… an old friend once revealed to me how he chooses a church to visit when he travels. He goes to the website and immediately looks for the information about the priest. Is the pastor wearing jeans and a popped collar polo or a plain old business suit as opposed to collared clericals or a religious habit? Does he go by Father Bob or even drops his title all together? These may seem like insignificant details but they can reveal quite a bit about the nature of the parish. Admittedly, when choosing communities to visit for retreats I narrow my choices down by excluding the communities of nuns who do not wear the habit.
That is how powerfully the sight of habits and collars can effect us. They are potent outward witnesses of faith that show the boldness of the wearer. Illustrating this point, Patheos has begun a series of essays written by members of religious communities recalling encounters they experienced while in “uniform”.