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Mass Etiquette: 20 Things To Do And Not Do In Mass

  1. Fast before Mass. It is Church law that one fasts for at least 1 hour before receiving Holy Communion. Water and medicine can be consumed, of course. The purpose is to help us prepare to receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
  2. No Food and Drink in Church. The exceptions would be a drink for small children, water for the priest or choir (if discreet) and water for those who are ill. Bringing a snack into church is not appropriate, because we want to set the church apart as a place of prayer and reflection.
  3. Men take your hats off. It is impolite to wear a hat into a church for a man. While this is a cultural norm, it is one that we ought to follow closely. Just as we take off hats for the Pledge of Allegiance, we do so in church too; as a sign of respect.
  4. Don’t chew gum in church. It breaks your fast, it’s distracting, it is consider impolite in a formal setting, and it doesn’t help us pray better. Can you imagine the Pope popping gum in during Mass?
  5. Cross yourself with Holy Water on entering and leaving the church. This is a reminder of our Baptism, which made us members of Christ’s Church. Just try to remain mindful of what is happening when you do so and don’t do it without saying a prayer.
  6. Dress modestly and appropriately. Wear your Sunday Best. As Catholics we believe that God comes down to meet us at every Mass. So, why would we not dress up?
  7. Show up at least a few minutes early. If for some reason you can’t be on time, then try to sit in the back so you don’t disturb others. Getting to Mass early allows you to pray and prepare yourself better for Mass.
  8. Cell phones should never be used in Mass for calls or texting. The exceptions are emergencies (big ones, not everyday ones) and if you do use one, please walk out of church to do so. Also, if you are using the phone for readings or prayers, this is appropriate, but try to be discreet.
  9. Don’t sit on the edge of the pew if you sit down before others. Rather, sit in the middle so others don’t have to climb over you. Furthermore – Gentlemen offer their seats to a any lady (elderly, disabled, etc) who must stand. Some churches, like ours, get packed. We live in Texas (Howdy!). In Texas men don’t sit when a woman is standing.
  10. When we enter and leave Church, genuflect toward the Tabernacle. Christ is present for our sake. By allowing our right knee to hit the floor, we acknowledge He is our Lord and God. If someone is physically unable to genuflect, then a bow is sufficient. During Mass, if you pass in front of the altar or tabernacle, bow reverently.
  11. Please be quiet while in church. Once you enter the sanctuary – it is not the time or place to visit with those around you. If you must talk do so as quietly and briefly as possible. Remember that your conversation might be disturbing someone who is in prayer, which is much more important.Sssshhhhhhhh.
  12. Bring Children to Church. Every parent knows that sometimes the baby is going to have a bad day.  There is no reason to be embarrassed about having to quiet your child in Church.
  13. Prepare your offering before Mass. Christ tells us not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing when you make your offering. Keeping the basket while you get your wallet out can sometimes become quite a scene. For tips on tithing, check this out.
  14. No bulletin reading during Mass. Imagine if you invited a guest to your house and before dinner (or during) they decided to read a magazine instead of talking to you. That is what is happening in God’s house when you read the bulletin.
  15. Respect Boundaries others may have. You might want to hold hands to pray, they may not. They might be sick and not want to shake during the sign of peace. These are all OK. Do not make any unnecessary judgment because they worship differently.
  16. Bow before receiving Holy Communion. If it is God, then show your respect with a bow of the head. This is an ancient practice that has continued until this day.
  17. Do not receive from the chalice if you are sick. This is an act of charity and it is not necessary to receive in order to receive the entirety of Jesus’ body, blood, soul, and divinity.
  18. Do not leave early. We should stay to the end of the recession and the hymn that accompanies it, if there is one. While there are certainly exceptions to this guideline, most who leave early don’t need to and ought not to.
  19. Pray after Mass, if you feel called to do so. It is a good custom, though not required, to offer a prayer of thanksgiving after Mass is over.
  20. Leave quietly. We encourage you to visit with others, but once you are outside of the main sanctuary of the church so you won’t disturb others who want to stay and pray. So, please leave quietly and then have then visit afterward.
Adapted from:

