Mass Etiquette

Etiquette at Holy Mass

Welcome to St Joseph’s Church! As Catholics we believe that the Church is the House of God, to which He invites all His children, where they may give thanks, prayers and worship to their God and Creator.

Like any house to which one is invited, there is always some sort of basic etiquette, and God’s house is no different. Below are some basics to help you feel more at home, and to allow others to worship as well.

Pre-Mass Preparations

• Hopefully, your preparation for Church began before you got in your car!

•We only have three restrooms for a capacity of 800 plus. Plan accordingly!

•Please remember that there is a one-hour fasting discipline in the Catholic Church before receiving Holy Communion. Water and medicines are exceptions. This requirement is waived for the elderly, the ill, and their caretakers. If you think you may be contagious, the requirement to attend Mass is waived. Getting others sick is not charitable!

• Please dress modestly. We want to keep everyone’s eyes on Jesus Christ.

• “Formal attire” is not necessary, but it should be at least respectful of such a fine Heavenly Banquet!

• Remember that good Christian behavior should be exhibited on the road to Church and its parking lots as well! Patience is a virtue – yes, even when it’s related to safety!

• Chewing gum does break the Eucharistic fast! Please, please, no gum, food or drink in the Church! Babies’ necessities are excepted. God will provide all that you need at Mass.

•One last thing before you come in: check that cellular phone! Is it off or on vibrate mode?

At Mass

• If you arrive late, please stand in the back and wait for an appropriate pause. Ushers will direct you to an empty seating area, at Sunday and Holy Day Masses, if you wish.

• Bless yourself with Holy Water at the fonts at the entrances as you enter and leave. It is a reminder of our Baptismal vows, and it is a sacramental, a source of grace. You may bless yourself with Holy Water if you are not Catholic or able to receive Communion.

• Please do join in the songs and prayers of the community! If you think your singing will distract others, or you do not quite know the hymn or prayers, a soft tone is fine.

• Our Lord says, “Let the little children come to me.” Children at Mass are a sign of God’s love and promise that the Church will endure until the end of the ages. That said, overly fussy or unruly children can make worship difficult for others. We have a “Play Room” in the back of the Church for your convenience. You can also step outside for a minute to quiet things down, even during important times at Mass. God, the priest and everyone else will understand. Most of us have been there!

Holy Communion

• Who may receive? All Catholics of age in union with the local bishop and pope, not under any unconfessed, grave or serious sin, or irregular marriage situation, and who followed the Eucharistic Fast may receive Holy Communion.

• Communion means that for Catholics: “union with.” It is the True Body and Blood of Christ sacramentally made present, but it is also a sign of our communion with each other who are in communion with the Church, its bishops and all in communion with Rome. For that reason, we regret that it would be a false sign for those not in communion to receive the Communion Host. This is NOT a moral judgment or condemnation on your person! We pray for the day when the Church is truly One and Universal once again! Make a “Spiritual Communion” instead, if you wish (offering to God your great desire to receive Communion when you can), or pray as you wish.

• If you cannot receive for any reason, that is fine. You may come up for a blessing in the Holy Communion line (just cross your arms in front of you). You may also remain seated. There is no obligation to come up.

• Those who can receive may receive on the tongue or on the hand (please do not “grab” the Host). Both are permitted in our diocese and neither is frowned upon.

• Please consume the Host immediately. If you do not, a Communion Minister may ask you to. This is to protect the Sacrament. Intinction (“dipping” the Host in the Precious Blood) is generally not allowed.

• When the Eucharistic minister presents the Host and says “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ” (for the Chalice), the proper response is a simple “Amen!” This indicates that you know and believe that what you are about to receive is Jesus Himself.

• Please make sure you have a firm hold on the Chalice (without grabbing it) from the Eucharistic minister. If you are sick, please do not receive from the Chalice!

• It is sufficient to receive under either Eucharistic species (the Body or Blood) to truly receive Communion. So if you “forgot” one species or the Precious Blood ran out – you received Communion.


• Please wait until the priest has exited before making your pilgrimage to the parking lot. And again, we love to hear your good singing voice, even in the ending hymn!

• Please respect those who wish to remain in prayer and thanksgiving to God!

May God bless your worship time with us here at St Jospeh’s, and may it be a source of grace, strength and consolation for your body and soul!