Dress code for lectors?

At the Lector Training session last night, the topic of a dress code for lectors was broached. We definitely need one, especially for the youth mass. The woman who is in charge of coordinating the youth is very much against the idea; though, of course she didn’t show up to the meeting. Now I’m the one catching all the flack because I volunteered to help put some basic guidelines together.

I was just wondering if there are other churches out there with similar issues. If so how do you handle it?

Are we being too judgmental and constrictive in expecting Lectors to dress nicely for Mass?

I would go by the dress code I grew up with in the 50s & 60s: clean and modest clothing. That’s what we learned in catechism class in answer to “How must we dress to go to Mass?” “We must be dressed in clean and modest clothing.”

We generally only have a problem when the youth are reading. Painted on jeans are de rigueur it seems to come to Mass. Waist bands that graze the pubic bone with shirts that don’t quiiiiite reach the waistband… I always wonder if their parents are blind.

I think it would be insulting to implement a dress code.

If someone dresses in a ridiculous or innappropriate manner; firstly they shouldn’t be chosen to read; and secondly if they are someone should speak to them in private. Having a general rule is patronising and absurd.

Business attire would be good, I think. Men wear long sleeved shirts with tie. Jacket optional. Short sleeves could be allowed during the summer. Slacks, no sneakers.

Women, same. But no short business skirts. And no exposed cleavage.

I always found it distracting at college when the lectors would mosey up in a t-shirt, jeans, and flip flops.

In the parish I grew up in, I was a lector for 3 years in high school - normally wearing a sweater and slacks or a polo and slacks. One day, the priest (military background, very traditional but heart of gold and great to talk to/joke with) asked me if I owned a long sleeved collared shirt. I chuckled and said yes. He then asked if I owned a tie. Again, a laugh and a yes. He then said “You should consider wearing those when reading the Word of God upon His Altar.” And that was that.

As for adult lecters, I normally see the men in coat and tie, and the woman in long skirts/dresses, no cleavage, etc.

At either end. :wink:

Wouldn’t it be more prudent to at least have some general guidelines in place that people could consult and dress accordingly before it even gets to the point of the need for a private conversation? Plus if the guidelines are made as a general announcement, at least the ones that do dress inappropriately can say its not a personal vendetta against them by the ones in charge. Its better to have an agreed upon set of guidelines than to leave it to individual opinions that can vary greatly about what is appropriate and not appropriate for those that serve in any capacity at mass.

It is a WONDERFUL idea to implement a dress code. You are MOST CERTAINLY not being judgemental or overly strict–unless you try to make the guys wear three-piece suits and the girls wear longsleeved shirts and ankle-length skirts :smiley:

Perhaps consider guidelines for regular Sunday morning Masses: nice pants (no holes, probably no denim, no sweatpants), skirts knee-length, no sleeveless tops, no flip flops, no sweatshirts…and youth (perhaps Lifeteen?) Masses: nice pants or nice jeans (no raggyness or “destroyed” pants), niceish shirts (no writing, no undershirts, no tank tops, no sweatshirts), etc.

These are really broad guidelines…they won’t cramp anybody’s style; all they exclude is really schlumpy, gross casual clothes.

This is all coming from a college student, fyi. And I’m not a frumpy, uptight sort. I like my hoodies and raggy, comfy jeans as much as the next person. But asking people to take care with their dress when they are proclaiming the WORD OF GOD to their brothers and sisters in Christ is NOT wrong, judgemental, or silly. It shows the world that this is IMPORTANT, this is REAL.

Stick to your guns–with kindness and gentleness–but stick to your guns! : )

No, not at all. Modesty is very important. For women who don’t wear skirts, encourage them to wear nice pant suits with jackets, rather than t-shirts and jeans.

If a teenager simply must wear a t-shirt and jeans in order to keep from being beaten up at school as a suspected “nerd”, recommend that the jeans fit well, cover the whole waist area, as well as reach all the way to below the ankle, and that they are clean and have no holes in them. The teen should also wear a nice sweater or blouse over the t-shirt - and you should insist that the t-shirt shall not have any writing or pictures or logos on it, even if (especially if) they are “cool” pictures, slogans, or logos. :slight_smile:

Sort of related:
One of our EMHCs shows up in the sanctuary in tight short-shorts, naked legs, regularly.
Pretty tasteless.
No dress code that I know of. Should be!

We have in our rules a dress code. Men wear dress pants. dress shirts and ties mostly with a jacket even at weekday masses. Rarely will women wear skirts or dresses above the knee. I have never seen blue jeans, tea shirts, sweatshirts etc for a reader.

