Before and after mass reverence

I like to pray before and after mass silently. It has been very hard to do often because people tend to either gather early gabbing away, or linger, gabbing away still. Cannot they see someone is trying to pray and give some much needed extra time exclusively with our Lord?

I’m finding myself often having to be the only one, but it really shouldn’t matter, they can take it outside of the church if they simply want to hang around and chat. Today was no exception and I even showed up much later in the day just for prayer alone, yet there were still people lingering, carrying on like I was not even there. I spent 20 minutes attempting to pray, in the end, the prayers were for them to leave, and after kissing the crucifix on my rosary, they seemed to finally get the point, that or Mary granted my prayer and kind of intervened on my behalf to get them to take it outside. It’s not like they are having to stand out in the cold, there are always plenty of indoor areas for gabbing, but while in our Fathers house, don’t you think some degree of reverence should be maintained?

I have the same problem :frowning:

I just pray anyways. :slight_smile: I also move closer to the Tabernacle after Mass to be closer to Jesus and also cause people tend to talk at the back of the church (at least in my parish.)

Maybe my parish is a little quieter than yours. I have been able to tune it all out most of the time. I’m always near the front close to the tabernacle. People tend to do more talking near the door I think, so it isn’t usually too close to me.
Pray for the ability to concentrate even when people aren’t giving Our Lord the respect they should.
(Some one, at some time, they may remember seeing you and join you in prayer!)

yes, people should always be in reverence as soon as you go into the church. I see in the RC churches out here people standing up and clapping during mass. I hope the holy father brings back the holiness to the churches soon.

It’s not easy, to be, a priest.

I can fairly tune it out, but holy silence is what is supposed to be there. A reverent awe, a hush, and so in the silence everyone can listen most attentively for the still, small voice of God.

‘It is good for a man to await the salvation of God in silence.’

Lamentations 3:26

‘The Father spoke one Word, which was His Son, and this Word He speaks always in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul.’

St. John of the Cross

This, too, is my dream. I have a very hard time tuning out these distraction and can get irritated at others for their thoughtlessness. It is also very difficult for me to tune out all the chatting during the Mass itself, particularly during the Eucharistic feast. Sometimes I find myself singng hymns loudly to cover their voices (I do not have a great voice). :smiley: I’m working on that, though. :blush:

I long for the reverence of the presence of the Eucharist. Wouldn’t direction about this come from the pastors of each Church?

Usually I tell myself that this is a perfect reminder to me of how the world can get in between me and God if I let it. The world being the noisy people distracting me from my prayer. I do the same if I end up sitting somewhere that I cannot see the crucifix; it reminds me of the times when I do not feel as close to God or I cannot see His hand in things.

My mother would say that you will receive even more Graces because your prayer is more difficult. Let’s hope she’s right! :slight_smile:


If more of us continue to lead through example, eventually the parish priest will mention this as being an issue in mass, the problem is, how long do we have to wait before he steps in?

If your priest is aware of this problem - by not addressing it - he has given his silent approval for it to continue. If he is not aware, perhaps you should bring it to his attention. A Catholic Church should not become a playpen the minute mass ends.

More importantly. Why is it that some Catholics do not feel the need to observe a basic standard of noise discipline in church? Are they merely inconsiderate of others? Is it possible that they have difficulty with the idea that Our Lord is actually present in the tabernacle? Could it be that in the Church’s zeal to fill pews with converts, that many remain improperly catechized for years after Swimming the Tiber?

Regardless of the reason, the parish should dedicate the resources necessary to get these folks up to speed, pronto.

Parish priests have a duty to lead by example as well as by direct instruction. No need to be overbearing. It can be subtle. Our priest invites everyone in to remain in the pews and give thanksgiving after mass - in silence - before proceeding to the parish hall for refreshments.

There’s been no resistance.

I believe some priests have been improperly formed in seminaries where they gained the idea the ‘festival’ ‘communal’ mass atmosphere requires the church to be a place of gab and activity.

My church was fairly quiet before Katrina but since we have had other churches merged with us and it is no longer quiet. We are hoping that once we get a speaker system in and can start Rosary before Mass that will keep many quiet before Mass. The whole church does kneel and pray a few minutes following Mass but not as long as I would like but in AR my husband and I were the only ones trying to say a few prayers following Mass at the numerous church we attended. What my husband hates worse than the before and after Mass talkers are the ones who continue to talk during the Mass - he is hard of hearing and this makes it even harder for him hear.

I guess all Catholic Churches need to have a sign up reminding everyone that it is the Lord’s House and he would like a little respect by everyone being quiet and praying. :signofcross::

This is just a suggestion, and not an indication that I think it’s ok for people to socialize in church. My church has a little chapel near one of the side doors. There are some kneelers in there, and sometimes you’ll see people quietly praying after Mass in there.

