iPhone usage before mass

I like to attend the 5:30pm Sunday mass at my parish, because it is the first mass that occurs after the 1pm mass… I get there at 4:30pm to pray - it’s very quiet, peaceful and empty. On my iPhone, I have a rosary app, the catholic bible, a roman missal app and a couple of prayer apps.

My routine is that as I am walking up to the church, I silence my iPhone, I then go in and sit in a back pew and pray the rosary. I have been praying the rosary daily for almost a year now. So I know most all of the rosary prayers by heart. I’m not referring to the Hail Mary or Our Father. I’m referring to the Preparatory Prayer, Litany, Salve Regina and Memorare. By now, I pretty much have these memorized but I still use my iPhone rosary app to guide me in the order of the prayers. Also I don’t have the different mysteries memorized yet and the app I use contains pretty lengthy scripture verses related to each mystery.

Last Sunday, as I’m sitting there and starting to mediate, pray and reflect, I hear a voice behind me telling me, “Put that away.” I turned around and it was the priest who does the 5:30pm mass. I told him that I was using a rosary app to help me pray. He rudely repeats, “Put it away”. Again, I try to explain to him, “It has the rosary on it”. He tells me in the most disrespectful tone, “I don’t care what it has, put it away”. So without saying anything back I put my phone in my pocket and as soon as he walked into the confessional, I immediately got my phone back out and proceeded to pray from where I left off, before his rude interruption.

There are other issues with this priest, I’ve noticed that crying or talking children really anger him. Sometimes he will stop the liturgy or sermon and he’ll walk over to the parent of the crying child, and he’ll tell them to leave. I’ve witnessed this on several occasions. Sometimes he even approaches people with young children before mass even starts and tells them that he expects them to leave if their kids become a distraction. He comes off as such a moody miserable old man.

Anyway, back to my original issue about iPhone usage before mass. I never touch my phone once mass starts. Again, I only use it for about 40 minutes or so, before mass starts as a prayer reference and to read scriptures related to the mysteries of the rosary. I usually have my beads in one hand and the phone in the other, head down and usually kneeling. It’s very obvious that I’m praying, the place is pretty much empty and you would have to be an idiot to think that I was doing something like texting, browsing, emailing or gaming.

I’ve read other iPhone related posts in this forum and I agree that phone usage during mass would be very distracting - I’m not doing this.

Anyway, I’m very frustrated, probably need to go to confession about it and would like some feedback from other folks. Thanks so much to all for taking the time to read and reply. God bless.

We’re supposed to be obedient to our priests, as they have authority over us in spiritual matters. Out of respect for his priesthood, we should be obedient to our priests unless they are telling us to do something sinful. You could try calmly asking your priest at a more appropriate time why you may not use your iPhone for devotional purposes. If he still opposes, don’t use your iPhone.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not anti-iPhone. I am typing this post on mine. I also use my iPhone in the church before low Mass during the week and in our adoration chapel, as I have the Breviary on it and a significant amount of spiritual reading apps. I keep my phone on airplane mode so I can’t surf the Internet, check email and facebook, text people, check the score of the football game, or receive incoming calls. It is essentially a digital pocketbook. Recently someone posted an anonymous note in our adoration chapel that we should not be on our phones, but adoring Jesus most truly present. Since it wasn’t posted by one of our priests, I have been ignoring it. Should a priest tell me not to use it, I will humbly obey.

This is a bit of a sensitive situation.

First things first I guess, if the priest (who is the pastor I’m assuming) asks you not to use your iPhone, even for prayer, then you shouldn’t use your phone there. It’s his parish, and out of respect to him as a priest you should follow his wishes.

That’s not to say that using a smartphone during prayer (even at church) is sinful (it’s not inherently sinful, it’s a tool). I’ve got a Bible (RSV-CE) on my iPhone and for the past few months I’ve been following an included “read the Bible in a year” plan (one reading from the OT, 1 from Wisdom literature, and 1 from the NT each day, so it would be difficult to do with a regular Bible) and I usually read it before Mass before the Tabernacle (in a side chapel); my SD has even seen me a couple times and hasn’t said anything about it (neither has anyone else, but I do also carry a hard-copy breviary).