The Former School Property

The Former School Property Sold
As I announced last weekend, settlement was reach for the sale of the former St. Bridget School Property (two buildings and small lot behind the Church) on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.  HOW Properties, has purchased this property; their plan is to turn the space into rental apartments and a parking lot.
St. Bridget Parish received $1,109,000, net of settlement expenses, for the former school property on Stanton Street. This sale allowed St. Bridget’s to satisfy its debt to the Archdiocese of $460,000.00 (past due insurance, assessment and pension payments).  This means St. Bridget parish is now debt free; and we are current on all of our financial obligations.
The balance from the sale of the former school property, $649,000 will allow us to have funds available for some much needed masonry repairs and restoration to the Church and Rectory Buildings. It will also provide a reserve to handle any major or unexpected issues that would arise (such as boiler or roof replacement) or any special projects but will not be used for general operating expenses.
Thank you to our dedicated parishioners and Parish Business Manager
The sale of this property ends more than a two year process.  Thank you to our Parish Finance Council and especially to Finance Council Members: Mr. Phil Hughes, Mr. Frank Ashmore, Mr. Terry Cunningham and Mr. John Grady; and Mrs. Cindy Barton, our Parish Business Manager.  This group of dedicated parishioners and staff guided this process every step of the way, and very generously volunteered their time, and/or always willingly shared their professional advice.  I am very grateful to each one of these wonderful people.
The Parking Parish Lot
The real estate deal with HOW Properties does NOT involve our parish parking lot.  Our parking lot will remain exclusively for parish use.  The parish owes a debt of gratitude to Heather Petrone Shook , of Petrone Realty, for keeping all of our parking spaces for parish use.
That’s because Heather Petrone Shook, and her family, made available for sale 12 garages they owned on Stanton Street to HOW Properties.  These garages and the small lot behind the Church will provide enough parking spaces for the residents of the future apartments.
Bittersweet for all of us
It needs to be acknowledged, the closing of our beloved St. Bridget Parochial School was a very painful experience for St. Bridget’s parish.  Selling the former school property no doubt is bittersweet for most if not all of us.  “Bitter,” because we no longer own those buildings built by our fore bearers – it really spells the end of an era for St. Bridget’s.
I’m sorry for any sadness this may cause any parishioner; I understand how you feel.  This was not an easy decision; and it was made only with the overall support of our parish pastoral and finance councils.  Difficult though the decision was, we believe it is the right one for the good of the parish.
“Sweet,” because selling the former school property allowed St. Bridget’s to satisfy its debts putting the parish on more solid financial ground.  The Archbishop has made it abundantly clear that parishes with a future are those who can meet all of their financial obligations.  This sale assures our present & future sustainability as a parish.
Thank you St. Bridget Parishioners
I appreciate you, the wonderful parishioners of St. Bridget Parish.  I thank you for your patience & support throughout this whole process; and throughout these seven years I’ve been blessed to be pastor of this great parish.  Let’s continue to work together, generously sharing time, talent, and treasure building up our parish community of St. Bridget.
                                                Father  Devlin

An Important Announcement from Father Devlin

Settlement took place this past Wednesday, August 27th, on the former St. Bridget Parochial School property (two school buildings and the small lot behind the Church).
 The sale of this parish property means that St. Bridget’s parish is now debt free and we now have a reserve for both planned and unexpected repairs.
 We will be sharing the financial details with the parish as soon as the exact figures become available.

Bowling Night Ticket Info

Tickets will be available this weekend after all Masses for $10 per person
 Ticket includes 4 hrs of bowling and shoe rental

Saint Bridget Bowling Night 

Thursday AUGUST 28, 2014


Hi Spot Lanes

3857 Pechin Street, Phila, PA 19128

(behind the drive thru Rita’s Water Ice on Ridge Avenue)

You are welcome to bring any food or drink for your family or to share with others

We rented the facility with 8 bowling lanes for the evening


Catholic Story Hour

You are invited to Summer Catholic Story Hour

Who:  Children, entering Kindergarten thru 4th grade in September,

When: Tuesday evenings in July (July 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th)

Where: St. Brendan’s Meeting Rooms

Time:   6:30-8:00 PM

Snack is provided, just bring a drink. Friends are always welcome!

Children will be read a story and relate it to Scripture,  complete a craft, and sing a song complementing the story.

 It will be a great time to meet other children in the Parish.

