Crying Woman in a Pew Poll


In yesterday’s homily our priest walked us through a hypothetical scenario in which you come upon a crying woman and what kinds of reactions you might have. He listed the following reactions, asked where our comfort level was, and asked us to go at least one step further if this discipleship opportunity did present itself in real life.

Which would you choose? Do you think the “right” answer should depend on your comfort level and individual gifts?

  • Ignore her, it’s not your business and it’s awkward
  • Ask “Are you ok?” (She isn’t, but it feels natural)
  • Ask if she prays and if she has prayed about this
  • Ask if you can sit and quietly pray with her
  • Pray aloud with or for her
  • None of these things

0 voters


Just imagining praying aloud with a crying woman made me almost cry. I’m not sure I’m cut out for it as a bit of a social crier.


Having been a crying woman in a pew, I have no idea, because it’s hard to articulate what would have helped.


I asked my kids over dinner.
Their answers:
3 year old: give her a snack
4 year old: tell her God loves her
5 year old: say a rosary outloud (I’m not sure he can, I think he was trying to win😆)



Do I know her?

Have I even seen her before?

Is she a new parishoner?


One time when I was crying in a pew about things unrelated to my children, my kids were also going wild. A woman handed each of my kids a lacing card and motioned showing them how they are used. Her face was so sympathetic to my pain without prying. Lacing card lady is on my mind often! :heart:


None of those.

I’d hand her a tissue (always in my purse) and tell her that if she wants to pray or talk about it I’m here. If she indicates no, I’d say a quiet prayer and say “God bless you”.

I’ve done this before.

I’ve also been the crying person in the pew. I appreciate people giving me the choice about sharing or not.


I’d probably ask if she was ok, but immediately drop it if she gave the impression of not wanting to talk about it with a total stranger (which seems likely.)


All of this.

I’ve been the crying person in the pew – I appreciated concern, but didn’t want to have to talk about it or share. If someone else simply said, “Let me know if you need anything, and I’ll be saying a prayer for you,” that would have been the perfect response.


It’s the simple things, isn’t? Sometimes it enough just to know someone cares.


My sister is a lady who cries at Mass frequently. Generally because she’s overwhelmed by the Spirit.

If I were to come upon a crying woman I would probably sit close and keep an eye on her to try and determine if it was just: “God is touching me” crying or something else crying.

If it seemed like something else crying I might approach her to ask if she would be okay with me praying with her.


I have been that crying woman in the pew, and personally, I find your priest’s suggestions for interaction mostly just horrible.

If I’m crying, I’m not OK, so that’s a stupid question.

If I’m crying in a church, then I’m probably pouring out my heart to God. So that’s a stupid – as well as condescending and rude – question.

If I don’t know you, and I’m crying, the last thing I want is my private grief being invaded by a compete stranger.

And praying aloud for me? :scream: I’d probably assume the person had a mental illness if they took that route.

Personally, I think most of these responses are not about helping the crying woman so much as making the other person feel satisfaction about having “done something.”

I think @mrsdizzyd really has a good answer, because this course of action places the need of the crying person front and center.


I cry after every confession. I would be horrified if someone came up to me during that time.

I’ve also known people who do need to be approached so it’s a very delicate, difficult balancing act. But @mrsdizzyd had a great approach to it. :slight_smile:


I think the whole point of the homily was to “do something” and not simply ignore it.


I think I’d listen to where God was prompting me to go.

I’m a shy person, so my inclination is to do nothing. I don’t approach people who aren’t crying. But, I was walking down a busy street one day and saw a man on the edge of the sidewalk. He wasn’t openly crying, but did seem upset. I walked by, and then heard the prompting “Why don’t you go ask if he needs help? You are obviously worried - do something.” And I did. I turned around, went back to the guy and asked him if he was okay. He said he was, and I headed on to my bus stop. He walked by a few minutes later, openly smiling and stopped and thanked me for caring.

So, yeah. I’d ask God what to do and listen for the answer.


This situation happens to me either in person or on the phone at least once a week (I work for the Church, people of all walks of life come in/call). I mostly listen to them and pray with them. May times people simply want to be heard.


If I am crying in the pew please leave me alone. I do not need to share my pain with strangers.


If she was pretty distressed I’d ask her if she was okay. But I’m a bit shy. I suppose if the spirit prompted me to approach her and let her know I was there, I would. It really depends on the social cues and whether or not I feel I’d be disturbing someone in prayer.


I chose ‘None of these’. Asking ‘Are you OK’ is ludicrous; clearly she is not OK, or she wouldn’t be weeping. The prayer options I find presumptuous, but I would certainly not ignore her. My instinct would be to seat myself next to her, and if she came to a stopping point, ask gently ‘Can I help you?’. Even this I am dubious about, though. I am a man, and men have been so criticised in recent years that I would be very careful about approaching a woman I didn’t know. It is not beyond the pale that a simple offer of help could result in harassment or even assault charges, if the woman chose to take my offer the wrong way.


Probably none of these. I am terrible at comforting people with my words. I would instead quietly pray for her.

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