Do you own that seat?

I have heard about arguments over people feeling like they own a particular space at church for over thirty years. This argument exists in Protestant churches and apparently Catholic churches as well. It seems a person who has sat in same seat for sometime, feels they own it. Its even worse in small Protestant churches where sometimes because the church is poor, various families buy their own pew and Lord help anyone who they find sitting in it !

Well, being a “new Catholic” as I was referred to on the phone today, I suppose this argument goes on in the Catholic church as well.

I signed up for masses for my family back in January and have been waiting for the days to come. Today - finally, I was full of joy that my mother who has passed on, finally had her mass. Because I wanted to be as close to the altar as possible, I sat on the first row. I guess its silly but I wanted to feel closer to her by being as close to altar as possible. They also have cards for all the masses for those who have passed on, tied in two pick and blue bundles with a candle on a table on the altar for the entire month of November. Knowing my family’s names are in the stacks of cards is a comfort to me. The mass was beautiful. It was at 7:00 am and I doubt there were more than 20 people present. And its a very large church that easily seats 500 I would estimate.

Well, later that same day, I had a phone call from a lady who has put her claim on one of the front pews to the right of the section my husband and I sat for my mother’s mass. On my phone machine, she proceeded to tell me how being a “new Catholic”, I didn’t know but that the first pew was for the disabled or elderly (who BTW I have never seen attend the 7 AM mass) and how I should never sit there, etc., etc., Well of course I know that first row is normally for those people when church is full.

And I normally don’t sit at first pew but this church which holds about 500 people, is always nearly empty at the 7 am daily mass. In the year that I have been attending, I have NEVER seen any elderly or disabled person in first row. Have seen it at the vigil mass only. And if someone had come, there were other first row pews available - like the one that very caller ALWAYS sits in. She didn’t mention why* she* should be exempt from this rule or merits this special privilege - only that some people have attended 15 or 20 years and always sit in the same place and I should respect the other people. I was shocked to say the least when I finished listening to her phone message.

Tomorrow, my father’s mass is scheduled. She has take some of the joy out of it as there will be some tension in the air as I will be sitting in the first pew again and she will be across the aisle in the first pew as well.

What kind of Christian charity is this? No one “owns” their seat. First come first serve as I see it.

I’ve never heard of people “owning” a particular seat in the Catholic Church. That is not Catholic at all. I suppose that it is possible, however, that the parish reserves the front row for disabled people (though I have never heard of it before). You should ask the priest about it. :slight_smile:

There are crazy people everywhere. Ignore her and pray for her.

Well, people tend to have their favourite spot where they sit each week… but I can’t say I’ve ever heard of anyone “own” a seat…

In our parish, to the left where the organ is, there are a group of people who pretty much make up the choir but they sit in the pews amongst everyone else. I would imagine their spot may be reserved. Anyone else, readers, etc sit wherever they please.

There are crazy people everywhere. Don’t worry about it.

I have some friends who decided one year for Lent that they would attend daily Mass a couple of times a week. They went to Mass and got settled in a pew when a woman came and stood over them absolutely glaring. They had no idea what was wrong. She finally said “” For the rest of Lent they went to another church for Mass.

What’s that line about welcoming strangers? Yikes!

If pews are reserved they are marked. Otherwise it is first come first seated. I would ignore this “lady”, if she speaks about it again I would tell her that I will pray for her and then do that,

I had a lady tell me I should sing quietly? as I sing out of tune. I sing joyfully to The Lord, loudly, and pray for her.

I agree with you; they should just pray for her. As for you singing, sing your heart out.
Remember, he who sings; prays twice.

I wonder if I will have to deal with this if God willing I become a priest. Take it up with the priest he is the Vicar of the place so his word is law basically

At the parish where my wife and I came into the Catholic Church 11 years ago there was an elderly couple who always sat in the front pew. They even had their names on a plaque on the back of the pew. The husband is now deceased and the wife is in a nursing home, so I don’t know if those pews are reserved for them still or not. We go to another parish now.:eek:

I know some people prefer to sit in certain spots. Unless your name is on the seat written there or reserved for a special occassion, then any pew or seat is for you to sit in.

