the Catholic thread bunch....

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by eekysign, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    Thanks, everyone! Sorry it got locked, so I couldn't say thank you there. I understand the worry, but the info that I guess seemed headed toward something non-CD-friendly was actually fairly useful, as I'm not baptized, so it's good to know that I shouldn't wander up and take Communion. I don't go to church more than once every few years, and it's never the same faith as the last time, so I'm unaware of what parts to follow along with, and what parts to just sit and watch for. Err, so yeah. Thanks again to you all.

    So I guess, here are my other questions - are there any head-covering issues? In Italy, I had to cover my head in most Catholic churches. And in the Russian Orthodox Catholic wedding I was in, I was covered up to the chin, no bare skin around the neck showing. Obviously, not gonna wear my "goin' out" (ha!) outfits on Friday, but just wanted to check how restrictive it would be. Wondering about appropriate clothing - business casual/dressy should be fine, right?

    Again, thanks to all for the advice. She's a good friend (we've been friends for 16 years) who was there for me when my stepdad died of brain cancer, so I want to be there for her after her Dad died of the same disease. Thanks to everyone for the good thoughts and prayers. They're good people; the whole family is wonderful.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I think if you just wear something conservative and subdued you'll be fine. I don't believe the Catholic churches anywhere have women wearing the mantillas/chapel veils anymore (I think that's what they're called). If you're still unsure, just ask your friend what she's wearing and follow suit (no pun intended).
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Here's a suggestion - why not call the head office of the diocese where the service is to be held? Even if I were equipped to answer your question, there are cultural variations from country to country. I remember as a kid visiting St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney, my mother made me put a hankie on my head in lieu of a hat or scarf. I was there with a young Catholic friend and I remember being startled by her genuflecting (I didn't know what it was at the time). husband - not Catholic, but Anglican High Church. When I started going out with him there were aspects to his church service which I found confronting, because they seemed so alien to what I was used to.

    As a kid our church encouraged us to go into other places or worship, our Sunday School actually organised excursions to them. I remember a class trip to the Great Synagogue in Sydney, all in the name of ecumenism. We talked about it a lot at Sunday School next morning.

    These days rules are a lot more relaxed, at least in our area. But I'm sure that the churches (of any denomination) would welcome the opportunity to answer your questions, and you would then know that your information is accurate as well as specific to the area where you will be attending.

  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You do not have to cover your head. Bare shoulders are not appreciated.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    what Witz said.

    Don't worry if you end up going against custom accidentally. You are putting the effort to learn the traditions, and that is enough, in my opinion.

    After all, it isn't like you are going to be ID'd at any point. As long as you try to go with the flow it should be fine.

    Go with the intent to grieve your friend's loss, follow along when you can and keep a stash of kleenex in your purse and pockets.

    FWIW, if the collection plate is passed you are not required or even expected to contribute. Another time you will not get carded.

    You are a very sweet person to worry about this!
  6. Kjs

    Kjs Guest

    Myself and my 5 siblings and father are catholic, my mother was Lutheran. All of us kids went to a catholic school. I would say we were pretty strict Catholics. My mom went to her church.

    Growing up, the Catholic school we went to would call my mom for bake sales and such, but wouldn't allow her at mother/daughter breakfast or allow her to take communion when we recieved our sacraments.

    With the changing times, it was OK to take Holy Communion regardless if you were Catholic or not. Christian. You believe in your beliefs.

    In the summer when we lived at our cottage there was not a Lutheran church near by so my mother went to church with us. During the school year when we lived at home she went to her church. Rarely were we allowed to attend her church.

    They were married on the Navel base. In order to have the marriage blessed my mother had to sign a paper that all children would be raised catholic.

    When my father passed away we had the wake at the church prior to the mass. Others have the wake at a funeral home, then the mass of christian burial at the church, then the procession to the cemetary for the burial. In all my experience with funerals, all who attend the wake also attend the mass as well as the procession/burial and any after mass gathering.

    When my mother passed away last year, we did the same at HER church.

    It was most comforting for me to have MY friend come over a hundred miles to attend. My friend did not know my parents or my siblings. She was there to show her respect and support for me and my loss.

    Sorry for the loss. But as I have always been taught, the mass of christian burial is a celebration of a life.
  7. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member


    The others have pretty much summed things up.
    You don't have to cover your head. Wear something fairly conservative, preferably with sleeves (short or long, depending on the weather), in a dark colour.

    As Marg mentioned, don't be caught off-guard by people genuflecting before they enter the pews. Genuflecting is to go down on one knee, facing the altar, while making the sign of the cross, before taking your seat in the pew.

    I think it's lovely that you're going to be there to support your friend. I wouldn't get too caught up in the trappings of the Catholic mass. Just be there for your friend, and do what feels right with regard to participating in the service. I don't think anyone will judge you ill, or even notice, if you do something "wrong". They will understand that you're there for your friend, which is a great kindness.

  8. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    We did away with the head coverings many years ago. When I was a young girl we had to wear a veil on our heads.

    If the weather is nice wear a conservative suit (being an attorney I'm sure you have that in your wardrobe). Or a conservative dress is fine. We use to always wear black to funerals but that is pretty much gone by the wayside too. Just nothing very flashy so proper respect is shown. Of course you wouldn't want to have bare shoulders.

    I agree with what Trinity said about not getting caught up in the trappings. You will find that you will fit in quite nicely.

