ICA Students and the Mass
“For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?”
Standards for Student Attendance and Conduct at Mass
Students at Immaculate Conception Academy have the blessing to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on school days. Attendance at daily Mass affords students the opportunity to put aside the academic demands of the day. It is a time for prayer and quiet reflection, not recreation and amusement.
Mass is, indeed, the Holy Sacrifice in which Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ becomes present upon the altar in our church representing His redemptive death for us on the Cross, and seeks loving union with us by coming to us in Holy Communion. It is the supreme expression of His love for us. Our Lord asks in return that we express our love for Him, especially by our reception of Him in the Holy Eucharist.
1. Student Attendance at Mass
Academy students are required to attend the school day Mass. With certain limited exceptions for the youngest students, Academy students may be excused from Mass on singular occasions only for serious reasons of true necessity and only with the explicit written approval of the Headmaster. Dispensation from regular attendance at the school Mass may be obtained only by express written authorization from the Principal.
2. Time for Arrival at Mass
When third period classes conclude, all students in Grades Seven through Twelve must report to their homerooms to retrieve what they need to assist at Mass (missals, chapel veils, et cetera). Homeroom teachers or other faculty members so assigned will accompany students as a group from the homeroom to the church. All students must be in their assigned pews at least five minutes before the Mass is scheduled to begin, in order to participate in the daily prayers before Mass.
It is understood that a limited number of boys typically serve as sacristans to assist in preparations for Mass. The sacristans must leave the sacristy to attend Mass immediately upon completing their duties in the sacristy.
3. Conduct upon Arriving at the Church for Mass
Whenever students enter or leave the church, they must genuflect toward the tabernacle where Our Lord is present in the Blessed Sacrament. While moving around inside the church, students must genuflect whenever they cross the center aisle passing before the tabernacle.
When the Most Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar (e.g., after the Consecration or during Benediction) students must double-genuflect on both knees toward the Tabernacle.
Students must wear only approved apparel while attending the school Mass. After they arrive at the church, students may not leave the church without permission before Mass concludes.
Conduct during Mass
All students must sit, stand, and kneel at the places assigned to them in the church. Students must always conduct themselves with reverence and dignity while in the church. That reverence extends to posture and precludes slouching while standing, sitting, or kneeling.
A student whose behavior reflects a lack of respect for the Mass may be required to sit in a particular place in the church under the supervision of a special monitor, and may also be excluded from serving at the altar and singing with the choir. A student’s chronic or overtly disrespectful behavior during Mass shall result in disciplinary action up to and including the student’s expulsion from the Academy.
The Administration may assign some high school students to sit with classes of younger students. Those high school students will assist the younger students with their personal needs, monitor their behavior, guide them in following the correct prayers in their missals, and generally set a good example for them. Students in the higher grades will be given priority for these important roles with the expectation that they will be the most mature and influential role models for the younger students.
A student who feels ill may sit down and thus signal the teacher-monitor that he is not well.
A student who feels ill during the Mass must not receive Holy Communion. Any student who feels ill after receiving Holy Communion must immediately notify a teacher, who shall then notify the priest – either personally or through a server -- at the first reasonable opportunity.
The students in grades 7-12 must have Mass missals with them and must follow them throughout the Mass. Students may not bring non-approved reading material or other extraneous items into the church.
Students may not use the restroom or be in the vestibule of the church unsupervised after the prayers before Mass begin. High school students are expected to use the restrooms in the school building during the break between the end of the third period and the beginning of prayers. In cases of illness or urgent situations, students may use the restroom with approval of an Academy faculty or staff member who is present at Mass.
Prayers Before and After Mass
Students must be in their pews at church in time for the prayers before Mass and remain there for prayers after Mass. An assigned faculty member will lead student prayers before and after Mass unless they are led by a priest.
Altar Servers and Choir Members
At every school Mass, students will perform as altar servers or choir members. Whether in the sanctuary as servers, in the choir loft as singers, or in the pews, students must be attentive to the Mass and not distract, interact with, or interfere with other students.
Final Reflection on the Mass
Our attentive and loving presence at Mass is the most important, the most productive, and the most powerful event of every day. The other occupations during the school day focus on matters, and indeed important matters, of our passing lives in this temporary world. But the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass directs our attention and affection to our Heavenly Creator and Father, to our Divine Redeemer and to the everlasting life to which He calls us. This contrast calls to our minds the profound question Our Lord addresses to each one of us: “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world – but lose his soul?”