Interrupting the priest


What would you do?

In the years I’ve been in this parish we have had 5 different priests. Each time a new priest comes in, he does not send the children for ‘children’s liturgy’. I suspect this is because these priests are from a different country where, perhaps, there is no such thing as children’s liturgy.

When this happens, the priest moves into the ‘lord have mercy’ prayer. Not sure the official term. When he’s done we’re supposed to sing the Kyrie BUT this one music team will instead inform the priest he’s forgotten children’s liturgy. In front of the parish. Interrupting the liturgy at a key moment. It is always so jarring and so embarrassing. So instead of singing the Kyrie we’re blessing the children and singing the happy clappy ‘sending off’ song they sing for the children.

I’ve witnessed this three times in the last 5 years. There are different music teams, the one that does the music more than the others is the problem and for whatever reason they have never been corrected (I say this because they’ve continued this behavior with subsequent priests who’ve come in). They seem to think it is their right and their duty to interrupt the priest and correct him… on the spot… in the middle of the liturgy.

Would you speak to the music team yourself to just suggest they not interrupt and in future leave it alone and speak to the priest AFTER Mass? Or would you leave it for the priests to correct (even though it seems they haven’t to this point)? Should I just be volunteering to be part of the parish council so I can more effectively make suggestions? I just don’t know. I feel called to do something but God hasn’t been too clear on WHAT yet. Haha.

BTW this is hypothetical as we JUST got a new priest and the music team interrupted him two weeks ago and I did nothing. This situation shouldn’t arrive again for another year or two.

PS: I am part of music ministry but not involved with this particular music team, thus my hesitance to speak to them. If it was my OWN team, I’d say something without hesitation.


Do you have animators in your parish? Perhaps take the issue to them and they can gently remind the priest about the children’s liturgy.

As for correcting the music team, that’s really the job of the priest, not you.


What is an animator? We have a ‘helper’ but he quit with the last priest.

The previous priests don’t seem to have corrected them and/or they are resistant to listening. Shouldn’t we parishioners have some right to speak up if the actions of other parishioners are disrupting the liturgy? I wonder if I should just speak to the priest privately and express my concern… hm…


Why can’t the song just be omitted and there be a simple announcement “Children, please go to the Children’s liturgy now” or something? Perhaps the priests just dislike the song…


An animator is like an usher. They make sure everything is set up, that readers and EMHCs are available, etc, etc.

I always cringe a bit when people start talking about they should have this right or that right. You have the right to do whatever you want. The music team has the right to interrupt the priest. None of it is illegal under the law or forbidden by the church. But just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

If it is really bothering you, talk to the priest. Perhaps he has a perspective that would change things. After all, maybe, as a new priest, he appreciates being stopped and reminded of the procedure for this parish. Or maybe he doesn’t care one way or the other.


Hm. I had never thought of it that way.

For me interrupting just seems so… rude. And to do so in front of the parish strikes me as highly disrespectful. Add to this that they’re interrupting a moment in Mass that to me is quite important and it just feels so wrong on so many levels.

BUT I’m coming from Protestantism. I once sat in a Church where a parishioner interrupted the minister to inform her she’d read the Bible verse wrong and demanded she read it correctly before continuing. So my reaction to these things might be more extreme than others.

I recognize the priest should be the one to correct them but this has happened so many times I feel as if they must NOT be getting corrected. I can’t imagine they would continue otherwise. As a parishioner I find it highly unsettling.

I find it curious that we lay everything at the feet of the priest. Are we not allowed to correct each other at all?

But yes, I am going to speak to the priest. Seems to me it’s the best way to continue forward. He’s transitionary so he might be more willing to ruffle feathers.


I’m not saying lay everything at the feet of the priest, and I’m not saying we cannot ever correct one another (though I do heed the warning about not commenting on the speck in my neighbour’s eye while I have a log in my own). But the conduct of parishioners during the Mass is the priest’s purview. Concerns should be brought to him. If he chooses not to correct them - that’s his call to make, not yours.




Cool, cool. Thanks for the input. :slight_smile: I appreciate it.


Three times in 5 years?
Why is this even an issue then?
People make mistakes. Families with Children often choose to come to a Mass the has a Children’ Liturgy of the Word, so if Father forgot, or worse yet, didn’t know (shame on whomever the Sacristan is) why wouldn’t someone remind him?

Now, I would wait until after the Penitential rite & the Gloria were over, but that is just me.


Sorry. To me it is just very jarring so yeah, even if it’s only 3 times in five years… it’s the same people doing it each time and each time it happens it’s like a slap.

BUT I get it. I’ll speak to the priest. :slight_smile:

See now it was my understanding children’s liturgy isn’t even PART of the liturgy and is something that can be foregone so I’m not sure why it’s important enough to interrupt the Mass and correct the priest publicly but I’m just made of different stuff I guess. Haha.


Best way to prevent interruptions of this kind is for the Children’s Liturgist to go to Father prior to mass and remind him that there is a children’s liturgy at that mass. He should be able to take it from there.


It’s the liturgy for children. It is the same readings and themes, geared toward children between the ages of 4-7. The children leave just before the readings and return after the Creed in my parish. We have CLOW twice a month at our 9am Mass. Some people love it, some not so much, but it is very much so “part” of the liturgy.


Huh. Who knew. Everything I’ve read suggests it is an innovation that is allowed if it’s a custom of that particular parish but that isn’t actually an official part of the actual liturgy.Maybe I was reading wrong.


Not sure about Canada, but here in the US, itis very popular. CLOW even has it’s own lectionary.
Now, that doesn’t mean that every parish does it, some do, some don’t.
Some do it every week at one particular Mass and have that attached to their Faith Formation program.
Others do it once or twice a month.
It is very popular in some of the parishes I have attended, with close to 50-60 children participating.

  1. Three times in 5 years doesn’t exactly sound like this is a big recurring problem.

  2. I agree with mentioning it to the priest (that you personally are bothered by the interruption to the liturgy) and let him decide whether he wants to bother speaking to the music team.


I’ve seen similar disconnects in my church with new and visiting priests - for some reason, the director of liturgy doesn’t sit down with them to: 1) explain unique practices for our parish, e.g. dismissals for children or RCIA candidates, or 2) find out what the priest’s preferences are for celebrating Mass.
Every time we get a new priest at the altar he looks lost. It isn’t fair to him nor to the parish.


It is disconcerting. I guess the answer is to get more involved and get into a position where one can help inform the priest and keep things running smoothly.


If it’s bothering the priest, the priest will talk to the music people about it.

If it’s bothering you, and you’re part of the music ministry, why not mention it to your fellow musicians?

And whether it’s three times in five years or three times in the past month, I agree it would be jarring and seemingly inappropriate.


Talk to the Priest and see why this is happening over and over and over and how disruptive to the Mass it is. Yes join the Parish council.

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