Phemie Maybe its just me but I do not think women with low cut jeans and short tops is sexy or showy. Mostly gross .

I instituted the “ugly sweater” rule. If a woman showed up to lector with sleeveless tops she had to wear the “ugly sweater” that I kept in the sacristy closet. This summer all female lectors showed up with sleeves.


A dress code is necessary in most cases. Some people don’t have a clue what is appropriate and what is not, especially teenagers. Some just don’t know. Personally, I like to see women and girls wearing a modest dress or skirt and men and boys with slacks and a tie and jacket for reading. “Sunday best” used to mean something. The concept has been lost. I suppose pant suits for women would be hard to eliminate, but I would love to see it go in the sanctuary.

A dress code is necessary in most cases. Some people don’t have a clue what is appropriate and what is not, especially teenagers. Some just don’t know. Personally, I like to see women and girls wearing a modest dress or skirt and men and boys with slacks and a tie and jacket for reading. “Sunday best” used to mean something. The concept has been lost. I suppose pant suits for women would be hard to eliminate, but I would love to see it go in the sanctuary.

For my last 2 jobs, “business wear” was jeans and a t-shirt (sometimes a nicer shirt).

I prefer khakis over jeans, so that what I usually wear. Otherwise in the summer it’s a t-shirt and in the winter it’s a bunnyhug (when it’s -20C outside, practicality trumps style). Running shoes all year round. Most people are in jeans and a sweater/long sleeve/short sleeve t.

Although, at Easter time we all threw on the nicer dress shirts and I saw a couple vests. Christmas I usually throw on a dress shirt and a tie.

I do own a suit & pants, but I loathe them. My goal is to not be in a job that requires me to wear them not too often (if at all). Currently, the suit comes out about once a year (during interviews for jobs, and then it goes back in the suit bag).
When I see suits, it always makes me think that they’re compensating for something (confidence? Self-image?), and the only reason it comes out for interviews is because it’s societally expected (and because I’m in a co-op program, you do sort of represent the Faculty so the Faculty expects it). I was very impressed when I saw PM Harper at the Olympic hockey games in normal wear and not a suit. Because that is what you should be wearing to a hockey game (regardless of who you are).

One of the priests at our college has celebrated a few Masses in sandals (Everyone loves him. He’s completely faithful to the rubrics, no ad-libbing). I’ve seen other priests with jeans underneath the vestments too. Cue people having conniption fits.

Phemie: Nice suggestion, but the problem is the terms “clean” and “modest” have no meaning to today’s general populace. They’re too ambiguous. A youth might think his jeans and flip flops ARE clean and modest compared to what he or she wears when hanging out with friends. We need to be somehow more specific.

JohnDamien: Thank you. That is almost exactly what my friend who is in charge of the youth mass said to me. Unfortunately this casual behavior has been overlooked for decades now so that about all the youth and even some adults dress … shall we say … less than optimally.** PatriceA** hit the nail on the head; people likely still will take a dress code personally, but at least we can do our best to make it seem less personal.

ConstantineTG: Your suggestions make a good starting point. I don’t think all the men have ties, let alone the youth. Maybe we could put in the budget to BUY them some.

Mumbles140: It is so nice when the priest is capable of handling such things.
WhitSunday – You rock! THANK YOU. This is what I have been thinking in the back of my mind: be respectful, right? The problem is it’s conflicting with the idea that at Sunday Mass, God is what we should be concerned with, *not *how others are dressing, etc.

*Oops *– the kids are up. I’ll have to continue this later!

Our parish has said shirt & tie - optional jacket for men, women must wear modest professional type clothing. No blue jeans.

I’m glad they didn’t say women must wear skirts/dresses. I wear dress slacks, a blouse and sometimes a sweater or blazer. I don’t wear dresses - ever and would drop out of lectoring if they were required.

I would ask the teens to wear pants other than jeans and a collared shirt. Many families do not have it in their budget to buy lots of extra clothing like ties, jackets & dress pants for their growing children.

The key point here being ‘underneath the vestments’. But when a lector goes up there looking like he/she got lost on their way to the dining hall, it does (at least for me) cause a distraction from the readings.

All Lay Ministers participating in the Mass should dress as formally as the priestly vestments would suggest; jacket and tie for the men, dress or blouse and skirt for the women. Anything less should be considered insulting to our Lord and the congregation. In addition, the servers should wear black and polished shoes with black socks for the boys and neutral hose for the girls. If the boys shirts are visible they should be white, buttoned and with ties.

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