The following excerpts are from Father Chris Shofner’s insightful June 5, 2016, bulletin article.
This time of year our minds shift to summer plans and outdoor recreation. As we take advantage of these months, let us be mindful of the Lord and thank Him for His goodness toward us. Remember that the summer is not a time to take a break from our faith. Even when we're on vacation, we still have an obligation to worship each Sunday — there are very few places where a Catholic church is not within a reasonable distance. For more information on churches in areas where you might be this summer, including Mexico and Canada, please visit www.MassTimes.org.
The beginning of summer is a good time to be reminded of proper attire at Mass. The warmer weather is a temptation to wear less clothing or more revealing clothing. However, we must keep in mind that when we come to Mass, it's not like we're at the mall or the beach or the backyard. It is the house of God. Thus we should always be respectful, not just in how we behave, but in how we dress.
As a kid, my mom used to make us change into our "church clothes" before going to Mass — that usually meant slacks and a nice shirt. We could change back into shorts and t-shirts after Mass when we got back home. That weekly routine taught me a disciplined approach to thinking conscientiously about the dignity of the Mass: Why do we change clothes? Because we are coming into the presence of Our Lord, and how we dress speaks volumes about our regard for Him. I offer here some simple norms for dressing appropriately for Mass. All attire should be:
Practically speaking, inappropriate clothing would include tank tops, short shorts, midriffs, tight-fitting tops or jeans, or other attire that unduly accentuates the features of the body. Surely, we all have clothing in our drawers and closets that can be worn in its place.
St. Paul speaks about the need to "glorify God in your body" (1 Corinthians 6:20). He deserves only our best. We should try, as St. Paul exhorts, to "present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God" (Romans 12:1). Our attire should be pure, proper, chaste and decent. It should not call attention to ourselves. While this applies to all who come to worship at the Mass, this is particularly important for those who serve publicly in any of the altar ministries (Altar Servers, Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers, Lectors). In the coming months, please enjoy all your summer activities, but please keep these guidelines in mind as we gather for worship.