Dressing Etiquette of Catholics

This matter was brought up to me by someone a few days ago. I suppose it's not new, since our church bulletins have probably been having reminders to dress properly for Mass.

Do you think it is appropriate for people to come for Sunday Mass dressed in slippers and bermudas? Should their clothing be neatly pressed? Should ladies be dressed in what some might call sexy outfits? Where should the line be drawn?

This same person also brought up to me that brides are wearing more and more daring outfits for their weddings.

So I ask again, where should the line be drawn as to what Catholics can and cannot, or rather, should or should not wear for Mass?

I am of the opinion that a person must consider why he is wearing what he is wearing and if it has never occurred to him, it falls on his community to point it out.

How about you?

What is your model of the church? [Dulles]

QuizFarm.com :: What is your model of the church? [Dulles]: "You scored as Servant Model.

Your model of the church is Servant. The mission of the church is to serve others, to challenge unjust structures, and to live the preferential option for the poor. This model could be complemented by other models that focus more on the unique person of Jesus Christ.

Servant Model

Mystical Communion Model

Sacrament model

Herald Model

Institutional Model

Visiting A Church just to have Quiet Time

Yesterday, I decided to drop by Church of Holy Cross just to take a break, to pray and to read the Sunday Missal. Just to take one of my occasional 'retreats'. Holy Cross is my favorite place to pray, I do not know if it's because this church is convenient, where the parking is just beside the church or is it because this church is single-storeyed so there is no need to climb stairs.

Anyway, what came to my mind is that at 4pm in the hot afternoon, is that there are already a few others in the church before me. I wondered to myself how many people are there to pray for desperate cases or simply there like me just to pop in and say "hello!" to God.

Not that it matters which is the reason, but I find that very encouraging that the faithfuls or desperates are taking time off during their daily schedules to make time to go to a church and pray or just to spend a quiet moment.

(Actually if any of you had gone to Novena church, the turnout is excellent, you can never find the church empty no matter what time of the day you are there. )

So I guess to these people, myself included, praying in a church is very different from praying "anywhere for God is everywhere". It is just different psychologically, for somehow knowing that Jesus' body is in the tabernacle or perhaps just the grandious size of His Crucifix just creates an awe-effect to focus our attention.

I encourage all of you to take time off to your own parish and pray sometimes, not for mass or for other activities, but just to pray and spend some time with Him. It can be very gratifying and interesting. You might actually hear God speak.

He usually does when I'm there.

Nick Teo

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On this blog..
I think it is time that we invite more people to read and write on this blog. Perhaps CSS and Little Crosses will be good starting points?

We need to rethink the purpose of this blog and to rewrite the "about this blog" section. I think a friendlier more open atmosphere will be more beneficial to all.

How do you think this blog has stood up so far? How can we improve or change it? Let's have everyone's views please!

Creation and Evolution

Fascinating turn of events as reported by the New York Times.

Kenneth R. Miller's book Finding Darwin's God is on my reading list. You can read an excerpt here. See the book itself here on Amazon. A critique of the book is here.

Priests' Annual Retreat: What is it like?

As you probably know, our diocesan priests have gone on their annual retreat from 11 - 15 July 2005.

Have you ever wondered what priests' retreats are like? What do they do? How do they interact with one another? Do the priests welcome the annual retreat or look at it as something that they have to do? Have you ever spoken with your priest about it? What did they say?

Familiar or Foreign?: Church Architecture and Worship

My friend, Paul, blogged about Church architecture sometime back. One point he made which struck me was this:

When I look at those religious buildings in Singapore, I know immediately which one is which. Were I to seek a Muslim house of worship, I would enter the mosque. The photo on the left of the Purajaya Mosque in Malaysia is instantly recognizable as a mosque. It's geometric shapes and patterns, the dome, the small minarets in the four corners are all hallmarks of the Islamic house of worship.

The same should be true of our churches. There should be
certain hallmarks that set them out as Christian house of worship, apart from the cross... and a number of modern churches don't even have these!
My parish church is about to undergo extensive remodelling. Many churches in Singapore have recently been renovated or rebuilt. Sad to say, they sometimes lose their distinctive characteristics in the process. My hope is that the same will not happen to my parish church.

Amy Welborn's blog has a fascinating debate about a more fundamental issue (of which humdrum church architecture may be merely a symptom) -- namely the question of familiarity in the worship experience. Do read all the comments. Some commenters discuss the 'megachurch' phenomenon in the US, which might seem somewhat remote and irrelevant. But then, we have our local variants too. Think NCC and CHC.

