PROPER CHURCH ETIQUETTE


  • Communion Policy

  • Attire

  • Arrival

  • Enter Church

  • Quite Time

  • Kneeling

  • Sign of Peace

  • Receiving Communion

  • Sign of the Cross

  • Leaving Church

  • I.C. Home

  • Who may receive Communion at a Catholic Mass?
    The National Conference of Bishops offers these stipulations for practicing Catholics: “In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour.

    A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intentions of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916)”.

    For all practical purposes, non-Catholics are excluded from taking Communion at a Catholic church. Explaining their reasoning, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops teaches that reception of the Eucharist by Christians not fully united with us would imply a oneness which does not yet exist, and for which we must all pray.

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    Attire
    The idea of “Sunday best” should be honored; churchgoers of all
    ages should dress conservatively. Coat and tie is appropriate for
    men, but not required. Women should wear modest dresses, skirts
    and slacks; no tank Back Homes, short skirts or tight-fitting clothing.

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    Arrival
    Arrive at least 10 minutes before Mass begins. This helps reduce distractions and provides time to get settled. Latecomers should
    wait to be seated by ushers so as not to disrupt the service and the congregation.

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    Entering the church
    It is optional to bless yourself with holy water, but as a sign of
    respect for the Blessed Sacrament, genuflect before taking your seat.
    Slide over to the center of the pew to accommodate others who arrive after you.

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    Quiet time
    The liturgy is not the time to socialize with friends or prepare
    the offering envelope. Instead, sit quietly or pray. Turn off cell phones and pagers.

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    Kneeling
    Respect for the Eucharist demands that we kneel on our knees without
    leaning back on the pew. Be careful not to drop or bang the kneelers.
    If ill or disabled, it is acceptable to sit.

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    Sign of Peace
    People usually shake hands or exchange a quick kiss, but if you have a
    cold or cough, you can politely say, “Peace be with you,” without shaking hands.

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    Receiving Communion
    Receive the holy Eucharist with reverence, bow slightly and respond “Amen.”
    If receiving the host by hand, place the left hand over the right (or opposite
    if you are left handed) and raise your arms slightly. Gum or candy should never
    be in your mouth when taking the host.

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    Sign of the Cross
    Join your hands; touch the forehead with the tips of your three longest fingers
    on your right hand, to the center of your chest, then to your left and right
    shoulder (in that order).

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    Leaving the church
    The final part of Mass is singing a closing hymn. Leaving before the
    hymn ends is inappropriate. Genuflect toward the altar before leaving
    the pew or at the end of the pew.

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