We have choir practice between the 9 am and 11 am Mass in the church. Our practice room isn’t big enough for the Christmas Choir, and there are people in there selling the Together We’re Better certificates and the library is in there too. It’s noisy in the church after that Mass and that may be why people go to the side chapel.

Many of the older churches in St. Louis have those little chapels. My grandmother did that when she was still able to go to church. After Mass she’d go say her rosary in there between Masses. That was one of the churches that closed and was sold. Some artists bought it and turned it into a gallery and they live in the attached rectory.

I don’t see too much noise in my Anglican church (although I have a really hard time keeping my chatty 4 year old aware of other people trying to pray). But people coming in, sitting down, etc, does make a certain amount of noise. We do, though, have a short form of Morning Prayer before our Eucharist service, and I notice that it is very quiet, and so is the time before it. People who are looking for some more private prayer time tend to come to Morning Prayer while larger families etc tend to wait to arrive until after it is done. (There are 10 or 15 min between the it and the Eucharist service.)

So one possibility, which doesn’t really address the problem of people not having reverence, is to get there a bit earlier for private prayers. But it might be less annoying for you.

There is going to be a certain amount of bustle immediately before and immediately after we gather for Mass, but it ought not be excessively noisy.

This is something more and more parish liturgy committees are trying to address: by asking the choir to have warm-ups only, and to have all out-and-out practices at another time, for instance, and by asking all of those making last-minute altar preparations for Mass to do so in silence. Also, parishioners can be encouraged to call fellow parishioners they are concerned about during the week, rather than approaching them for a chat right before Mass starts. You might ask your pastor and members of the liturgy committee if anything can be done in your parish.

Also ask your pastor if he has ever tried to prepare himself for Mass in his own church during the 20 minutes immediately before he needs to put on his vestments. If he tries it, it may be an eye-opener for him.

I think the social hall environment before and after mass is in large part due to the “social hall” design of many new churches and when you enter the church you don’t feel like you’re in a church. I am fortunate enough to have been born in a parish with an all stone, masonry, marble church with a very high ceiling. So when you enter the church there is a certain “presence” you feel. You have to experience it, it’s not something I can easily describe.

The behavior in any event can be stopped quite simply if the pastor or priest would come out and address the issue. He could do this during any announcements or even intercession or before and after mass. I think sometimes pastors are too permissive, I don’t know if this is part of their seminary training as someone noted or if they just don’t want to offend anyone.

Of course, if you grow up in a family where discipline and respect are taught you’ll find more reverence. So a lot also depends on your up bringing.:slight_smile:

I hate this, too, and unfortunately, I end up being part of the problem, because the people I want to talk to, if I do manage to get them out to the narthex, as soon as they get to the narthex, they decide it’s time to leave, and they take off and I don’t get to talk to them. So, if I want to talk to them, it has to be in the Church, because as soon as they are out of the church, they just leave without speaking to me. I have no idea how to solve that problem. :frowning:

Hand them a note with that concern then, if they still blow you off, they aren’t really worth talking to are they?

And what of those who grow up in families where discipline and respect are NOT taught–perhaps in a broken home, or an abusive home, or a home where Mom and Dad are not home most of the time and the children are left alone? Or in a Protestant home, where reverence is not necessarily equated with silence?

What happens when the Holy Spirit leads these people into a Catholic Church?

I believe that they will eventually become just like many of you–silent in church. But in the meantime, give them a break. It’s not easy to un-learn something that you’ve been doing all your life.

If I need them to help me with something, I need them. I can’t do everything all by myself - and if I don’t speak to them when I have the chance, then they later give me heck for not asking them for help. :shrug:

These aren’t people that I know well enough to be able to phone them at home.

I think what is needed is churches with real separate entry vestibules. Most newer churches seem not to have them. There is a “vestibule area”, but too often no doors between where you get in out of the weather and greet each other when it is pouring rain outside and where you enter the worship space. When the vestibule has doors, as soon as most of the church empties when Mass is over the ushers can close the doors and give some peace and relative quiet again to the church.

Some places do have the space, and have put glass partitions in with doors. I think it makes a big difference, psychologically. It is a physical cue that lets you know you have just entered into the unequivocal “church” area of the church, even if the worship space itself is a rather small chapel.

As far as respect and discipline goes, let’s face it: people don’t quit talking in the theatre, either. They are loud in restaurants, and even have telephone conversations with a third party while a lunch partner is sitting there in front of them, never mind the other people in the restaurant who wonder why someone with such a loud voice doesn’t just save the cell phone bill and open a nearby window. The idea that the conversation you happen to be interested in might be unwelcome to other people around you seems to have fallen out of vogue.

I hear you. It can be very frustrating. In our Church, the problem oscillates. I’ve prayed for the chatters, and I’ve prayed that God would give me patience! My face reddens with anger when mobile phones go off in Church, especially during Mass. My response is to use that energy to participate in the Mass with more vigour and passion!

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