Proper Catholic Etiquette at Mass and Away

by Theresa Thomas | December 13, 2011 12:03 am

Photography © by Andy Coan

During the beginning of Advent, I always hope to come up with something more meaningful, amazing and inspiring than the previous year. This is silly. While we’ve done, as a family, some wonderful Advent readings, made some pretty nice Advent calendars, and spent fruitful time lighting Advent candles and trying to integrate spiritual reading with family traditions, I never seem to remember, until after I’ve fretted about the current year’s preparations that Advent is not about outdoing oneself year after year. It’s about making a simple preparation for Jesus and His birth at Christmas.

The best Advent “kickoff”, if I may borrow a phrase from the Thanksgiving football hubbub, is a trip to Confession with the family, followed by frequent reception of the sacraments, and a renewed determination to make room in one’s heart for the Christ and the graces He wants to pour forth each Advent season. It really is that simple.

I was searching last week for an old document and came across something very special that I had almost forgotten about. I am sure it was no coincidence that God allowed me to find it just when I did. It was a memo written by a dear priest to his students, and is a gem of wisdom for all of us.

I would like to simply share a few choice points as we continue “setting our souls” right for Advent. Not following some of these recommendations does not necessarily mean we are committing sin, but adhering to them makes us better people, for sure. It was written for young people, and should be shared with them, but I’m thinking that we can all use the reminders. I know I can. Thank you, Father James Seculoff in the Fort Wayne, South Bend Indiana diocese, for your advice and wisdom, given so many years ago, which still lights our paths and leads our way in practical and yet timeless ways.

Etiquette at Holy Mass

A few non-church related suggestions include the following and struck me as excellent codes of behavior that I am going to strive towards this Advent season. I’ve already shared them with my children. Perhaps you would like to share them with yours.

Etiquette Outside of Church

May you and your family have a blessed and holy Advent!

Theresa Thomas is the co-author Stories for the Homeschool Heart[1] (Bezalel Books, 2010 & winner of Best Catholic Book of 2010[2]), Family Columnist at Today’s Catholic News[3] and a Contributing Writer for Integrated Catholic Life[4].

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  1. Stories for the Homeschool Heart:
  2. Best Catholic Book of 2010:
  3. Today’s Catholic News:
  4. Integrated Catholic Life:

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