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Church Etiquette

As we come together each week to worship, the following gentle reminders are intended to protect the sacred environment of our Liturgies and to respect those around us. 

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION DEVICES, PHONES AND TABLETS

Please silence all cell phones, tablets and all other electronic devices before entering church. We understand that in this electronic/digital age, some people will use their device to read along with the Mass parts. However, please check your settings when you come to church and keep your devices on silent or vibrate inside the church. Please do not answer your phone while inside the church.  Please do whatever you can do to minimize distracting others with the light coming from your phone or your pop-up notifications and alerts or with blue-tooth devices on your ear. 

QUIET AREA

We are in the House of God and as such should show proper respect. Some people come to prepare for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by praying while others stay after Mass to give thanksgiving for receiving our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Conversations that are louder than a whisper are best kept for outside the main body of the churh such as the lobby/narthex or outdoors. Friendly quiet greetings are fine when you arrive or a short expression of compassion for someone you missed who was away and perhaps ill are kind and thoughtful. But, secular themed discussions such as sports, shopping, your dinner plans, should be resisted inside the church so that they do not distract others who are praying or meditating on the Bible passages of the day. Fellowship is so important and is encouraged, but there are times and places for everything. This world has too few quiet areas and our Catholic churches are places where Christ is truly present in the Most Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. We keep this in mind and do not want to treat His House as a meeting hall, movie theater or stadium.

ARRIVING ON TIME

Please arrive for Mass on time. That means at least five minutes before we start Mass. That way we all have time to settle down, finish the noise of shoes and purses and books. Remember in winter season to allow extra time to park. Where unforeseen circumstances arise and Mass is in progress, please be discreet as possible when taking your seat. If the Bible readings have begun, it would be best to wait to take your seat when everyone stands for the Gospel or during the offertory collection. 

AVOID LEAVING EARLY

Anyone who has a true emergency, should leave early if necessary, but everyone else should attend the whole Mass.  When people leave early, it distracts others who are praying. Squeezing your way down the row past people or slipping out the side doors as the door bangs during Holy Communion, all become an interruption to prayer. It is easy for those who remain to interpret these early departures as a signal that worship has ended. It could even be seen by some as rude toward those who remain. The Sacred Liturgy of the Mass is communal worship. We strive to live and pray in unity. We are not individuals all on our own schedule. We make sacrifices for others. Mass is not over until the priest has given the final blessing and has started his way down the center aisle. Once he has passed your row, feel free to leave, but do not block his path. Just as you would not leave the table at home before the meal has ended, we ask you to stay for the final blessing. On those rare occasions when we have a guest speaker at the end of Mass, it is very rude to stand up and walk out as they are speaking and watching you leave. It distracts them from their purpose in serving the Lord.

MODEST CLOTHING

As we enter the House of our Lord for worship in the Holy Mass, we ask that you dress modestly and appropriately, showing a Christian respect for others. We understand that Arizona is hot, especially in summer. But dress-casual shorts that go down to the knee are much more respectful than gym shorts and shoes or sandals are more reverent than flip-flps. In general, shoulders should be covered, neck-lines should be appropriately higher, dresses should be respectfully longer than what is found at picnics and beach parties. Any words on clothing should fit the profound reverence of the Holy Eucharist in the House of God. Remember, that by dressing modestly, we can help others focus on prayer and less on the temptations prompted by inappropriate clothing choices.

CLEAN ENVIRONMENT

Leaving a clean church for the next Mass provides a spiritual welcome to all who enter. On your way out of the church, please look around your seat and return missalettes, prayer cards, worship aids, bulletins, notices, bottles of water, etc., to their proper place in the back of the church. Our large red hymnals can be stored under the seat if the seat has a shelf, or should be returned to the hymnal racks near the doors.

Thank you for helping us honor God and live in harmony with each other.

 

 


When it comes to appropriate clothing for attending Mass, we are not as strict as Saint Peter's Basilica in Vatican City (Rome), but we hope you will always choose to wear reverent clothing whenever you come to Saint Clare Church for Mass, weddings, funerals and other liturgies. We have no doubt that God loves you as you are and we love you as you are, but clothing does shape the mind and heart to fulfill our purpose in the plan God has established for human life. 

Although shorts are not permitted at Saint Peter's we do ask that those who wear shorts in our church select dressy casual shorts that go to near the knee and women and girls who wear dresses select dresses that go to or nearly to the knees. Gym shorts, bare shoulders, and low necklines should be avoided. Layers can help you dress for Mass and be ready for more casual events after you leave church. Light sweaters or shawls are easy to wear inside and to take off outside. We know it is often hot outside, but that does not mean we should be overly casual inside the church. 

To state the obvious, clothing should not have offensive language or pictures or large distracting graphic images.

How we dress ourselves for church shows self-respect as well as respect for others. We thank you for your consideration of basic human dignity and your awareness of the temptations of the flesh. We should try to not lead others into temptation or distract them from their main purpose at Mass which is for the honor and glory of God.

Some women choose to wear veils on their heads for Mass as an added reverence and in deference to Sacred Scripture (1 Cor. 11:6), but this is not required in our culture today. Men should not wear hats in church.

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