    I'd be interested to hear what you thought after the funeral. I've been to several Jewish funerals since most of my husband's partners are Jewish and he was even asked to give the eulogy at one of them. I was always very impressed. I think it's enlightening to attend other services and appreciate each for what they offer.

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Brain cancer? Eww. I am so sorry.

    As a former Catholic, I concur with-the others.
    Most of those customs have gone out the window, and all churches know there are nonmembers in the audience so the priest will explain things as they go.
    At least, that's been my experience over the yrs.
    One good thing I remember from my mother's Catholic funeral, was how beautiful the music was. Ave Maria, Bach, you name it. Even if you didn't know this man well, the music will bring tears to your eyes.
    Ah! Yes, bring tissues.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  10. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    In Italy, you are not allowed in to the vatican church with shorts(even conservative walking shorts. Men or women) No sleeveless tops,or those sleeveless t shirts or excessively low cut tops. I can't remember exactly if I needed my head covered or not but most women seem to have a head covering on. I forgot. There is a thriving business on the street selling cheap long pants. : )
  11. therese005us

    therese005us New Member

    Everyone has given great advice.
    the funeral is a celebration of a life.
    Conservative dress...
    You are there for your friend, and will be respectful of tradition where you can be.
    I just disagree with worrying about genuflecting.If that is not something you are used to, then a reverant bow towards the altar will be more than sufficient.
    I was Catholic once too, but am now happily worshipping at a more scriptural based Christian Church.
    However, I would still be respectful of the Catholic traditions, providing it doesn't go against what I now believe.
    This weekend, in fact, I am returning to the catholic church I last attended for a wedding and full nuptial mass.... should be interesting.

    I should go to bed. Just thought ...

    that would be my tuppence worth!:D
  12. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My easy child went to Greece last summer and they were told beforehand which buildings they needed to be appropriately dressed. They had to be dressed in below the knee skirts and sweaters and head coverings to enter certain religious buildings, irregardless of what religion you were. They even had clothing you could "borrow" if you forgot yours.

    I think it's very interesting to learn the different customs.

  13. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I have learned an incredible amount from these last 2 posts. Thank you.

    It's nice to be able to have a learning disucssion about the meaning behind our differences, but fear asking about because it doesn't seem correct. I digress, how are we ever to learn if we can't ask our friends what the differences are.

    I'm thankful that the mods chose to allow this post open. I appreciate you very much.

    Thanks -
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My situation is much like KJS's. My father and his entire family is Catholic but my mom was not. My mom had to take classes in the catholic church in order to be married in the church and had to agree to raise me Catholic. parents evidently had two marriage protestant and one Catholic. Do not ask me why! Even though my mom had agreed for me to be raised Catholic she broke that promise and I was raised Lutheran. It was the closest thing my Dad could get her to agree to Catholisism.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Oh...I have been to Vatican City and I have seen the Pope! One of the best memories in my life. Yes, I was appropriately Maybe the reason I have actually survived all these years is I was blessed by the Pope!
  16. eekysign

    eekysign New Member

    Again, thanks, everybody!

    Yes, my experience in "foreign" Catholic churches was really the only thing that had me worried - much more formal than we have over here, apparently. :)

    Wake's from 6-8 tomorrow, then the funeral mass @ 1pm on Friday, with "burial immediately to follow" in the church's cemetery. I suppose I'll just follow along with everyone else if it's a "we're all marching out together to the gravesite" sort of thing. I've taken vacation time for tomorrow evening and all day Friday....going to go home and help Mom finish redoing Sis's bedroom before she gets home this weekend.

    Have I mentioned Sis is coming home this weekend? For the first longer-than-a-week-or-two since last Fall? EEP.

    Anyway, I'll report back and let you guys know if I accidentally knocked over a basin of holy water, or stubbed my toe and cursed in the church. Lord knows, klutz that I am, it's possible! :)
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I find the differences interesting. That's why I suggested Eeky ask the local Diocese for advice.

    Our church - it's on the beach, so not only DO people turn up wearing shorts, they often turn up wearing just swimsuits. In summer there is a tub of water at the veranda step for people to rinse the sand form their bare feet before they walk inside.

    We just ask that people with wet swimsuits don't sit on the couches, sit on the plastic chairs instead, until they're dry.

    Mind you, with the ocean so close, baptisms are interesting...

    Customs really do vary a great deal.

    Down the road at the Catholic church, because so many of them are older generation, there is still a lot of glove and hat wearing. A bikini in Mass would be unthinkable!

  18. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I've found these threads fascinating, and I've learned a lot. As Star said, how are we going to learn something if we can't ask?

    I second the thanks to the mods.
  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    OK, the head covering thing. I have to tell a story. When I was in 5th grade, it was a big year for students in my grade due to a specific ceremony we were to take part in. So, we went to Mass most every day that spring. Our uniforms came with little plastic springy headbands that had some material of our uniforms sewn around it and we were supposed to wear it in church. We girls hated it! We'd lose them or leave them at home, anything to not wear it.

    One day, we were all shuttled across the street to Mass, and none of the girls had our head coverings, as usual. Sister Mary Ellen stood at the back pew with a stack of tri-fold paper towels and a handful of bobby pins. She slapped a paper towel on each and every girl's head and tacked it on good and tight with two bobby pins. We were all horrified and the boys thought it was just about the funniest thing that had happened all year! We all had some sort of more stylish head covering for the next day. Doilies are better than paper towels any day! LOL!
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2009
  20. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Oh, Witz... that was a nun with street-wise understanding.

    Never underestimate the nuns...