We’re in the heat of summer and despite the long days, it seems that more and more people are rushing to Mass each Sunday and forgetting something very important: their clothes.
I’ve seen more bronzed thighs, upper backs and chests on display at Mass the last few weeks than I’ve seen walking around the Minnesota lakes all summer.
While some believe it’s acceptable to trade in dress pants and crisp shirts for jean shorts on a summer Sunday, others appear to be taking this sentiment to a whole new level. Short shorts. Neon flip flops. Sagging cargo shorts. Revealing halter tops.
I’m not a stickler for ultra-dressy Mass attire, but I also recognize the importance of the time spent in a pew on Sunday and try to dress accordingly.
One Minnesota priest recently wrote in a guest column for the Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Spirit, that it’s time for us to dress up and not down for Sunday Mass.
“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,” he said.
We can reach a new level of respect and solemnity during the summer months by merely adding a cardigan to a tank top, switching out a pair of shorts for capris or opting for a polo versus a worn t-shirt before heading to Mass.
“We’re not called to be vain or seek false or negative attention, and I’m not advocating for an obsession of the exterior over the interior. But I am saying that what you wear and how you carry yourself says something about who you are,” fellow CatholicMatch blogger Meg McDonnell wrote in a “Faith, Hope & Love” post earlier this year.
No matter where you sit on the appropriate Mass apparel spectrum, think twice this summer before donning your beach apparel to church. It’s not about what you’re wearing – it’s about who you’re meeting.