A practical response to incense smoke


Someone posted a thread about difficulties with incense smoke and I wanted to offer a practical solution that is used here locally. Buy and use a mask/respirator that will filter out the smoke. The mask/respirator need not be large and industrial looking. Think of a traditional looking surgeons’ mask. Not distracting to others.

Someone in my parish (we use incense many Sundays) has asthma and COPD. She literally used to stand outside and would watch the Mass through a window. I bought her a respirator through Amazon.com, she gave it a try and it allows her to sit with the rest of the congregation.

She obviously removes it for communion and it does impact her ability to sing, but otherwise the respirator has been a godsend. Not only does it keep the smoke from aggravating her asthma and COPD, it also put a stop to anxiety she felt at the potential of an outbreak.


We have masses that do not use incense, and others that do. People who can’t tolerate incense should attend the non-incensed masses.


And, as someone in the original thread mentioned, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to meet with one’s priest, explain the problem that she (and presumably, others in the parish) have, and request that he consider having a Mass without incense on Easter Sunday, presuming that they don’t already have one.


Wow, interesting. I hadn’t given this much thought till you mentioned this.


Yes, there are other measures that can be taken, such as those discussed in the original thread. I was adding another alternative that no one else mentioned. Using a respirator has unique advantages too. Some Masses (Chrism, Holy Thursday and Easter Vigil) are typically unique Masses for a given diocese or parish and they typically do use incense. In other words if you want to attend your diocese’s Chrism Mass or your parish’s Easter Vigil Mass, a respirator is an option.


That’s not always an option.


A friend who came to the Easter Vigil Mass last year when I was received into the Church wore a mask because of her sensitivity. No one gave it a thought.


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