(As told by a priest to his congregation in Canada )
Remember you have entered into the house of God for the purpose of prayer, adoration, reflection, or to celebrate a sacrament.
Now is not the time to talk to your friends, but to talk to God. Please do not bring in any cups of coffee!
In order to help you enter into a sacred space we ask you to remember.
1. Turn off cell phones. Do not text messages or check your Face book account from the pews or the back of the church. Leave your social media devices in the car or at home. It’s time to focus on God. It’s distracting for others who are trying to pray. If you are waiting for an important phone call, consider going to Mass at another time. Cameras likewise should be left in the car, unless you are coming for a tour of the church and you have checked with the tour guide.
2. Do not chew gum during Mass or put it in your side cheek, to chew on it later. Spit it out before entering into a church. Did you know that you are supposed to be prayerfully fasting for an hour before Mass? There is a possibility that if you keep the gum in your mouth and resume chewing after receiving the Eucharist, you may unintentionally spit out a bit of the body of Jesus. That would be sacrilegious.
3. Dress with dignity for Mass. It seems that many women, many girls in this day and age have a need to always have a ‘sexy’ look. Mass is not a cocktail party. Mass is not a hockey arena. Come dressed with decorum, an aura of dignity. Consider teaching your children the different types of dress are important for different occasions. For everything there is a time. Please remember to dress modestly and ensure sure your daughters do, too. Bare shoulders and visible bra straps are not a good idea. They are highly distracting.
4. Do not bring children’s activity bags, granola bars, cheerio’s, juice boxes, water bottles, toys including a child’s DS, play station, game boy, iPod touch or similar types of amusements to church. Mass is only one hour long. Children would grow in virtue if their parents expected them to detach from these things for at least an hour a week. For little toddlers there are beautiful series of little Catholic books put out by Father Lovasik. There are plastic rosaries or books about saints. Immerse your children in spiritual treasures during Mass.
5. Parents have a duty give their children ongoing, on the job training, all the time. That includes the obligation to train their children in the appropriate times to kneel, sit, stand and face the altar. If children are engaged in playing with toys, eating, and drinking, they are surely not being taught about the fact that Jesus is really up there on the altar, significance of prayer, self control, and the importance of participating in the Mass. Parents themselves get distracted with managing the dispensing of food and toys. On top of that it is a distraction to others in the pews who could be hungry themselves, or who are trying to fully participate in Mass.
6. Do not drink bottled water in a house of worship. If an adult, for some reason needs to drink water to take some medication, please leave the church premises or at least the Mass and drink the water, if you must outside the celebration of the Eucharist.
7. If you are late for Mass, please do not walk down the aisles looking for a seat until it’s appropriate. You are disrupting others. The Toronto Symphony does not allow late comers to waltz in at ‘whatever’ time. Church ushers should be trained to enforce this. Please do not leave Mass before it ends. You will be missing the supernatural graces of the final blessing. Besides it’s a bad example for your kids
8. Do not be an observer of the Mass, but a participator. Don’t ask yourself, ‘What is this Mass doing for me?” Instead, ask yourself, ‘What can I do to participate in the Mass more fully?” Make an effort to listen, follow the readings, the homily, read scripture passages before Mass, learn the prayers of the Mass, follow along in the misslette and sing! You will become an outstanding role model for your kids.
9. Do not have conversations during the Mass. You would never have a conversation, during a performance of the symphony. If you did, you would be asked to correct your behavior or leave. Quite simply it’s rude.
10. It might be useful to ask ourselves,Who am I? Why am I here?
The answers: To know God, to love him and serve Him especially at Mass!
ENJOY in the LORD’S presence during the Eucharist Celebration.
As you enter the House God, take some holy water provided at the entrance and sign yourself with the following words:
May the holy waters of baptism, bless me, wash me clean and make me whole, In the Name of the Father and of The Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Before entering your pew, genuflect before The King of Kings and Lord of Lords, saying:
I bow down before you and adore you most Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
At the end of the Mass, after a brief period of thanksgiving prayer, before exiting the pew say:
Thank you Abba Father, thank you Lord Jesus and thank you Holy Spirit for permitting me to be so long in your holy presence and for all the blessings you have showered upon me and this congregation.