While summer is synonymous with shorts, T-shirts, tank tops and flip-flops, wearing these clothing items while attending church is sometimes seen as taboo.
The Rev. Daniel Boyle, pastor of Blessed Pope John Paul the Great Parish in Adams, said this week going to church for worship parallels going to a fine restaurant, and people should dress appropriately for the occasion.
"If you're going to church, you're going for a fine meal, not fast food. Case in point, there are candles, flowers and beautiful music at Mass, which are things you'd find in an upscale restaurant," he said.
While most people do dress appropriately for Mass during the summer months, there are, unfortunately, some individuals who don't, he said.
"We're happy to have them in church, but at the same time, it's important not to be wearing inappropriate articles of clothing," he said.
He said that at the beginning of each summer, a message is published in the church's bulletin reminding parishioners that as the weather gets warmer, it's still important to dress appropriately for Mass.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in North Adams also had an announcement in its bulletin this summer about proper dress for Mass. According to the announcement, improper dress included clothing such as torn jeans, short shorts, tank tops -- "dress that is more proper for the pool or the beach or a cookout."
"At Mass, we come before the most important person in the
The Rev. Pat Kriss, pastor of the First Congregational Church in North Adams, said that with the church building not having air conditioning, members are advised to wear cool and comfortable clothing during the summer.
"I think everybody realizes what is over the top. For example, we don't want to see a person come in wearing a bikini," she said. "It's more important that they bring themselves other than worrying about what they have on."
Before she came to the First Congregation Church in North Adams, she was serving at a church that had a hiking club that went for hikes right after the Sunday service, she said.
"They came looking like they just came off Mount Greylock, and that was fine. We should be enjoying God's creation," she said.
The Rev. Peter Elvin, pastor of St. John's Episcopal Church in Williamstown, said casual dress is appropriate year round.
"We don't do anything, but encourage comfort. Worship is a natural enterprise, it isn't some kind of rigid, stuffy formality to get into uncomfortable clothes for," he said.
He added people are very good about not wearing clothes that others wished they hadn't worn.
The Rev. Wayne Biernat, pastor of Sts. Patrick and Raphael Parish in Williamst own, said that no matter what a parishioner is wearing, it's more important that their heart is within the four walls of the church building.
"I feel there is a danger in focusing on the outward appearance rather than the inner," he said.
He understands the point of view of showing respect for God in how people present themselves, and people wearing shirts to Mass that had something blasphemous written on them would bother him, he said.
With the church not having air conditioning, the heat inside the building can be atrocious, and on those days, he is happy people will still attend Mass, he said.
"I'm happy people still want to make the sacrifice to be with God, and want to connect with Jesus in that way," he said.
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