May 1, 2012
Dear Parish Family,
The celebration of the Holy Eucharist by the community is the primary worship that we give to God each week. We need to approach the Holy Eucharist with an attitude of reverence for God and respect for others. The heartfelt participation and positive friendly attitude of the people of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish is welcoming and inspiring. Our faith helps us find meaning in the Eucharist. We prepare ourselves for participation in the Mass by fasting for an hour in advance of receiving the Holy Eucharist. We begin to prepare ourselves for Mass even at home when we are getting dressed, or perhaps slowing down our activities to leave for Church. Daily prayer, even as a family, is important in making our spiritual lives more fruitful.
What we are doing in celebrating the Holy Eucharist is of the highest importance. We should reverence the altar by bowing when entering and leaving the pews. If we enter the Eucharistic Chapel we should remember to genuflect to the Tabernacle in honor of the Blessed Sacrament. We show reverence by our actions.
Recently some discussion arose during a Parish Council meeting as to some matters that may occur during the celebration of Mass. It was mentioned that we should be cautious in how we choose to dress for Mass, even in the summer. We ask that both men and women cover themselves in an appropriate manner. Much discussion was made during the council meeting about what “appropriate” means. Shorts, tank tops, and very short skirts were seen as being too casual, and we felt that “strapless” and “spaghetti strap” garments were not appropriate. We respectfully ask that an attitude of modesty and reverence be shown by those attending the Holy Eucharist.
Some things cannot be helped, but other things are very much within our control. If a child cries loudly, that cannot be helped, but there is a foyer where Mass is being broadcast. When we hear a telephone ring we know it could have been silenced in advance. We ask that children be watched carefully and accompanied to the restroom by their parents or guardian. We can certainly refrain from chewing gum, or bringing food and drinks into the church. The use of toys or electronic devices during mass is under our control. We allow the hurry of life to limit our prayer and peace with God when we leave Mass before it ends.
The celebration of Mass here is positive and inspiring. The attitude of welcome and participation is heartwarming. The people choose to sing and actively participate in the Holy Eucharist. I pray that the preaching is meaningful as well. Thank you for your attention and thoughtfulness in these matters.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Bruce Bradley, Pastor