Cell phones at Mass

It seems that someone’s cell always goes off at Mass. If it is a woman, it often is somewhere in the depths of her purse and so it takes a longer time to quiet. I leave my cell in my car when I go into Church. Why is it so difficult to remember to turn the cells off or put them in silent (or vibrating) mode?

Last week a lady in Church had her cell go off on Monday during the homily. On Tuesday the same lady’s phone went off during the first reading. She quieted the phone, but it went off again during the Psalm. On Wednesday…you guessed it.


Some people are just thoughtless. Even though an announcement is made every week, it happens with regularity at my parish.

Perhaps your priest could try what I do when I am holding training classes at work. If anyone’s phone rings audibly during the class, they pay $10 to the party fund or they receive a failing grade. At the end of a week of classes, we usually have enough to buy a round of beers for everyone.


Sounds like you just belong to a very tech-unsavy parish.

I almost never hear them anymore.

Sometimes one just forgets.

I had my cell go off one day, during consecration. I was mortified but I so seldom use my phone that I had forgotten I had it with me. :o

To make matters worse, I had it on ‘key lock’ so of course I just couldn’t just turn it off. The person (a wrong number as I found out after Mass) eventually hung up.

It happens anywhere and anytime.

I was in the confession line not long ago, when a cell phone rang loudly behind me. It belonged to another penitent in the line. She answered it, and continued to talk. Presumably she would also have answered it IN the confessional.

To be fair, I also knew a priest whose cell phone rang repeatedly during Mass. He tried to unobtrusively flip it open and shut to cut off the call; but they kept calling back.

I normally leave mine in the car or turn it off. Probably it would be best just to get rid of it.

George Orwell got it slightly wrong. Big Brother is not on a screen on the wall. He’s in your pocket and purse, and you are always and everywhere at his beck and call.

You’re right, it does happen everywhere. My wife was interviewing someone for a job when the person’s phone went off. The person proceeded to answer the phone and talk to whomever for a minute or two. Needless to say, that person didn’t get the job.

I have a fear of forgetting. My method–which has worked so far–is to handle it similarly to when I carried an semi-automatic pistol.

When entering the barracks, there was a big sign at the door, “Stop. Drop. Clear. Check. Check again.” What it meant was to stop before entering, drop (remove) the clip with the bullets, clear any bullet out of the chamber, check that the gun was unloaded, and then check again. I try to handle my cell phone the same way. At the outside door of the church, I stop, set it to vibrate, check it, and check it again. Only then will I enter the building. I make it an unchanging habit.

Kind of silly, but I’m a pretty forgetful guy.


usually it doesn’t happen but the last few Sundays it has happened during the consecration. I always have mine off during Mass, this is God’s time! I once was in the confessional and the priests cell whent off. it was very funny. I usually choose not to use the screen so i could see that he had built a little nest in there he had his phone a coke zero and I think even a little snack.

I always cringe when one goes off…and I feel a mixture of irritation at the owner and relief that it wasn’t me; I turn mine off or leave it in the car, not trusting putting it on silent.

In our parish, it is becoming less and less common for a phone to go off during mass. Perhaps people are more sensitive to cell phone etiquette as they become as common as roaches.

The cell phones usually aren’t too big of a problem in my parish. Occasionally one will go off, but it isn’t every week or anything. That said, this past week or so it has been really bad. I’ve heard a couple go off in various Masses. :rolleyes: I just figured that it was the people who don’t usually go to Mass, but then one went off at daily Mass today. :shrug:

I tend to be pretty paranoid about making sure mine doesn’t go off. I usually don’t even bring mine in, I just stick my keys in my pocket. On the occasions that I do need my whole purse for some reason, I tend to check it a couple of times. :smiley:

My elderly mother has a subscription to LifeAlert; they have my cell phone number. Still, I put mine on vibrate before I enter the chapel.

Thank God they’ve never had to call me :crossrc: but it gives me peace of mind to know they can reach me in case.

And that is a legit reason for having a cell phone at Church. I remember back in the 80s, the doctors who were on call all sat in the back in case their pagers went off. I have no problem with people who need to have their cells at Church, but most seem that they just forgot to turn them off. Once, I can understand, more than once gets a little iffy.

I leave mine at home or in the car. I had already seen someone a girl talk on the cell phone in the choir loft before Mass while the choir was warming up. Shouldn’t she have went outside and talked?

If I was a pastor I would install a cell-phone jammer – secular laws be darned!

I have NEVER heard at cell phone go off at the early Mass I attend. Not one time.

Until last Sunday. It was Easter and the place was JAMMED. We usually have a big crowd at Easter but it was JAMMED this year.

I heard 3 cell phones go off.

A jammer would have silently precluded all 3 from disturbing the Mass.

I can see it in the headlines now:


I can’t stand when a cell phone rings during Mass. One time, one kept ringing and no one was shutting it off. It rang again during the Homily and the Father was so annoyed that he said, “Turn your cell phones off during Mass.” :eek: I was like, “THANK YOU, FATHER!” How hard is it to make sure your cell phone is turned off? If it is hard, you should leave them in the car or at home! :mad: It’s ok to have them vibrate and answer if you are a doctor or something, but you need to leave quietly. :slight_smile:

We have big signs posted on the way in (outside the doors, of course) - “Silence your cell phone, take off your baseball cap, spit out your gum.”

I’ve only been attending three months, but so far I haven’t heard anyone’s cell phone go off. I’ve never seen anyone with a baseball cap or gum, either. :smiley:

Our organist is also the only anesthetist in town so he’s on call 24/7. His phone or beeper has gone off during Mass quite often and he’s usually out of there like a shot.

Where I live (most of the time) very few people have land lines, everyone has a cell phone, and I hear one go off at almost every Mass I attend, regardless of the day or the hour. Mostly I remember to put mine on vibrate, and the few times I have forgotten it has not rung.

…But how about when it’s the priest’s phone?! At the parish I belonged to a few years ago the priest used to remind people before the service started to switch their phones off. One memorable Sunday, during his homily, a cell phone rang persistently, the ringing coming from the Vestry, one embarrassed priest!

On another occasion, when I was working as a secretary at the same church, one of the priests was going to celebrate a weekday Eucharist at one of the chapels in the district. Just after he left the office, the chapelwarden phoned to ask for some more candles to be sent out. I quickly phoned the priest to ask him to wait while I got the candles as he was probably still in the parking lot. Now how was I to know that he was in the Vestry, getting his prayer book, with his phone on its loudest setting, while there was a service taking place in the church and the door between the church and the vestry was open to get the benefit of the breeze.

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