Makes me think of Shelden on Big Bang Theory …

          Thats my spot !

Yes people are like that, they like routine, and if that routine is set in concrete …
well there is no shifting them… wait till you end up in a nursing home…
you ain’t seen nothin yet !

There is a similar thing I see happen at Christmas and Easter. One person will come to church very early and spread coats and bags “reserving” them for friends and relatives who show up at the last minute if at all, leaving others to stand.

I remember taking a speech class, and my teacher referred to this phenomenon as “territoriality”. I don’t think it goes just for mass but even for class in school and other aspects. We stake our our claim for some reason and can want to resist moving. Might seem difficult to understand, but it does happen.

If you think about it, though we can move anywhere in the church, many of us will probably sit in more or less the same seat week after week. Admittedly, we probably wouldn’t defend it to a point of almost getting into a fight, but there’s definitely something to all this.


Please don’t let this woman take your joy or disturb your peace. She was out of line, irresponsible and uncharitable toward you. I would advise you simply disregard her message. If she brings it up to you again, smile sweetly and say something along the lines of, “I didn’t realize these seats were reserved. I will speak with Father to see what his thoughts are on where I may sit next time.” That will likely wake her up.

Matthew 5

21: "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' 22: But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says,You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.
23: So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,
24: leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

You can sit anywhere you want. In some churches, it’s just customary for the first row to be used by disabled or elderly people so that the priest can easily bring communion to those people without them having to stand in line. However, there’s no rule that regular people can’t be in those pews.

Indeed. It seems we’re all creatures of habit. Take the same road, arrive at about the same time, park around the same area, find the same seat, preferably without someone disrupting our vision, etc. We tend to have the same routine at home, too. Tough to break out of our comfort zones, I guess.

I wish there were ‘thumbs up’ on posts sometimes…this is one of them!:thumbsup:

Do not worry about what people say or do. Previous replies are correct. If the pew is “reserved”, it will have the sign. If she keeps this up at all, note her name and speak to the Priest in a “non-accusatory” way explaining that this does not make you feel very welcome at all at his parish. Put it on you so that, if this person is a “favorite of the parish”, you do not come out as accusing her. :bigyikes: It would also make the Priest feel that others might not feel welcome at his parish!?

How did she find out your telephone number? :confused: Does she work at the parish or is a member of the parish advisory?

At my parish, the first pew to your left (as you face the Altar) and the places toward the aisle are for the lectors (two if the Responsorial Psalm is sung or three if it is read). On the right side two to four spaces that are closest to the aisle are for the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (EMHC). However, anyone else may sit on the inside of those few spaces. This is done only because these people have to go up to the Ambon to read or behind the Altar for Communion. That is why the two pews are not “reserved” at my parish.

I normally sit behind the EMHCs, but it is not a “reserved” seat, nor am I upset if someone sits there. One day the EMHCs did not arrive on time (did not process with the Priest). I changed pew when the lectors got to their pew and sat at the pew to the right. The person sitting on the second pew very nicely told me about the place being for the EMHCs. :tsktsk: I simply let the person know that I am an EMHC. Another EMHC arrived after the entrance procession and we both served. I had no previous idea I would be needed. When I do know, I process with the Celebrant – then everything is “all right”.

If there is a Baptism, I make nice “Baptism reserved” signs for the needed pews (with the child’s name and date of Baptism) for the baby’s parents, godparents and family. The Family normally take the signs as a nice keepsake. :slight_smile:

I am glad you are having Masses said for your Parents. Good luck tomorrow! Let no one take away your peace. May the clouds lift and the Son shine His Face upon you!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

You know, there are also some mental conditions which don’t like change…autism spectrum…obsessive compulsive type disorders. Neither would like to change in routine.
Their reactions can even defy logic.

Others, it’s just a habit, pure and simple.

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