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Neela Kale Answers:
A church building is a special place calling for special behavior. While the church is our home and we should feel comfortable there – indeed, the church (small “c”) is a gathering place for the Church, the people of God (capital “C”) – that doesn’t mean that anything goes. Your actions in church show respect for God and for the community that gathers there. If you are stopping by the church to pray, even just for a moment, your actions should respect the place and its purpose.
Spit out your gum, turn off your cell phone, check that you’re appropriately dressed and make the most of the precious opportunity to step away from the ordinary and into a sacred space and time. If you are in the church for mass and you wish to go to communion, remember that Catholics are required to fast for one hour before receiving the Eucharist. This ensures that we are “hungry” (at least symbolically) for the Eucharist and that we show respect for the Body of Christ. The Eucharist is real food, but it is not ordinary food, and thus we don’t mix it in with bites of our ordinary food and drink. Snacking or chewing gum distracts us from the sacred fast that prepares us to receive the Body of Christ. So there’s one more reason to lose the gum.