Chatty Parishioners

I need some advice on how to handle the talking before, during and after Mass at our parish. Discussing it with the Pastor is out; he encourages it.

Should I say anything to those near me who mindlessly talk on and on? I’m usually kneeling either praying my Rosary or saying other prayers before Mass begins. After Mass, I try to stay for a thanksgiving, but it’s a bit hard when people stand right by your pew and talk without even bothering to whisper. It’s usually a free-for-all after Mass. Really a disgrace.

Any suggestions will be gratefully appreciated.

Offer it up. :frowning:

Really, offer your prayer time as a means to help your fellow parishioners become more reverant and devout.

You can also scout around the church to find the quietest corner–often that’s up front or in a section that doesn’t have easy access to the doors. You may also find that some Mass times are quieter than others. Our most well-attended Mass is often also the noisest also, although usually people are very good about noting that someone is praying and being mindful of that.

I already attend the early Mass just for that reason. Plus, this particular Mass is filled with people who are old enough to know better (people in their sixties, seventies and eighties). Due to the way the church is layed out, there is no quiet corner.

I feel sorry for you as I had to go through that as well. Its infuriating how so many people are disrespectful in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. I don’t have that that problem anymore as I attend Mass somewhere else.

Perhaps they are hard-of-hearing and don’t realize how loudly they are speaking. Older people who are alone during the week also tend to be more chatty when they do go out. That may be why the priest doesn’t say anything about it.

Our parish instituted a practice a few years back that helped somewhat. After the priest and servers have processed out of the church, the congregation kneels down again, until the altar servers come back out to put out the altar candles. During that short period, there is silence.

Once the altar servers extinguish the candles and head back for the sacristy, people exit the pews, and at that time, the organist plays music. That tends to discourage conversation in the body of the church, not always successfully, but we have a large vestibule where people can talk.

you are beat before you start, it has to come from the pastor.
try getting old,
old ladies and men too here have no trouble glaring at people and telling the to shut up during the rosary, or after Mass. I had to speak to 2 ladies last Sunday who were talking very loudly in the last pew during the early Mass. they just gave me the look but they shut up, for a while. and yes they were old, but evidently when you are old you can get away with more

I open my church on Sundays. It’s the seniors who seem to talk the most, largely because they don’t see each other except at church It can be infuriating if you let it get to you. The focus of the conversation is often where they are going to breakfast after Mass.

I am going to ask my pastor fairly soon if I can unlock our youth center (its door is closest to our church’s entrance), turn on it’s lights, etc. when I open the church. If everyone has a place to talk before Mass I think he would be fairly direct in the bulletin about going there to talk or into the church to be quiet. We’ll see how it goes.

I have been trying very hard this Lent to be grateful that the chatties are finding God in friendship and companionship with other parishioners. It’s a stretch . . . but I’m trying. I find being on my knees and burying my head a little helps. Not sure if it muffles the noise or makes me a little more obvious in prayer. And, like so many have mentioned, it isn’t kids doing this . . .

Do you have an Adoration chapel in your church where you can go & be alone? Do you have a Grotto outside of your church where you can go and pray? When I first started reading this, I thought that you were talking about people talking during Mass, which I often hear way to much of and loathe, but for people to be there after Mass talking, thats actually a beautiful thing. Its better than seeing people trample each other to get out of the church, and people cutting each other off in the parking lot, just after celebrating Mass & taking part in the Eucharist. Might I suggest going to an earlier Mass where people seem to be a bit more dedicated and quieter, with more respect for being in the Sacramental presence of our Lord & Savior. I would also suggest Saturday Evening Mass, which also seems to have a bit of a more dedicated and serious tone to it. If you don’t have an Adoration chapel at your church, I would suggest taking advantage of Eucharistic Adoration on the days when your Parish has it available, and if they don’t I’m sure that you could find a church near you that does.Two other things that I would also suggest are, 1. Take advantage of Evening prayer at your church during Lent. 2. Making a little shrine in a private place in your house. I have a crucifix, statue of Mary, pictures of Jesus, candles, etc in my bedroom, and many times, I go in there to pray and read Sacred Scripture. I hope that some or all of this helps. Please don’t be mad or feel bothered if people are hanging around after Mass and having fellowship though, we absolutely need more of that in the Catholic Church these days. I do agree with you though that people do need to tone it down a little before Mass sometimes, and realize that they are in the Sacramental presence of the Lord, and not in a movie theatre, or at a resturant. P.S. I posted the thing about the early Mass before I noticed post no# 3, oops.

Normally I don’t find the parishoners at my church chatty (maybe because I go to the early Mass), but there is a lot of chatters before the Easter Vigil Mass. One year it felt like I was in a social hall - not a church. Also, I had to go to my little cousin’s First Holy Communion in April of last year, and the people there were chatting non-stop before Mass. The priest came out and told everyone how rude and disrespectful it is to our Lord. Unfortunately, no one really steps up and tells people to shut up and be quiet at my parish.

We have the same problem at my parish. And while the early Mass is a bit quieter than the others afterwards, our early Mass is predominantly an older crowd and they often talk quite loudly. I do think part of it is that they can’t tell how loudly they’re talking, and part of it is that they don’t get to see each other during the week. So I try to be patient and pray through it; sometimes it can be hard though!

OP, I feel your pain. Prior to Mass, I’ll be kneeling, praying, eyes closed, kind of hunched over (deliberately trying to discourage/avoid contact) and people will come up, tap me on the shoulder, and start talking to me.

