Obviously our priest has a spot where he can see all the etiquette problems that come up. After putting a polite but small notice in our bulletin for several weeks and then watching someone sit chomping gum throughout Mass (two rows in front of us where we watched in fascination ...), he drafted a new etiquette reminder. Not only did it make me laugh but I really loved the last two paragraphs which remind us that these matters of etiquette aren't merely to make those around us happy (though they will!), but because we are there for a much higher purpose.
- Please turn off or silence cell phone and pagers
- Please keep a respectful quiet in the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist before and after Mass
- Please remember appropriate clothing—even/especially during the summer the church should be décolletage-free zone (if you don’t know this word I have one other word for you...Dictionary)
- Please for us as adults, do not bring in cups of coffee from the various chains...or, of course, from home
- Please remember, except in case of true need, bottles of water are not needed...we probably won’t dehydrate in an hour
- Please remember chewing gum by anyone (any age, Catholic or not) is not acceptable ever, at any time, and especially during Mass. Reason? 1. respect 2. one-hour fast prior to Communion
- Please refrain from reading the bulletin, e-mails or text messages during Mass
- Please NO MP3 devices, iPods, Nano or otherwise…
- Please do not come late, scoot out after Communion or rudely leave before the Liturgy is concluded, including the closing hymn
- Please participate in the Mass, Body, Mind and Spirit singing, speaking, praying, attending within the heart and in the body.
The question may be asked, “Why?”. The answer, is reverence, respect, participation. Our obligation is NOT bodily presence in the church during the time the Mass is being celebrated; our obligation each Sunday and Holy Day of obligation is active participation in mind, heart and body in the Liturgy, in which the saving mysteries of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ are celebrated in a way that we may enter into them… If that sounds heady well it may be, but that’s how it is, that is our privilege as Catholics to take part in by prayerfully lifting up our minds and hearts and offering ourselves with Jesus Christ at the altar.
Our Lord unites us with Himself, with one another and with the angels and saints, by the Holy Spirit, in the one and only worship of God The Father when we come to Mass—nothing less. God the Father listens to our prayers with loving and unfailing attention; we should be together as a community, in His Presence in exactly the same way. Please don’t take offense but one of our goals together must be the restoration and maintenance of reverence and participation in the Liturgy—our whole and undivided hearts we must give to God. I would be remiss not to remind us all of our duty and our privilege.