Dave Snelly points out that people have become more casual when dressing for mass. Jeans and t-shirts replace what had been the Sunday best – dresses, formal outfits, and suits complete with ties and nice shoes. Still, we learn, he makes it a point to put on a suit jacket, so he can show respect for the Mass while also teaching his grandson that Mass is special.

If you are stuck in a pinch when travelling or in an emergency, of course it is understandable if you make it to Mass without scrupulosity regarding your clothes. In such situations, the priority is to attend Mass, even if you forgot your church clothes. God will understand, and no one should judge what others wear to Mass, but it’s important to put your best effort forward when you are able (which is normally the case).


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Note that it is called celebrating the Mass, not just sitting through the Mass. Casual clothes aren’t fitting for such a celebration.

Fr. Justin Paskert understands that people question why dressing for Mass is important because they say God already knows our hearts. This is true, so why is dressing up so important then? Isn’t it what’s on the inside that counts?


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As Catholics, we believe in the Incarnation, so allowing the spiritual to be manifested into the physical is what makes dressing for Mass so meaningful. Father Paskert states:

Ultimately I think that points to the fact that God became incarnate, that God who is spirit became flesh and dwelt among us. And that mystery gives significance to the external things. That what we do as spiritual people is expressed in our body and expressed in the things we do, and how we dress and present ourselves in showing reverence and honor to God is no different.

Mass is holy, it’s the sacrifice of our Savior for us. Saints and angels are with you at Mass, surrounding the Eucharist. It’s a break from the stress of the world, an opportunity to refocus yourself on Christ for the rest of the week, and a heavenly partaking in communion. The significance of Mass is endless, so your intentional dress at Mass is a statement to yourself and to others that this is not just any other activity… this is important.

Children know by their special clothes that Mass is a unique time and will follow their parents’ example for how to act in Mass. It’s not every day that a five year old puts on a polo shirt and nice shoes. Why not begin showing them how extraordinary Mass is from head to toe (freshly combed hair and dress shoes)?

As Catholics, we believe in the Incarnation, so allowing the spiritual to be manifested into the physical is what makes dressing for Mass so meaningful.

Also, others will see the respect of parishioners and understand that this isn’t just a casual occurrence. Mass is to be treated honorably, and the external expression of our spiritual faith is evangelical; it teaches; it spreads to Good News of Christ to ourselves, our families, friends, and others who witness our efforts of neatness and attention to detail.

Dressing up for Mass isn’t a fashion competition, as if the better you dress, the holier you are. Rather, it’s a way for each person to dress differently than their ordinary attire for school, for football games or for lazy Sunday afternoons.  Because Mass is not ordinary; it’s extraordinary.

“You’re not going there not just to sit there for an hour quietly,” explains Trevor Stefanski in the video. “You’re going there to learn, to grow spiritually, to come into the real presence of Jesus.” As this video illustrates, preparing for Mass is more than getting in the car mindlessly and finding a pew. From the moment you start getting dressed in your finest, you are preparing your hearts for communion with your Savior, which calls for your utmost reverence.

Tips for What Not to Wear to Mass:

1. Flip-flops and beachwear – Keep these items for fun in the sun, not worshiping the Son.

2. T-shirts and jeans – Great for hanging out with friends, but keep it classy when you are in the presence of God.

3. Revealing or too tight shirts, skirts, and pants –  Dress in a way that allows others to keep their focus on the beauty of God, not on your body.

4. Sweatpants, yoga pants, pajama pants, and gym shorts – Our culture loves to be comfy, but Mass is not for lounging. We suggest saving these items for when you return home.

So, What can you wear to Mass?

Ladies -for wonderful tips on keeping your outfits modest, yet stylish, we suggest these websites:

Pure Fashion

Leah Darrow’s Pinterest Page “Faithful Fashionista Finds”

Modest Pop

If these clothes are priced more than you would like to spend, study the styles and head to your local thrift store to see what you can find.

Men –  you will look great in suits, button down or polo shirts, nice pants, and “dress” shoes.

We would love to see your favorite, modest ideas for what to wear to Mass.  Share a picture with us in the comments!

Worship the Lord in holy attire; Tremble before Him, all the earth. Psalm 96:9

Online Workshop: Discover 7 Life Changing Moments that Happen at Mass

In this Online Workshop, we will be looking at different moments during the Mass where we can truly experience the love that God has for us. Leading us in these discoveries will be Fr. Michael Denk from The Prodigal Father, our guest for the Pray40Days Lenten conference! You will learn how and why the Mass and the Eucharist is the “Source and Summit” of the Christian life and what that means for your daily life. We will talk through ways to go deeper into the Mass and Fr. Denk will answer any questions you may have!

This workshop will help you experience the Mass more deeply and be equipped to help others come to experience more too! Fr. Denk will also be sharing about a 7-part series he created to help guide the laity through the mysteries of the liturgy.

How to Participate?

If you would like to participate, all you have to do is make a small voluntary donation to Catholic-Link. Immediately afterward, you will receive detailed information explaining how to access the platform that will host our workshop. Any donation amount is acceptable! This money will go to covering the costs of our websites and to maintaining our evangelization projects such as the series: “A Minute with Pope Francis.” After registering, be on the look out for other great offers from Catholic-Link and our partner organizations!

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Finally, remember that in addition to free coupons for Catholic businesses and monthly giveaways, Catholic-Link Benefactors receive FREE access to our monthly Online Conferences. If you would like to become a Catholic-Link Benefactor and support us with a recurring monthly donation, you may do so here.

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