I attended our diocese’s Chrism Mass yesterday. Lots of people arrived early, probably to get a seat in our relatively small cathedral. The talking started as a low hum after our Rosary (which finished 15 minutes prior to Mass start time) and built into a roar. One of the priests, a Msgr, was seated in the roped-off area ahead of time because he’s on a walker and couldn’t join the procession with the rest of the priests and bishop. He stood up, faced the crowd, and calmly began talking “didn’t we used to have respect in Church? It sounds like you are in an auditorium and getting ready to watch a concert. Can we please respect the Lord.” etc. People shut up pretty quick and there was respectful silence.

I think it takes firm leadership to establish and enforce a norm of respectful quiet before, during, and after Mass. People can gently be encouraged to have their conversations in the gathering space or parish hall or outside and leave the worship space quiet. But this has to come from the pastor, IMHO.

I saved this thread to come back to later, because this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart.:frowning:

There is ‘talking’ before and after Mass, and there is ‘TALKING’ before and after Mass.

While I am all for socializing and fellowshipping, we are still part of Mass, and should reflect that. So, to hear the Readings and the Homily, and then receive Communion, to go into, ‘My son is driving me nuts. I’m going to kill him’, or worse, ‘I think my daughter may be pregnant; we’re going to have to take care of that’… it’s not just the talking, but WHAT is being talked about.

In many cases, the problem is the volume. If I’m on this side of the church, talking with someone, and you’re on THAT side of the church, I shouldn’t hear every nuance of your
conversation. Talk to the person next to you like they are next to you!

And talking during Mass? Some people seem to think that because they are kneeling, is the time to talk to the person next to them… telling jokes, commenting on fashions, etc.

I was visiting someone else’s church on business. I received Communion, lowered my head in prayer and was moving towards the chalice only to have someone say to me, ‘How do you spell your last name?’ :eek::shrug:

Another time, I received communion and was kneeling in prayer, only to have someone come up to me and say, ‘by the way, we didn’t get to make that announcement earlier, and there are some details I didn’t get to tell you about…’ The rest was a lot of Blah Blah Blah, because my mind was on, ‘really?? NOW??? I was in prayer with my Lord’

I’ve seen people walk INTO the church while on the cell phone. I was visting another church and saw some guy between the Masses in front of the side tabernacle having a lengthy conversation on his cell phone. Imagine my chagrine when I learned he was the Celebrant for the next Mass.

It’s one thing to help to instruct and correct children, but there are a lot of grown folx who know better, as they should, but because of the, ‘well, we don’t have to be silent like in the days when I was an infant’, and they have gone 180 degrees the other way. :frowning:

We have to work on realizing where we are, and why. It’s not just every one else, either. Sometimes, it’s us, too. But we have to put reverance back on the table.

… and another thing (this is not directed at YOU, but the sentiment you are expressing)

Why should I have to go some where else to pray? Why shouldn’t I be able to come in to a Church, a Catholic Church, and not have it as a sanctuary for prayer and spiritual renewal? :confused:

Why should those who want to pray go any where OTHER than a Church? The Blessed Sacrament is in the Church. And that is where we should be able to go and pray.

You want to be social? YOU go outside. YOU go to the Social Hall. You go to your car. YOU go to the mall or the arena or the dance club or the playground. When you come into a barbershop, you don’t go in there to try on hats, or to try on shoes. When you go to a restaurant, you don’t get on a treadmill. Go into a church, and DO Church! :mad:

Sheesh! :frowning:

I think most Catholic parishes I have come in contact with do a horrible job of providing fellowship opportunities particularly on Sundays. I think it’s largely do to the fact that it’s a lot of hard work and can get political very quickly. That differs greatly from Protestantism. Many Protestants have Sunday school, some sort of praise service, small meetings, their kids play together and a meal together of some sort. They’re at church from 9 (or earlier) to 1:00-2:00 or later.

“BUT WE HAVE THE MASS!” is the canned retort. Or more like an excuse.

Yes, we have the sacrificial liturgy. It’s a truly awesome gift from God. But its infinite greatness should not preclude us from other fellowship as Christians. I think if we had more, fewer of us would be apt to talk during Mass, often the only 45 minutes some Catholics even think about “church” each week.

Some of the problem is the size of the church. Catholic churches tend to be a lot larger and have more parishioners than the protestant ones who do the intimate fellowship. They aren’t having 4 church services. That doesn’t excuse more events where Catholics are just getting to know each other. In my experience it is the smaller parishes that are having the donuts after Mass and the K of C fish fries during Lent.

Your point about the size of Catholic churches is a really good one. My husband’s family is Protestant, and they have fairly small congregations with pot luck dinners, etc. Another factor may be the design of some churches. My church doesn’t really have a space in which a group could gather after Mass without being too noisy and disturbing the next Mass. Some parishes, especially those without schools, have begun to build “gathering spaces” for social gatherings; this could help encourage folks afterwards. In my parish, we’ve tried having Coffees after Mass, and we notice that the older folks especially like having an opportunity to sit with others and have a cup of coffee and a couple of cookies. The problem can be where to host this, considering our design was poorly planned. Fellowship is important, but respect in God’s home is even more important - somehow we have to try to have both.

water pistol :slight_smile:

hummm…maybe not.

perhaps just ask kindly if they can go out in the vestibule for you are trying to pray…with a smile…

We live in a world of noise. I, like most here (probably everyone), have my share of life’s crosses. I do not go to Church for “fellowship.” I get plenty of that during the week and the parish has coffee and donuts in the Knights’ hall after Mass. It also has what they call a “gathering space.”

Tomorrow it should be a zoo. I feel so sorry for Our Lord. He did so much for us and He gets treated so shabbily.

I know if I say anything, I’ll get one of “those looks.” Once, in another Church, I did, and the lady told her friend that I was one of those people who “thinks you should be quiet in Church.” Well, yes, I do as a matter of fact.

Thanks, everyone, for your input.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit