Wearing appropriate clothing for Mass does matter

Stacy LaMorte, NolaCatholicParenting

Attention boutique owners! Now that I have got your attention, I have a dire request: Can you please keep dresses that are appropriate for tweens and teens to wear to church in your inventory?

Do you know how hard it is to find cute appropriate church dresses for girls these days? And with two daughters, I have looked, people! 

Granted, I know that teenage girls are picky about what they wear for the most part, but there is so little to choose from that does not have a plunging neck line, open shoulders, an open back, sequins and sparkles or a hemline that bears a closer resemblance to a tunic than a dress.  

Shopping for my son is fairly easy. As long as his shirt has a collar, doesn’t have writing on it and he is wearing pants, we are good to go. During the summer, we have the “can I wear shorts?” struggle with him, and that is REAL! My husband and I sometimes allow it when it is 100 humid degrees outside.  Still, those shorts must have a zipper and button, not his usual uniform of athletic shorts and a T-shirt.  

So what, you may ask, is appropriate dress code for Mass? If you visit St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome where our Holy Father celebrates Mass frequently, the dress code that is strictly enforced is this: Men must wear long trousers (no shorts) and cover their shoulders; women must not have either bare shoulders or skirts shorter than knee length.

Essentially, the same rules apply to a papal visit in Vatican City, except that men and boys can wear shorts if it is an outside viewing. (My son would be so happy!)  

So, if we would find it respectful to dress this way and not balk at the rules literally “when in Rome,” why would we have a problem following them here at home? 

Dressing modestly and teaching our children to do so is a courtesy to others, as well. Something I heard at Mass while attending Louisiana State University that has stuck with me all these years (we won’t say how many) was that someone recovering from or with a sex/pornography addiction should be able to participate in Mass without reason for temptation.  

What does this mean to you and me? When getting dressed for Mass, keep in mind that being modest is not only practicing your own humility toward the Lord, but also allowing all others to do the same.  

 Now, back to my original request – make that a plea. Designers, boutique owners, buyers for department stores: Please help a mama out. A selection of dresses and skirts to choose from that doesn’t look too grown up would be so refreshing! 

If any readers have had great luck for their daughters somewhere, please let us know! Where do you shop to find age-appropriate clothes for your kids for church? 

Stacy Glynn LaMorte is a wife and mother of three children. She is a work-from-home mom who is a fitness professional and does bookkeeping part-time. She loves being with her family, traveling, exercising, reading, photography and gardening. Please send comments to nolacatholicparenting@clarionherald.org. Visit the blog featuring three new posts a week at www.nolacatholicparenting.org. 

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