You might want to talk to other parishioners if you can about the priests pastoral style. That’s something they may want to address within the parish first if possible.

Two things: obey your pastor. Don’t do it in his church if he says no. He sounds like he might have some anger problems, but obey him. You may be wise to let the bishop know quietly about some of those things though.

Second, I use my phone all the time for devotional purposes. LOTH, novenas, prayer book, and even sometimes as a personal missal during daily Masses (in which case everyone knows I use it for prayer, even then, I’m still discreet). I’m all for that. It sure beats bringing 3 books everywhere I go.

We should respect our priest, specially while in church. Just think of it as the owner of the house saying you should take off your shoes before entering, and you won’t argue that these are new shoes (I just wore them for the first time before entering) and they’re perfectly clean. You would still respect his wishes. Other priests might let you use your iPhone just like other house owners would welcome you even with soiled shoes. Our priest is looking out for many things–not only what is physical, reasonable and logical, but also what is spiritual, some special considerations regarding your community, etc. Culturally, there is still a bit of mismatch between technology and spirituality. An iPhone in church TODAY, may still pose a great deal of distraction for others–the young who are so “into it”, as well as the old who would view your iPhone with much curiosity. In such cases, it will get in the way of their prayers. This may change eventually, as people begin to accept the iPhone (we do use technology in services: projectors, amplifiers, instruments, etc. though some people still don’t appreciate the drumsets :D). I’ve myself gotten away with reading from my Xperia in the back of the Adoration Chapel, but thinking about it now, I think I should have not done it.

Wow, definitely sounds like an issue with the priest, not with you and the iPhone before Mass, especially if you’re using it for the rosary app. I know that DURING Mass, there is an elderly woman who sits beside me who uses her iPhone to follow the readings - no one’s ever said anything to her about it. Wonder if there is any way you could schedule a talk with the priest to find out why he has an issue with that before Mass?

So sorry you were treated so rudely! :frowning:

Your post reminded me of when hand-held calculators first came out. People my age were totally forbidden to use them!!!

Which was fine with me, until people my little brother’s age *were!!! *

And now high school students in Alg 2 ar *required *to have special do-everything calculators just to be able to *do *the math–the textbooks have changed to use the calculators…

I always feel nervous about using my iPod in church, because I am afraid others will think that I am texting or something and that could give scandal. Maybe some teenager will use me as an example in arguing with his parents! I have done it, but I was too nervous to continue, esp after a fellow parishioner harumphed several times one day… I think in a few years, when people get used to the idea that these devices have prayer apps, then it will be more commonplace. In the meantime, I guess we just have to cart along all our books!

I just don’t use my phone in church, period. Yes I have prayer apps on it, I still don’t use them in church. I bring my missal and use that. I just don’t want to set a bad example for others, especially children. Plus I personally do think they are a distraction to others. Now if you have a legit disability and need an assistance device that is different.

I use my phone with apps for the Liturgy of the Hours, and some particular prayers I like. I often stay after Mass to say some of them. I do not use it during Mass, even though I could access the daily readings. I am afraid someone will think I am checking email or using it in other ways. My concern is the example to young folks - it could be misinterpreted. I have had a person sit behind me and text thoughout some of the Mass. It was distracting and disrespectful. I do use it before Mass to sometime pre read the scripture of the day, or to say the hour. There is no problem with that at all I think. Yes, I agree if your priest said to not do it, I would not until I discussed it with him further

I find the Liturgy of the hours much easier on the I phone rather than the books. They are in order without the flipping around and losing my place!

That’s interesting! It’s obviously easier to carry around the phone, but I find it much easier to pray with the books.

My priest has been seen praying the Hours from an app on his iPhone in the chapel, and once during a short weekday homily I saw him reach into the pockets of his cassock and pull out his iPhone to read part of the Martyrology for the day. Oh, and I go to an FSSP parish. The head of our Gregorian Schola walked up on Easter Vigil and sang in the front of the church with his Liber Pro iPad app as his music. Also, he created the Liber Pro app. We have many people who use their iPhones before and after Mass for devotional reading, and a few that use their iPads instead of the Liber Usualis to chant with the Schola.

