The Dos and Don’ts of the Holy Mass in the Catholic Church
Arrive early, Recollect yourself:
The Holy Mass usually begins with the procession of the Priest or Priests and his mass servers to the Altar. It is advised to be in church before the Mass begins to get the full favours that is given from the beginning to its end. When it becomes habitual to arrive later than the beginning of the mass service, it ceases to be a real celebration of complete consecration.
It is not socially acceptable to find a grown person snacking or chewing gum in Church. We want to show God the willingness and our devotion by setting aside a perfect “God-time”. This means we’d try to devote all our attention to the act of worship, to make it as possible as required to be fully in His presence.
Bow or Genuflect:
Every informed Catholic understands and believes that Jesus is present in the Tabernacle. It is required to bow or genuflect as the case may be, in reverence to God, when entering into a Church. Genuflection is a sign of devotion and obedience to the doctrines of the Lord, who for love waits for us in the Tabernacle with blessing and peace.
Don’t Rush to Leave:
Hurrying to leave the Church before the Priest (the minister), defeats the true essence of the Holy Mass. The Mass ends officially when the priest leaves the Church. It is often advised you sit/kneel in a silent prayer of thanksgiving or simply gaze at Jesus in the Tabernacle, smile at him and just be joyful. After which one could leave quietly in order not to distract others.
Modesty and prudence are to watchwords in the house of the Lord. Don’t attract too much attention by putting on something open. We also love to think of Sunday as a real celebration, keep this in mind and put on the best you have. God is holy, your body is his Temple, cover it, and adorn it moderately.
Texting, chatting, calls, and basically, the functional use of any gadgets are prohibited in the Church. The only exception to this is a matter of emergency. Whatever it be, let it be serious and be discreet while attending to it. It is usually better to quietly leave the Church to attend to the emergency than text or receive calls while the service is going on.
The Church requires every communicant to begin preparing to receive Jesus by observing an hour fast (from food) before the consecration and holy communion. The only exception to this is on the basis of old age, young toddlers, sick or convalescing.
It is traditional to show some reverence before, during and after communion. One should meditate, pray and prepare themselves before approaching the altar to receive the Holy Communion. There is also a deep prayer after receiving the communion and a moment to eat His body and blood.
We were urged to love God and then our neighbours, as much as we love ourselves. Treat them with kindness and generosity. Be charitable with your time and assistance. Respect their boundaries and always value relationship among fellow Christians.
Be actively present and participate in the activities going on around you. Stand when it is time to stand and kneel when you have to. Share grace, shake hands, give your offerings and thanks. This is the way of a true Christian.