As the weather heats up, parishes around the Albany Diocese are addressing the issue of proper summer dress for Mass.

Some religious worship sites have guidelines for attire when visiting a sacred space. In Islam, women are typically asked to cover their hair before entering a mosque. Persons entering a  Hindu temple are requested to remove their shoes.

The Catholic Church does not have a dress code for Mass. But, during the summer months, Catholics around the Albany Diocese are often reminded that, whatever the season, they are entering the house of God.

“It’s really about sacred space,” explained Rev. Dominic Isopo, pastor of St. Luke’s parish in ­Schenectady. “It’s important to remind people this is not a secular venue. It’s about respect, and a way to show respect is [through] clothing.”

Each summer, Father Isopo puts a “proper dress” notice in the parish bulletin as a reminder to parishioners that those attending Mass should try to dress appropriately. He said the purpose of the notice is not to judge or shame parishioners for what they wear to church, adding that, for some parishioners “jeans and a t-shirt might be all they have.”

Instead, he said, it is to remind those who own more modest clothing to consider wearing it in place of extremely casual attire like short dresses or skirts and “spaghetti-strap” tops for women, or athletic shorts and sleeveless t-shirts for men.

Deacon Joseph Tyrrell, parish life director at Blessed Sacrament parish in Bolton Landing, said that some parishioners come to Mass in “picnic wear,” but nothing he has seen would be considered offensive.

He noted that younger parishioners tend to dress more casually than older ones. “I had an old gentleman walk into Mass, and he was in a suit,” Deacon Tyrell recalled. He applauded that formality, saying it “makes you think there’s an importance attached” to Mass.

Father Isopo also mentioned that what younger guests often wear at religious ceremonies like weddings “is fashionable, but not appropriate for church.”

Rev. Christopher DeGiovine, pastor of St. Matthew’s parish in Voorheesville, said he’s never noticed any inappropriate attire at his parish. Father DeGiovine was also a campus minister and dean of spiritual life at The College of Saint Rose in Albany for more than 25 years, and he remarked that, anytime a student attended Mass, he was “just happy that they’re there.”

The pastor follows the same mentality at his Voorheesville parish, saying he just appreciates people coming to church. While he said there is merit in talking about proper etiquette for Mass, he does not want to give anyone a reason to believe they are not welcome in Mass for what they choose to wear.

What you wear to Mass “really doesn’t matter, it only matters when it’s too revealing and becomes a distraction for other people,” Father Isopo agreed. “As long as people are there and getting something out of” Mass, that is what matters.