Skip to Content

From the Pastor 09/17/17

I am in Maine, so I had to write up my Pastor’s column before I left. Recently I came across some tips on Reverence in Church. I have also expanded on these original tips and made them more relevant to our church. I thought they would be a good reminder for all of us.

Called to Worship

The outside bells ring five minutes before Mass begins calling us to worship. A good practice is to be in church before the bells ring, thus giving yourselves a few minutes to ask Jesus to bless the hour you are here to worship him, to participate well in the Holy Eucharist, and share faith with one another. Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you during the Mass so you can truly be present during the Holy Sacrifice. The reverence we show in arriving on time and being properly prepared allows everyone to worship without distraction. If for any reason you arrive late you are most welcome to the Holy Mass. Please wait for a pause in the worship before finding a seat, or follow the directives of the ushers who will find you a place to sit.

Genuflect (on the right knee) before entering and leaving a pew as a sign of adoration and greeting directed towards the Divine Presence of the Blessed Sacrament. It has also been a tradition to bow slightly at the mention of the name of Jesus. Both the genuflection and the bow are symbolic of one’s humility in the presence of the Lord.

Fast for one hour before the reception of Holy Communion from all solids and liquids (except water and any medicine you might need to take). This is about 15 minutes before the beginning of Mass. This is a small sacrifice we offer to Jesus to show our respect and reverence for His True Presence in the Eucharist.

Dress with dignity. In order to show our Lord that we have deep respect for the Real Presence of His Body and Blood present in the Eucharist, we dress with dignity. God has given us the greatest gift, His Son, and in return, it is appropriate to present ourselves in proper clothes and attitudes as a sign of reverence and respect for this gift. God will always accept us no matter how we are dressed, but do we love Jesus enough to make an effort to dress appropriately for Him and for others who come to church?

Bless yourself with Holy Water upon entering and leaving the church. Holy Water is a popular sacramental and religious tradition used to bless oneself. Its use upon entering the church as a reminder of one’s baptism and a gesture of purifying oneself before approaching the Presence of God. The holy water fonts get changed out twice a week for cleanliness.

Keep your voice low when greeting one another in church. Nurturing the faith community is indeed important. However, we must be mindful of the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as well as being considerate of others who are praying. Please have your extended conversations outside or in the Parish Center. Many people come early to pray or stay after Mass to give a thanksgiving to God for the Holy Eucharist. Please be mindful that many want to pray before and after Mass.

Join with us in song. I continue to be amazed by so many who do not open the hymnal and join with us in song. It does not matter if you have a great voice. You don’t have to sing loud. To sing is to pray twice. It doesn’t matter if you are not familiar with a certain hymn. We try very hard to introduce you to good Catholic hymns that bring our minds and our hearts to worship of Almighty God.

Attention to the Word

Ideally we should be focused on the lector and listening to the Word being proclaimed rather than reading it, but of course you are welcome to follow along in the II Vatican or Breaking Bread hymnals.

Open your mind and heart and be attentive to the proclamation of God’s word. Try to discover the meaning of these readings in your life, and listen well to the homily.

Respond with “Thanks be to God” following the first and second readings. These acknowledgments create an openness to the indwelling of the message of God. We all join in the singing of the Responsorial Psalm. This is a joyful response to the Living Word of God. Rise out of respect and prepare for God’s message in the Gospel selection by singing the Alleluia verse. Following the reading of the Gospel, glorify the Lord with the response, “Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ.”

Respond to all the prayers during Mass. This is your way to stay alert and attentive to the holiness of the Mass. Concentrate on what you are doing and saying during Mass. Discover how beautiful and Scripture-based are most of the prayers of Holy Mass.

Bring your whole family, including small children, to Mass with you. Encourage them to participate in the celebration and learn its meaning. The vestibule of the church also acts as a Cry Room. If a child becomes fussy, please bring them to the Cry Room and stay with them until they are ready to return to the main church.

Next week part II of Reverence in Church. A blessed week to all,

Rev. André-Joseph LaCasse, O.P., Pastor