Look for more details in the Parish Bulletin and our facebook page and website.

Parish News

  Congratulations Fr. Flanagan!

Archbishop Chaput has appointed Father Flanagan to be the new pastor of St. Madeline’s Parish, Ridley Park, PA.  I know you’ll join me in saying, “Congratulations!” to Father Flanagan.  He has been a resident priest here at St. Bridget’s for the last four years during his service as President of Roman.   We thank him for his ministry here and wish him God’s Blessing as he begins this new venture. 
A farewell is planned for Father for June 29.  Father Flanagan will be the main celebrant at the 11 AM Mass and we’ll have a farewell reception in St. Brendan’s and on the porch afterwards. 
Welcome Father Delacy
Father Stephen Delacy has been assigned by Archbishop Chaput to live at St. Bridget Rectory, effective July 1, 2014.  His full time ministry assignment is Director, Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood.  Father Delacy’s office is located at St. Charles Seminary. 
 Because his duties require him to different parishes on the weekend to preach on the topic of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, Father Delacy will only be able be available to offer Mass at St. Bridget’s on a periodic basis.  Father Delacy also runs weekend retreats at the seminary for those discerning a vocation to the diocesan priesthood.  
 Please help me to welcome Father Stephen Delacy to St. Bridget’s parish.  He’s a great guy and just a good a priest.  I know he’ll be a great addition to St. Bridget’s parish and will offer assistance as much as he’s able.    
Welcome Back Deacon Sam!
 Deacon Sam Bianco is returning to St. Bridget’s, assigned by Archbishop Chaput, effective, July 1, 2014.  I’m sure many of you will fondly remember Deacon Sam, and his lovely wife, Debbie.  It is a great pleasure to have the Deacon and Mrs. Bianco back among us. 
 As you know, Deacons are ordained members of the clergy and as such, can serve the parish community in important ways.  Deacons assist the priest at the altar, read the Gospel and can preach the homily. 
 They can lead a Liturgy of the Word and Distribute Holy Communion in the absence of a priest.  They can witness marriages, baptize, lead the Church’s Funeral liturgies.  Deacons also exercise many other services in a parish setting.   
 Deacon Sam enjoys a great reputation as a capable, generous deacon.  We are blessed to have him as part of the St. Bridget Parish community.  Please help me welcome, Deacon Sam and his wife.  God is blessingsus with the Deacon and his ministry.
 Welcome Deacon Sam and Mrs. Deb Bianco!   
New Missal Stand for the Main Altar

You may have noticed the new, gold, Missal Stand on the Main Altar.  This is the gift of Mr. & Mrs. Jeffery Polaski.  It’s beautiful, isn’t it?  Purchased from Adrain Hamers Religious Goods, I think this beautiful Missal Stand completes the very fine Altar accoutrements and is certainly worthy of divine worship.  I hope you agree. 
 Mr. & Mrs. Jeffery & Marti Ann Polaski are very generous people.  They are always reaching out to someone, and ever ready to be of help whoever needs their assistance.  Interesting to note, Jeff Polaski is Jewish but it’s not unusual for him to be present for parish functions, help with Saturday sandwich making, take pictures for special parish events and help count the collection on Christmas and Easter so that the regular counters can enjoy the holidays!  How nice is that?  I tell Jeff he’s our Jewish parishioner. 
 I thank them for their donation which allowed us to purchase our new Missal Stand.  And I thank them for all the many ways they generously support the parish with their time, talent and treasure.  Thanks Jeff and Marti Ann! 
 ~Father Devlin



Update on the Sale of the former School Buildings

The Developers of How Properties will take their plans to The East Falls Community council next Wednesday evening.  Please keep this in your prayers, and if you’re available, plan on attending this important meeting.

Meeting Information:

Wednesday, May 21st, 7PM

Campus of Philadelphia University, Auditorium of Downs Hall, School House Lane

I believe How Properties plan to convert the former school buildings into apartments is going to be good for the East Falls neighborhood.  Adding residents to a repurposed space to our great neighborhood will be a positive for St. Bridget’s parish as well.
If all goes well at the EFCC Meeting, then How Properties can continue to move forward with the City of Philadelphia’s zoning board.
As I’ve tried to do all along, as things develop, I’ll keep you updated.
~Father Devlin