Mass Etiquette

~Showing Reverence~

Mass etiquette is a wonderful way to show reverence when you are invited to attend this special Catholic service. It is a time that is dedicated to worshiping for them and it is vital that you show your respect.

Mass is a religious service that has at its heart the Eucharist of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is the representation of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Mass also includes a sermon, scriptural readings, the Eucharist prayer and communion. 

mass etiquetteDuring Mass, there are certain times when everyone should stay seated. When the Scriptures are being read, the sermon is being given and when the priest is saying the words of Consecration (the Eucharist prayer). The only exceptions to this is if you become ill or you have a crying child to comfort.

You may wonder why you will not be able to partake of the Communion when that time comes. Only members of the church who have received their First Sacrament and have fasted for one hour prior to Mass can partake. It is very sacred and it is felt that a nonmember would not have the right understanding of that which is happening.

If you have been invited to share in a Mass ceremony, there are a few things that you should do to help you feel comfortable. Remember that the person who has invited you has done so with love in their heart and wants to share something very important to them with you. 

Good religious etiquette is shown when, although not a member of the Catholic church, you respect all of the proceedings that will be taking place during the Mass. It is important to remember that no one is going to think you are no supposed to be there. They are happy that you have come.

So here are a few guidelines for good Mass etiquette:

  • Be sure to arrive on time. It is even better that you arrive a few minutesmass etiquette early, so that you will be in your seat when the ceremony starts.
  • Turn off your cell phone.  It is very irreverent to have your cell phone ringing or buzzing during any type of religious ceremony.
  • Dress appropriately. You will be in a place that is considered very holy to the members of the church. Gentlemen need to wear pants and a nice shirt. Ladies you should wear clothes that cover your body. It is good service etiquette to wear clothes that cover your shoulders, chest and knees. Avoid clothing that is too tight as well. Gentlemen and ladies, please wear clothes that are clean and well-kept.
  •  Sit quietly. This is a time that you need to be reverent. It is not a time to catch up on the latest bit of news. When the church bells ring, it is time for all to observe the silence that is necessary in Mass. Listen to what is said. 
  • Do what you feel comfortable doing. It is considered polite to stand and sit when the congregation does, however if you do not feel comfortable doing so, then remain seated. When the congregation has been invited to receive the Communion, you can remain seated or approach the altar with the others. If you choose to approach the altar, cross your hands over your chest. This tells the priest that you would like to receive a blessing and not partake.
  • Stay until the end of Mass. It is considered bad mass etiquette to get up and leave during any part of the service, unless you are ill or tending to a crying baby.
  • Leave reverently. At the end of the service, quietly leave the Church. It is appropriate to visit outside and enjoy the company of friends there. 
Being invited to participate in a special time such as this is a gesture of love. Mass etiquette will hopefully give you the opportunity to enjoy the time, rather than feeling uncomfortable in a new setting. Any time you are asked to share in a religious observance, take time to reflect on what you believe and how you feel.

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