Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Not to Wear if you want to show respect

It has been my rant for many years now about what folks wear to Mass on Sundays....or any other Mass during the week.  From Altar servers in cargo shorts and t-shirts to mohawks and running gear as Eucharistic Ministers, I stand appalled on a regular basis.  Chewing gum and texting during Mass gets me wondering,  "Where are these people spiritually?  Why are they here: Coercion, habit, or lukewarm mentality?

When these are kids, I just have to blame the adults in their lives for not encouraging them to understand what the Mass is and why it is an amazing and spiritually rejuvenating sacrament in which we participate, celebrate, and share with the community. 

Just yesterday, I was talking with my friend at a volleyball scrimmage our daughters were in.  We have a new volleyball coach and our first game is tonight.  She leaned over and asked me, "What do you think she gonna wear to the game?"  Hm, our first volleyball coach wore a tie and dress pants to the games consistently.  Our girls respected him and there were no slackers at the games.  It showed us that he took his job seriously, during the practices, he wore athletic pants, team t-shirt, but at the games, he put on his professional look.

Always thinking of a good analogy for how to dress for Mass, this scenario has a parallel to the youth groups,  their leaders, AND parents, too.  Doesn't it make sense that as we prepare our youth for Christ and meeting Him in the sacraments that when it's time to attend Mass, we should show up in a tie (or the female equivalent) for the same reason this young volleyball coach does?


kkollwitz said...

I wear a coat & tie (usually a suit & tie) to teach 6th grade catechism. It makes a difference.

As you say, "It showed us that he took his job seriously"

Barbara Schoeneberger said...

It may seem strange, but I think dressing properly to meet the King of Heaven at every Mass is a sign of practicing the virtue of religion. If we were going to meet the Queen of England or the President of the U.S., would we wear cargo pants and flip-flops? The palace guards and Secret Service wouldn't let us in the door.

Anonymous said...

I was brought up to dress for church, and I bring my children up to dress for church, because that is how I can show respect. I have often been frustrated when I see kids come in wearing soccer uniforms, etc., jeans, yada yada, but I'm trying to rethink my attitude. There was a week or two where everyone was posting on this topic, and it gave me much food for thought.

It is possible that people are wearing casual clothes to church because church isn't important, but it's just as likely that the reason is much more innocent. We've developed into a super-casual society. For example, in my town, there are exactly two restaurants that have any kind of a dress code--and this is a town with hundreds of restaurants. We often find ourselves frustrated b/c if we wanted to go to a classy, upscale dinner, we'd go in dressed up and find everyone else in shorts. And after all, howeer a person is dressed, they've taken the time to *come* to church, which many don't. If a person's attire is a sign of disrespect within them, it's not a good thing, but casual dress in and of itself really isn't important to God. Dress is a human concern, not a divine one.

I can say these things to myself, and they make sense, but I still have the same reaction that you do. It's something I struggle to reconcile.

Moonshadow said...

eBeth singles out some of the "principles," though: altar servers and EMs, not Joe Catholic. I'm ok with making a distinction.

We've got a Third Order who wears sleeveless shirts and she sits up front! She has a heart of gold but ... didn't get the memo, somehow.

Our ushers are a rough bunch as well. I was literally thanking God under my breath just this morning when the ushers approached for the sign of peace and not one of them had on a football jersey. (A local team plays tonight pre-season). However, it's getting to be that time of year when someone at Sunday mass will be wearing a football jersey.

When I taught rel. ed., I dressed up too. Part of the reason I don't teach is that, since I'm not working, I don't have anything appropriate to wear anymore. The teachers in the program who work usually come straight from there and look super for class!

RAnn said...

Generally I wear work clothes to mass--but the reality is that my work clothes, on the whole, are far more casual than they were ten years ago. I work for a law firm and if I see an attorney in a suit, I know he is on his way to court. Shorts haven't become acceptable in my office, but I went to a competitor's office recently and saw their senior partner in shorts.

As a general rule I don't allow my kids to wear shorts to church; however to insist on clothes more formal than jeans would put them outside the normal dress for kids their age and I've just decided that I don't want to be the one giving them a dumb reason not to want to go to church.

Lisa - the Granola Catholic said...

We definitely have standards for what to wear to church. Since it is often 100 degrees here in the summer, shorts are fine for my son, as long as he wears a shirt with a collar. My daughters, 13 and 11, typically wear a cute dress with sandals. I will allow my children to wear jeans when the weather is cold and bad, however, but they most be clean, and in good condition.