accept them, of course, and I do honestly try, most of the time, to present myself as nicely as possible for Holy Mass... but the concept just doesn't resonate very well with me, for better or for worse.
[/quote]


Maybe thinking on the fact that we are Temples of the Holy Spirit, and that we are God's, not our own. I also heard it said somewhere that we are like a Monstrance, holding Jesus within us. And Monstrances are all dazzled up with gold and such, so too we should modestly clothe ourselves.


"Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is like a monstrance holding God, the Blessed Trinity."
From a book on proper love of self: [url="http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=107015"]http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/index.php?showtopic=107015[/url]

Edited by JoyfulLife
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[quote name='JoyfulLife' date='02 August 2010 - 08:16 PM' timestamp='1280790991' post='2151148']
Maybe thinking on the fact that we are Temples of the Holy Spirit, and that we are God's, not our own. I also heard it said somewhere that we are like a Monstrance, holding Jesus within us. And Monstrances are all dazzled up with gold and such, so too we should modestly clothe ourselves.
[/quote]

Oh, I certainly agree-- modesty is super important.

Being "dressed up"... that's where I find it difficult at times. But again, like I said, I think it's mostly a cultural thing for me.

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  • 8 months later...
FutureSister2009

I have black jeans that are kind of dressy that I wear to Sunday Mass mostly during the winter. I've been told about some of the dresses I am gulty of wearing in the past so now I have a shrug that I wear over them.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I visit a parish other than my home parish during the week for evening Mass and when I first started attending back in September of last year I was the *only* person who knelt down and prayed an extended thanksgiving after the Mass ended. I even got the sense that I was annoying the sacristan for keeping him from locking up the chapel. Now, almost eight months later, there are 4 or 5 individuals who always stop and pray before leaving after each Mass and we are always allowed a good amount of time to do so. It's an amazing improvement.

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Totally Franciscan

I have found it nearly impossible to pray at my parish church before OR after Mass. People just chat away, laugh, visit; one would think it was a protestant congregation having "fellowship". So fed up was I that I emailed the pastor (I really don't do well face to face when I am boiling angry) and told him of my consternation at not being able to pray and of the lack of reverence in the church congregation as a whole. I didn't hear from him, but the following Sunday, I noticed a tiny little box at the bottom of the last page of the bulletin saying, "Silence is appreciated for those trying to pray". That was it. Guess what? It did absolutely nothing. The visiting and conversations continue at a frantic pace. Makes me want to cry. :wall:

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[quote name='TeresaBenedicta' timestamp='1280792260' post='2151158']
Oh, I certainly agree-- modesty is super important.

Being "dressed up"... that's where I find it difficult at times. But again, like I said, I think it's mostly a cultural thing for me.
[/quote]

I don't think it's important to "dress up". The Queen's servants do not wear ball gowns to serve their Queen, no matter what the occassion. They do, however, always appear tidy and as though their clothes were chosen deliberately for their function. In the same sense, nuns don't wear rags, though they do wear clothing that is pretty much the opposite of glamorous -- clothing that is functional, respectable and deliberate. Just a thought.

Personally, I was raised in a Southern Baptist household and when I first started attending my parish I could not fathom the casual way that Catholics dressed. It blew my mind that I had always attended a church where we dressed up (dare I say religiously) to sing praise songs in the equivalent of an auditorium and here I was attending a Church in which everyone around me believed that God Almighty was truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity and yet so many parishioners looked as though they were all set to go camping right after the closing hymn.

BUT there is a world of difference between the Protestant conception of worship and Catholic devotion in practice -- and it started to dawn on me that Catholics are much more casual about their appearance when visiting their parish because they visit their parish a whole heck of a lot more often. The idea of visiting church in the middle of the day just to say "Hi" to Jesus would completely baffle a Baptist. Yet that fluidity between normal, daily life and the devotional life of church makes it easier to be more casual with Our Lord -- and while He is the Divine Wooer of our hearts, our King and our Final Judge (and I would definitely dress up for a date, a royal visit or a day at court), He is also our brother, intercessor and closest confidante and that interplay between unfathomable grandeur and intimate closeness is part of the essential reality of the Faith.

When I began working with a lady with schizophrenia who wanted to know more about the Catholic faith, though, and I began to learn about her struggles just getting herself together to leave the house I found myself resolving that I would never judge anyone for the way they dress to go to church again. I found myself saying things like "Oh, don't worry how you look! It's dark inside and we'll just sit in the back. No problem!" It made me realize that there were things I was saying I wanted for Jesus that were really more about me and my aesthetic preferrences.

But then again, there is that whole "preaching without words" element to our devotional practices -- and I do think it's valid to ask if an atheist saw you visiting your parish, would he be convinced that you believe you are visiting the Maker of Heaven and Earth?

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[quote name='JenDeMaria' timestamp='1303872762' post='2233780']
But then again, there is that whole "preaching without words" element to our devotional practices -- and I do think it's valid to ask if an atheist saw you visiting your parish, would he be convinced that you believe you are visiting the Maker of Heaven and Earth?
[/quote]
:yahoo: :notworthy: :bravo:

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[quote name='JenDeMaria' timestamp='1303872762' post='2233780']
But then again, there is that whole "preaching without words" element to our devotional practices -- and I do think it's valid to ask if an atheist saw you visiting your parish, would he be convinced that you believe you are visiting the Maker of Heaven and Earth?
[/quote]

Definitely a good point!

I suppose I find it difficult (although I'm much without excuse). I am [i]so[/i] uncomfortable in dress up clothes. I hate doing it for much of anything-- from a nice dinner to a party to Mass. And perhaps it's silly, but I actually have a hard time praying when I'm dressed up.

Eh. There's not much to say. Except I can't wait for a habit, if not for this very reason!

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teresitacarmel

[quote name='TeresaBenedicta' timestamp='1303876509' post='2233804']
Definitely a good point!

I suppose I find it difficult (although I'm much without excuse). I am [i]so[/i] uncomfortable in dress up clothes. I hate doing it for much of anything-- from a nice dinner to a party to Mass. And perhaps it's silly, but I actually have a hard time praying when I'm dressed up.

Eh. There's not much to say. Except I can't wait for a habit, if not for this very reason!
[/quote]

I feel uncomfortable getting all dressed up too. It makes me stressed out and distracted, like I have to make sure everything is in place. And high heels just give me blisters, haha. Neat and tidy is usually what I go for, nothing too fancy. I don't think it's silly, cuz I have a hard time praying when I'm dressed up too....it's like your mind keeps wandering off into thoughts about your appearance.

As for silence, I was soooo annoyed just last week at the Good Friday service. The two women next to me were chatting like they were having afternoon tea! They kept talking about buying tickets for some concert or whatever. Ugh. I was trying soooo hard to offer it up, lol! It took a lot of effort to not blow up, haha.....

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I am guilty of wearing jeans to Mass also. usally I goto our dogpound before hand and help out so thats the reason for the jeans.
However I have been wearing my long skirts and modest tops.

In terms of people chatting it is very upsetting that people have forgotten where they are. I try so hard to ignor them.

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