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CHURCH DECORUM By: Michelle Castro Before the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus The Holy Mass is the holiest

event and most precious treasure of the Roman Catholic Church- Because the Holy Mass is the action of Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ offers Himself for us in the Holy Mass. At every celebration of the Holy Mass, Jesus Christ is REALLY PRESENT. Because of the Real Presence of Jesus and His Supreme Sacrifice the Holy Mass becomes our highest form of prayer. And we are all exhorted to participate actively with sound faith and utmost devotion as we gather as one community to publicly celebrate our faith in the Lord. As part of our Parish Formation Program, we present Guidelines on Church Decorum, which outlines the proper conduct of parishioners in the celebration of the Holy Mass to pay due reverence to the Eucharistic Sacrifice, to His Real Presence at the altar. Always COME ON TIME for the mass- preferably 5-10 minutes before- in order to prepare and dispose yourself to the Presence of God. Focus on His love and pray for His blessings. Early comers should occupy the front pews so that late comers may have room at the rear. If you arrive late, enter the rear and be seated at the rear pews so as not to distract the congregation. If the gospel is being read when you arrive, wait for the reading to finish before approaching the pews. Remember that if you miss the liturgy of the Word, your fulfillment of the Mass is incomplete. Upon entering or when leaving the church, BLESS YOURSELF WITH HOLY WATER from the front, and make a reverent Sign of the Cross facing the Altar. We bless ourselves in the name of the Holy Trinity, a profession of faith in our Baptism as we acknowledge the presence of the divinity. GENUFLECT OR BOW to the Blessed Sacrament as a Sign of Reverence. Before entering a pew to take a seat, or upon leaving, genuflect by the aisle on your right knee facing the Altar. When crossing the church center aisle, pause facing the Altar, genuflect or bow reverently while in a stationary position. When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration, we may genuflect on both knees and one knee or bow reverently. DRESS MODESTLY for Mass. Men are encouraged to wear long pants and collared shirts, and women should wear proper dress. Revealing clothes, such as tight pants and blouses, backless, strapless, plunging necklines, or very casual clothes, such as gym shorts, beach outfits or home wear, are all inappropriate attire for Church, especially in the celebration of the Mass. Remember that you come before the King of Kings so come in your "Sunday Best". CELEBRATE MASS INSIDE His Holy House. Respond to Gods Invitation and be part of the Eucharistic celebration with the community inside the church. "Outstanding"

Catholics (those who "stand outside" the Church and "hear" Mass back in the courtyard) are as go od as Not attending Mass at all. TURN OFF PHONES AND PAGERS when inside the Church. Should you inadvertently forget and your phone rings during Mass, do not answer it and turn it off at once. Answering a phone call or texting during Mass are highly irrelevant acts. Maintain Reverent Silence inside the church at all times. If you must, speak in low tones and avoid trivial or unnecessary conversations. PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY. Active participation means CONCELEBRATING THE MASS by uniting ourselves inspirit with the priest, who represent Christ and the Church, and by offering ourselves together with Christ as victims to the heavenly Father. In this active togetherness of heart, the faithful and the priest celebrant offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to the Father. Active participation means following the Rites of the Mass, listening to the readings and the Gospel, praying and singing out loud with the community, and receiving Holy Communion. While private devotions such as praying the Rosary or Novenas are much encouraged, these must not be done during the Mass. Perfect participation in the Eucharistic celebration is by kneeling at Consecration until the great Amen and after receiving HOLY COMMUNION. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, one must be in a STATE OF GRACE, observe the one hour EUCHARISTIC FAST, and seek to live in CHARITY and LOVE with ones neighbor. Communicants must first pray the Act of Contrition. One who is co nscious of grave sin MAY NOT receive the Eucharist WITHOUT previous Sacramental Confession. Make a SIGN OF REVERENCE BEFORE RECEIVING COMMUNION- either by bowing or genuflecting. Deep reverence is due to our lord Jesus Christ whose Real Body and blood are about to receive. In order not to delay the Communion, the person immediately behind the one receiving the Eucharist can already make his sign or reverence by either genuflecting or bowing. Before receiving the Host, ANSWER AMEN in response to the proclamation "The Body of Christ". RECEIVE HOLY COMMUNION PROPERLY BY MOUTH OR HAND. If mouth, extend the tongue fully in order to receive the Communion host well. If by hand, make sure your hands are clean. Receive the Sacred Host on your left palm over your right hand, then step aside and consume the Host while in stationary position facing the Altar. The Eucharistic celebration is concluded only after the priest blesses the assembly, and sends out the faithful with the Peace of Christ. It is not proper to leave immediately after Communion. Parishioners are encouraged to join the choir during the recessional song. LEAVE THE CHURCH SILENTLY AFTER THE MASS for the sake of those who remain praying inside the church. Fellowship must be done outside the CHURCH. Thank you for heeding and teaching your children reverence to God with proper Church Decorum.