A priest in Mexico City is recommending Catholics turn off their cell phones, dress appropriately and arrive on time in order to participate more fully in the Mass.
In an article titled, “Good Manners in God’s House,” published by the Archdiocese of Mexico City’s News Service on Jan. 16, Father Sergio Roman said Mexican Catholics should remember where they are when they attend Mass on Sundays.
“Don’t smoke, don’t eat or drink at church. Don’t chew gum or stick it under the pews. Don’t chatter with others. Don’t pray your own personal prayers out loud,” the priest wrote.
“Take a bath, remove your hats, dress properly, because the Mass is a celebration. Respect the postures called for by the liturgy,” he added. “Give up your seat for an elderly person or for a woman. If you dose off, at least don’t snore. Mind your manners!”
Fr. Roman also responded to complaints about babies crying during the Mass, saying that while sometimes parents are at fault for not taking their babies out of the church, “We cannot prohibit families with children from attending Mass.”
To do so would be to betray “the love the Church proclaims for the family.” However, “we can teach mothers and fathers to take them outside for a few minutes until they calm down,” he said.
“My sacristan has a basket of lollipops which he discretely hands out to children who are crying,” the priest noted. “Little by little, children will understand that the Mass requires that they be on their best behavior.”
Fr. Roman underscored that in almost every parish there is a liturgy team made up of lay people who volunteer to serve the congregation, and he invited Mexican Catholics to participate as lectors, ushers and assistants at their local parishes.
“The Mass is your Mass. Look at it this way so that you can experience it more deeply,” he said.