How much more important is this formal meal with your Creator?
I look at it this way. If you were invited to a formal dinner with the president, would you go there dressed in jeans or shorts and a t shirt?
Yes, I too want to participate in this timeless, awesome sacrifice with all the dignity, honor, and humility it demands. What types of social and cultural trappings are tied to it though may not be as important as is the attitude with which we approach it. Respectful attire seems important to me too, but maybe one person’s view of what that no fan of relativism, but in non-essentials like this I think there is value in approaching with charity. As a thought, maybe if people more fully understood just what is happening in the Mass, they may approach it with the dignity it deserves.
Gerry, while I appreciate the spirit of that question, I also think that it can be misconstrued. Most of us would wear a tuxedo (men) or formal evening gown (women) to a formal dinner with the president. Few of us would consider those appropriate garments for Sunday Mass…
Set the example, return dignity to the sacred space and the congregation may follow
I know, it’s sad is it not, that we would wear a tuxedo or evening gown to meet the President but the thought of wearing that attire to the Holy Sacrafice of the Mass would almost be unthinkable?
Societal norms influence all aspects of our lives. Call it cultural evolution, but at what point do we say, “enough.” There has been many a time when I would greet people before and after Mass seeing what I consider appalling to wear during the sacrifice of our Lord. Influencing the standard of dress of the laity at Mass is no small task. How do you redefine a societal norm? Establish a standard within your own environs. As clergy we can set the standards for our own lay ministers in the liturgy. Who it be too much to ask our extraordinary ministers, lectors, cantors, altar servers, ushers to dress in suits, ties, and dresses?
I would say the more important factor is basic modesty. Being a man I only have a view from one side of this point, but I am sure men a guilty too.
Women and girls should not have open (reveling) tops, or high-cut (reveling) dresses on. For my sake as a man and for the Priests, Deacons, and alter servers. I cannot believe what some parents allow their daughters to wear sometimes.
There are the lude attire, normal attire, and very modest attire parishioners in our parish. I don’t think all women should wear an ankle length jean dress; but at least have some modesty.
This was my parish when I was growing up
No wonder children don’t know how to dress at Mass! Have you seen their parents? Wow, men in tight short and sandals, women in low cut and no back dresses!
I’ve seen better and more respectfully dressed people at buddhist teachings. Women almost always wear long skirts or dresses and nothing low cut. Why you may ask? Because most teachings are given by celibate monks and it’s considered disrespectul to them and the teachings!
Msgr., I know it’s not the focus of your post, but I wanted to comment on the photo. If you had not said that this is a parish church in Chicago, I would swear that this is St. John the Evangelist parish in Canton, Massachusetts. This parish is an exact duplicate of my parish, right down to the Stations of the Cross on the wall, the grate used in front of the baptistry, Delaware rapid cash even the type of marble used for the sanctuary floor and the altar rail. (I spent many hours in that sanctuary as an altar server.) Could you tell me what parish this is? I’m astounded and curious now. Thank you.