ARTICLE – Fostering a Sacred Atmosphere during the Sunday Mass

The Sunday mass is a sacred moment where the faithful are called to enter into the mystery of God’s love and worship Him with their whole being. By creating an environment of peace, prayer, and adoration, the parish can help the faithful and visitors to more fully participate in the divine mysteries and experience the beauty and transformative power of the liturgy. This is particularly important in an evangelization context where those being evangelized and invited to the church need this environment to help them encounter Christ. 

Pastors and liturgical committees play a key role in fostering such an environment. There are several approaches that can be taken

  • Use homilies, faith formation classes, and other platforms to teach about the value of silence, prayer, and meditation.
  • Pastors can encourage parishioners to observe silence before Mass, fostering an atmosphere of reverence and preparation for communion with God.
  • Consider having the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament before Mass as a way to foster an atmosphere of prayer and meditation. This practice can help prepare parishioners’ hearts and minds for the liturgy and deepen their communion with God.
  • Children may pose challenges during the mass if their behavior or crying disrupt the prayerful atmosphere. The answer is not to exclude them, but to educate the faithful about the practice of temporarily removing children from the assembly if they cause disturbance to others.
  • A church that is clean, well-maintained, and beautifully adorned can enhance the prayer experience. Pastoral and liturgical councils can ensure that the church environment is conducive to prayer and meditation, making it a place of communion with God.

Pope Francis has eloquently said, “The Church evangelizes and is herself evangelized through the beauty of the liturgy.” (EG 24) And he also said: “The Church is called to be the house of the Father… the Church is not a tollhouse; it is the house of the Father, where there is a place for everyone, with all their problems.” (EG 47). Therefore, it is important that we strive to create an environment that is not only conducive to prayer, meditation, and communion with God but also extends a warm and inclusive welcome to all who enter our churches.

Our goal should be to foster a sense of belonging and acceptance, rather than judgment or criticism, especially in those moments when disruptions may occur. In so doing, we can provide an experience of God to all who enter our churches, both through the liturgy and the love of our community.

Pierre-Alain Giffard, Director of Pastoral Work

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