I would be completely lost without my phone during my normal Holy Hour - I use it to read the Hours from Brevarium Meum, read scriptures and books by saints on iPieta, and use it as a clock to know when to head out for work. :slight_smile: I also got the BookBook case by TwelveSouth to be a bit more discreet with my phone while in church. (My priest thought that was mighty spiffy.)

I agree with the others, that if the phone is disturbing to the priest that it should be put away. But I also agree with others that maybe you could talk to your priest and show him how you use your phone. It may be that he misinterpreted what you were doing, and if he were to see how it was used, he’d at least be a bit more understanding with you.

I find the 99 cent iPhone app for the 1962 Breviary more cost efficient than the $300 book from Baronius Press. That’s the big thing for me. I’m an unemployed student and books are expensive.

That is one place where I do wholly recommended people use the iPhone version (older or new version). If you want to check out the LOTH, use the iPhone or a web version first before you buy anything. There’s no point jumping right into something you don’t even know anything about, especially when it costs a lot of money.

Oh, cost wise? Heck yeah, go with the app. I was gifted with the books, so I see them as both equal for that purpose. But if I didn’t have the books already, then the app would be a major boon.

In my diocese I have seen many priest use their phone during adoration and before mass.
In fact our bishop has mentioned publicly because he has got called out because he has used his phone during public (The liturgy of the hours or the divine praises).

If I pray daily using my phone at home work for liturgy of the hours and or daily reading. I think the priest should be respectful of my choices. Some of these priest should begin to understand were we are at. If they wish for us to grow in our faith, they should see things are changing.

Phone usage during mass for these purposes is a different story.

If the priest says to you put the phone away, then do so. He may not know that you are using for devotional purposes compared to what he may have seen other people do like gaming, checking email, social media, etc especially during Mass when all electronics need to be stowed away and silenced (or placed on vibrate). Not all clergy & lay people are tech savvy and know about the various applications for prayer, scripture, etc that are available.

I have used my android phone during Adoration to read prayers if I forget to bring a prayer book or missal. But the sound is always silenced, and I tend to sit away from most people so that the light doesn’t bother them if its in an area with not much light. But I’ve never brought out and used the devotional applications before Mass as some people may thing I am using the phone for secular reasons.

while i think its great how technology can help us in our spiritual life, I personally am not a fan of people bringing their phones to church… for whatever the reason. Some think only the old people feel this way, but im not old by any means, and I think cell phones should be left in people’s cars or homes while they are at church. We need to be very respectful of where we are, and when I see someone with their cell phone, regardless of what they are doing with it, it is a huge distraction to me and im sure others as well. The App you are talking about should be helpful to you when doing your prayers at home or elsewhere, but using the phone at church… not such a good idea.

I believe you *should *be allowed to use your phone while in church. But, if the priest asks you to put it away, I think you should put it away in obedience. I would also recommend not using it in that church even if he isn’t around to see you. I don’t have a reference, but someone once told me that we receive special Graces when we obey priests on matters such as this.

I have used my iphone a few times when I did not have my Breviary with me and I know of a few priests who use their ipads to pray the daily office with. One of my priest friends has his homilies on his ipad. I think as long as they are used respectfully and prayerfully then it is okay to use them prior to Mass. If you have the Mass on it then it may even be appropriate to use it during then as well especially if the Mass is in a different language than yours. God bless,

To the OP, If you are using your phone prior to the start of Mass as a prayer guide, I don’t see what the issue is, IMO, it’s no more different than a prayer book, just as long as you remember to vibrate your phone prior to walking in ;). Personally, I leave my phone in the car, it’s a bulky HTC Edge that I don’t even like having in my pocket and there’s been more than once this Summer, the TuneIn Radio and/or Sirius/XM app have kicked on all by themselves with the phone being in the pocket of my shorts without me even touching the darn thing :eek:

IMO, your priest is being rude if he’s walked up to a family with a disruptive child and asked them to leave. Disruptive children, especially toddlers and newborns are the norm and not the exception at Mass. Not to mention, your Priest is coming off as one of the main characters in Grumpy Old Men.

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