So what is your take on 1. Church architecture, 2. The nature of the worship experience -- should be it familiar, a seamless fit with other activities that form part of our 'lifestyle'; or should it retain some sense of mystery, wonder, or even bafflement?

The Problem of Evil: A Reflection in the Wake of the Asian Tsunami

"natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis, which are the result of the laws of nature, are part of God’s plan for the world."

A really thought provoking piece from Edmond Eh on The Prompt webzine. It's seven months behind the tragedy, but still as poignant.

It also makes reference to an earlier post about whether Archbishop gave a proper reply when asked by the media how the Catholic faith reconciles their belief in a good god with all that suffering.

Another old post on this blog on the Asian Tsunami: Why God 'allowed' deadly tsunami to strike.

Christian P&W at Indoor Stadium: 5-7 August. Join us!

Click for a larger picture. Would you like to go?

on the Youth Fest by the Catholic Archdioscese for Youth...

On the 18th of June 2005, the Catholic Archdioscese for Youth organised a day of funfair, talks and rally mass for the youths, coined the Youth Fest at Upper Seranggoon, Youth Center. For me, it was a vain attemp to the point of dismal. However I speak for myself, when I say that I was not entirely hopeful that it would turn out very well. However, I would had thought that the bunch of full-timers with the whole archdiosce supporting them can make this affair into a very successful one.

Anyhow, I only reach there around 330pm, and behold a half empty fun fair greeted me. It was very strange. After all, they had been publicising this event for more than a month. I would had thought that every youth would be there. To put it mildly, the moment we were there, we were ready to take off. But decided to stick on for the food, since we got about $60 bucks worth of coupons.

Now, the problem with this youth event is that the food was also prepared by youths, so you can imagine the standard of the food. Of course, we can never have too high expectation about church food much less fun fair's, but I think that is such a terrible excuse for the horribly prepared yet very expensive food. But because of the lack of outlets, we had to give away the coupons that we can't finish.

Now for the most amazing and incredible thing, in the background was some band playing loudly, which I suspect was not church songs. It would not be a problem, if the band was good. The problem was that it was horrible to start with, and then its loud. It's a wonder if there was any audition or quality control at all for any section of the Youth Fest.

Basically it was a hot day, with very little entertainment. Luckily for us, we had ourselves to entertain ourselves. And thought that we could at least make the evening worthwhile by attending mass. How wrong can mass be right? It seemed rather promising with the outdoor stage with fancy sound system and lighting.

Then we realised that there is a pre-mass praise and worship by this Christ The King team. Well, personally I think there is nothing wrong if they want to bring in a band and play church songs and music that are popular and ra-ra the spirit and atmosphere. But it's another thing when it lacks originality and the leader seems so 'protestentish'. And what is especially sad and disturbing is when the leader sings into the microphone even though her voice is jarring and terribly off. In fact, this particular cantor/leader sings into the mic for almost all the hymns throughout mass. And hymns during mass is supposed to be soothing, however with her voice, it just made praying so difficult in an already different setting.

However mass proper wasn't too bad. Father JJ did a pretty decent homily but somehow, I feel that mass took a very different approach. It felt like a Hungry Ghost getai, call me traditional, but mass should always be solemn. Even if it's not in church, it should be kept solemn. We are not a parade, nor a talk show and definitely not a performance. Prayer should be done in an atmosphere of serenity. All these dancing and singing, with loud music just disrupts the soul and the spirit. At least for me. What is even more strange is that there was this silent skit. I think it's an attempt to be a neo-dance piece. Fanciful but clueless.

Nevertheless, I think it is a good attempt at trying to rally the youths and it shows that the church is willing to change and improve to suit the new Catholics. However, basics and traditions must remain especially when it comes to mass. Or maybe, its the coming of age. And jumping around is really only for the younger people.

But my biggest criticism is that the Youth Coordinators of the Archdioscese is not spending enough time to network with the parish youth coordinators. Albeit the Catholic church is a top-down religion, still do not for a moment take for granted that the parish leaders are obligated to support all archdioscese events. We need to be motivated and we need to know what we are supporting. It would be a terrible oversight if they think that all youth leaders would be enthusiastic in their responses.

I was looking so forward to their initial attempts to reach out to us, but apparently those attempts were mere sparks and not sustainable. I just hope that they realised that and start meeting us soon.