Dress up, not down for Sunday Mass, even in summertime

| Father Michael Van Sloun For The Catholic Spirit | June 22, 2011 | 7 Comments

Entrance sign at Basilica of Trans­fig­u­ration at Mount Tabor in Israel. Photo by Father Michael Van Sloun

Every year, this sensitive summer subject crops up: What to wear for church.

We Minnesotans spend much of the winter bundled up in jackets, sweaters, hats and gloves, and we relish the day when warmer weather lets us peel off all those layers. But how much is too much? What is appropriate dress for church?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that when it comes to the celebration of the Eucharist, “Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity and joy of this mo­ment when Christ becomes our guest” (No. 1387). Clothing ought to reflect re­spect and solemnity.

When it comes to church clothing, it is time to “dress up,” not “dress down.”

When I served St. Benedict the African Catholic Church on the South Side of Chicago, it was customary among African-American Catholics there to wear one’s “Sunday-go-to-meeting-clothes,” a slogan for the best clothes in one’s closet. When people came to Mass, they looked sharp.

In the Holy Land and Rome, there are signs at many sacred sites and security guards that refuse admittance to those who are dressed inappropriately.

Consider how you may dress if you were invited to meet the president at the White House or attend a formal dinner.

Doesn’t a visit to meet Jesus and attend his great banquet, the Euch­a­rist, rank higher? Shouldn’t how we dress reflect this? The Lord deserves our Sunday best.

Father Michael Van Sloun is pastor of St. Stephen in Anoka.


Category: The Lesson Plan