“Ask a Priest: Are Jeans Proper Dress for Eucharistic Ministers?”

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Q: Is wearing jeans appropriate for Eucharistic ministers? This occurs at my parish routinely, and more than one minister wears them. My sponsor taught me that reverence for Christ includes the clothes you wear to church. Do the Eucharistic ministers have the wrong garment? I try not to let it bug me, but I do have reverence for Christ. Our parish priest and several deacons do not seem to care and certainly do not correct them. Please help. -P.R.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: I can sympathize with you. Jeans hardly seem appropriate for someone distributing Communion. Unfortunately, we live in an age that doesn’t have a strong sense of the sacred.

The U.S. bishops’ conference webpage on extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion at Mass says, “All ministers of Holy Communion should show the greatest reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist by their demeanor, their attire, and the manner in which they handle the consecrated bread or wine.”

This is a matter the pastor should best address with the ministers. And if he doesn’t object to the jeans, then I don’t know if it is worth causing tension in the parish.

What you can do is teach by example. Dress well at Mass. Receive Communion with reverence. And look for those opportunities when you can nudge folks in a better direction with a well-placed comment or two.

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