How to dress for the Sacraments


Every Sacrament is a grace, and through it Christ imparts grace on the soul. Because you will be going to meet Christ, you must dress for the part. Not because clothing makes the person but because it it respectful to the Lord. But if you cannot wear anything suitable, than do not be afraid; offer it to the Lord and know that He is merciful and understanding.

Here is the minimum for how boys and men ought to dress:
Long sleeve shirt + pants

Here is the minimum for how girls and women ought to dress:
Long sleeve shirt + pants
Long dress with sleeves

Of course, this is how the West defines modesty. Other cultures might have other forms of modesty. For example, a long robe might be modest in an Eastern country. But modesty isn’t relative; it is measured by the cardinal virtues, which we must all practice.


Nicely said.
When you Go to Mass, you enter the “Throne room of Christ”. That is how I look at it. I wish to present myself as well as I can both inside and out.
Of course I will add that, circumstances can make a difference as well.
For instance years ago, when there was more daily mass attendance and more “Blue collar workers”, wearing your clean work clothes to Morning was perfectly acceptable. This holds true today as well I think.



:confused: Are you suggesting that short sleeves are disrespectful or immodest? I agree that there are plenty of under-dressed people in church, but I would argue that short sleeves are acceptable, particularly in warm weather and/or churches with no air conditioning.


Long pants, OK, though sometimes I wear capris to daily Mass. But why long sleeves? Long sleeves are pretty much reserved for winter, in my wardrobe.


I’m assuming that you are referring to all Sacraments and not limiting to just the Eucharist.

Matrimony – tuxedo/fancy-dress/black-tie is the normal attire
Holy Orders – well regulated attire/vestments to be worn
Confirmation – usually a suit or nice dress is worn
Baptism – usually a formal attire affair for the family
Anointing of the Sick – I’d imagine a good percentage wear hospital gowns for this one

The Eucharist and Confession are the two Sacraments we regularly receive. Confession is many times on a Saturday noonish or early afternoon – maybe in the middle of running your shopping errands. The Eucharist is generally in the context of a Mass and the best attire available should be worn.

Modesty is modesty, whether at Mass or at the grocery store. But, at Mass, we should wear the best of what we have to offer.

May I ask why you consider short sleeves or short pants (cutoffs at knees, say) are immodest?


Occassion of sin and showing off one’s body. Its why the Vatican has its dress code.


I don’t think long sleeves are a requirement, I would be thrilled with clean and modest. In fact, at least here, I would like to see less emphasis on the dress and more on the sacrament itself, demeanor at Mass, awareness of the reality of the occasion.


And did you notice that the YES board shows short sleeves and knee length garments on the ladies. How is a forearm or a calf an occasion of sin?


If my elbows cause someone a near occassion of sin, they ARE in serious trouble. There is surely nothing to get excited about looking at my arms. First Communion, First Confession, Confirmation - I’m pretty sure I had short sleeves for those. My wedding dress had long sleeves, but it was October. I generally have short sleeves at Mass, and don’t consider that immodest, in the least. I teach adolescent boys, so as a rule, I dress very modestly…no clingy, low cut stuff…


I will agree that “short sleeves” or “knee length” are probably OK and really are not that big o deal compared to the relative FIT of some of those “Knee length” dresses or pants, or shirt/blouse/top.
I’ve seen many people, particularly “ladies” who appear to have been “poured into” their clothes. They are that tight.



Here are my own thoughts:

Common sense
Current weather situation (ie: Long sleeves in winter/short sleeves in summer)
Regional and cultural norms

Those ideas along with the numerous threads that have debated the “What to wear to Mass” and “What is Modest/Immodest” ad nauseum.

What do I mean when I state “maturity”? Here is an example:

My Hubby & I once lived in an area that was populated largely by Mennonite families. We were very young (20 years old), I had a great figure at the time, it was dead of summer - hotter than Hades. I went to the grocery store (the only one in the town) and wore what I was wearing at home at the time: short-shorts, a halter top (sans bra), flip-flops (we called 'em “thongs” back then, in the day before women wore what we NOW call a thong!), my hair long and flowing in the style of the year (1973).

When I got into the cashier line, I noticed several Mennonite women and children were deliberately avoiding me and staying away from the line I was in. One of the older women was openly giving me dirty looks. One woman pulled her small girl away from me as if I would contaminate her by close proximity alone.

I began to feel extremely uncomfortable, to the point of feeling absolutely naked. I could not WAIT to pay for my groceries and I fairly ran out of the store.

Now- why? I was wearing totally OK clothing, even stylish for the time.

Because I was immature! I was thinking only of myself and my own comfort - the comfort of others, the appropriateness, the persons I would encounter, never crossed my mind. There were the Mennonites, dressed in long dresses with long sleeves, cotton stockings, heavy shoes, caps holding their hair up off the face and hidden, ------- no wonder they all looked at me as if I were Jezebel come to life!

Similarly - one should think of the others who will be attending the Mass. Do not only consider YOURSELF…You are there to meet THE LORD and other people could be scandalized at what YOU consider “appropriate”. BE MATURE IN YOUR CHOICES.

The example above was also INAPPROPRIATE for what I was doing and where I was going! It would have been fine to wear to the beach or around the house. But to go “into town”, one must be appropriate to the setting - at least wear a T-shirt and longer pants!

I also was not being modest (for the situation) nor was I considering the “cultural norms” for the region and the people I knew I might encounter.

I hope this example helps the people who get all hot under the collar when appropriate Church clothing is discussed. I thought maybe an “everyday example” might make some sense.

Just my two cents’ worth! :slight_smile:


Thank you for that humbling story and lesson :slight_smile:

I see I was wrong.


Oh, dear - Eucharisted! I hope you don’t think I was trying to chastise you or anything! I was only elaborating on what you said. I agree with your basic premise of modesty.

(But I do think short sleeves are fine in the USA in most areas and times.)

I think the problem with sleeve**less **is that they then tend to get too revealing, cut too low, etc. So I agree with short sleeves. And the long pants at all times, on both males and females (if the female is wearing pants). Just not too tight (for the females mainly) or too loose! (the young males) LOL

Have a blessed day!



The celebration of the Eucharist is a celebration of our marriage to Christ. Having said that, I tend to agree with the OP about long sleeves and long pants.

Yes, hygiene, bodily and oral, are essential, as well as an attitude of the great banquet that we are attending, the banquet of the Covenant.

When we give ourselves to Christ, just what would that gift be, exactly?


That’s my problem. I’m small, so most pants are too big for me.

Of course, that means I get to use my awesome belt a lot :slight_smile:


I hope you don’t think I was trying to chastise you or anything!

Thank you for clarifying that!

I don’t mind chastisement, so long as it helps me love God more.

Gloria Dei!


Dear Nick

Thank you for posting this. I found it good.

I would just say that we should dress our souls even better than our bodies. My two bobs worth ( 20 cents)

God bless all:thumbsup::slight_smile:




My Hubby was instructed to buy another belt to wear specifically for Church. He didn’t understand why I didn’t want him wearing his Harley-Davidsaon leather belt with his dress pants!!! hee hee


I think outward dress often reflects inward attitude. Hence, the concern with clothing.

Well, we will agree to disagree with the long sleeves part, but I tend to be very hot even in the dead of winter. (Much to my Hubby’s dismay - he is always cold.) So long sleeves are not a staple of my wardrobe. But I will stick to the idea of sleeves, at least. (no sleeveless).

Sorry, Michelle (Obama). Keep those arms covered up in Church at least, please.:smiley:


Absolutely! :thumbsup:

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