National News

‘Suit Sunday’ Motivates Men at Iowa Church

By Joanne Fox

MALLARD, Iowa (CNS) – If you decided to attend Mass at St. Mary Church in Mallard recently, your eye may have been drawn to six adult men in dress suits. That’s because they are the Suit Sunday group.

However, it took a non-Catholic to spur this approach to Sunday-best attire, when informal – even quite casual – clothes are almost the norm for church attendees.

Vern Smith of Curlew, who had been attending the Methodist church, started going to Mass about 20 years ago when his son began serving Mass.

“It was just something I didn’t want to miss,” he told The Catholic Globe, newspaper of the Diocese of Sioux City.

Smith began noticing the men tended to wear suits on Easter and Christmas Eve, but not at the other Masses. It really struck Smith about three to five years ago when he saw a gentleman returning to his pew after receiving Communion.

Afterward, he was chatting with Joe Schuller and Tom Eberle, whom he usually sits next to during Mass, and “I mentioned how much better that guy in the suit looked than the rest of us,” he said. “They agreed.”

But getting men with farming backgrounds to wear a suit every Sunday was daunting. So Smith suggested the men wear a suit once a month, specifically, the first Sunday of every month, “because it would be easy to remember.” And it was for Schuller, Eberle, Ruppert, John Kenyon and Don Miller.