- Dress formally for Mass. For men (of all ages), that means suit, tie, dress shirt and dress shoes. For ladies (of all ages), dress or skirt that at least covers the knees, nothing "see-through" nor sleeveless, modest neckline, back covered and no midriff showing. Toe-covered shoes and stockings, no bare legs nor sandals.
- Aside from bottles for infants, no food, drink, nor gum.
- No chatting in the nave of the church before or after Mass. Even if you "whisper", the sounds carry and you do cause visual distraction. Save the conversation for later. If urgent, take it into the lobby.
- While waiting for Mass to begin, look over the hymns to be sung during Mass, lest you wind up mouthing heresy and/or singing works of known dissidents.
- If Father tries to institute a "meet and greet" session at the beginning of Mass, don't participate. Save the howdy-doos for later, in the Church lobby.
- If Father or Deacon insists on cracking jokes from the pulpit, do not laugh. A somber glare might be in order. If the homilist tries to make it an "interactive" homily by eliciting verbal answers from the congregation, remain silent. Do not applaud.
- During the Our Father, keep your hands folded in prayer. The laity are NOT to assume the orans position, nor are they to hold hands.
- During the "kiss of peace" (unless you choose to kneel through it), only exchange it with those immediately near you. Do NOT stretch across rows, do NOT cross the aisles. Once the Agnus Dei has started, immediately cease and turn your attention to the altar. If someone near you tries to "exchange" with you after the Agnes Dei has started, ignore them and focus on the altar.
- When receiving Holy Communion, always make some act of reverence before receiving the Host (bow or genuflect). You have the canonical right to receive on the tongue and kneeling.
- If you see a Host fall to the ground, watch the reaction of the Minister. If he just picks It up and does nothing else, you should act. The Particles left on the ground really are the Body and Blood of Our Lord. It happened at our Church last week. Not knowing what else to do, I got some paper towels to wipe the area immediately after the priests receded at Mass's end. Don't think "it's no big deal". It is. (By the way - if anyone knows what a lay person can do in that situation, please advise).
- Mass ends when the Dismissal is given and the congregation respond "thanks be to God". Do not leave before the priests do. However, after that, you are NOT obliged to wait for the entire recessional to be sung. Some "worship aids" erroneously state that Mass ends after the singing of the complete recessional. That is incorrect, according to the GIRM.
- If Father insists on recognizing some altar server who is going to college or the cute children's choir, again, NO APPLAUSE. Do not participate in any distraction from Jesus Christ, be that distraction ever so momentary.
- You many wish to spend a few minutes in prayer after Mass (bearing in mind when the next Mass is scheduled to begin). When you do leave, do so QUIETLY. Any conversations can be postponed for the few seconds that it takes to walk to the lobby.
They don't sound like radical suggestions, do they? In reality, they aren't. A few decades ago, these were considered normal, expected behaviors. However, in today's all-too-sloppy loosey-goosey culture, the above-stated behaviors will be taken as the "sign of contradiction" against carelessness and unthinking irreverence.
The above suggestions are certainly appropriate for the ordinary situation. You might find, however, that Father decides upon a new procedure that is not authorized in the General Instructions for the Roman Missal (please get yourselves copies, available on Amazon). He might foist liturgical dancing on you. A female might try the homily. During a joke from the pulpit, someone from the congregation might loudly offer up his own. Heresy might come from the homilist. We might see some horrid sacrilege happening to the Blessed Sacrament. We will have to consider what to do, for gone are the days when we could just be silent and claim to "offer it up", taking the coward's way out. We have to think long and hard about our own situations, for under this papacy we may see some glaring monstrosities rear their ugly heads in our parishes.
By the way, feel free to make additional suggestions in the comments section.