Is it reasonble to ask for accomodations?


B/c our old parish priest was sent to Rome, we got a new resident priest, but I’m having a difficult time with him during Mass. Two Sundays in a row during homily he called on people in the audience to answer questions, but this sunday he didn’t (thank goodness!)

But he still wanders up and down partway in the aisles while talking, and I hate this part. Usually, the priests before would stand near the altar in the front and speak, sometimes they would pace, but only short distances side to side. I could read their lips (I’m profoundly deaf), and get at least the idea of what message they were trying to get across. But with this new priest’s habit of wandering far, I can only read his lips for about 5% of his homily. Most of the time he’s wandered behind where I’m sitting (I always sit near the front so I can understand what’s going on in Mass). So I can’t read his lips from behind. Or even if he’s close to where I am, he’s facing the other direction, and even a slight change in direction prevents lip reading and adequate hearing of his homily. It almost brings me to tears, I’m frustrated.

Would it be too presumptious of me to ask him to stay with tradition and stay by the altar area during his homily? It wouldn’t affect others’ reception, but it would certainly help give me a chance to get the message from the homily. How should I ask? I hate being stony faced while the audience laughs at the jokes, just because I didn’t know what was being said.


Isn’t the priest not supposed to leave the Sanctuary during the Mass?



If you explain to him about your deafness, surely he would stay where you could read his lips. Just explain it to him.


Hi Holly! :slight_smile:

It almost brings me to tears, I’m frustrated.

Wow. How nice it is to read that you hunger for the homliy so.

Yes, it is certainly reasonable. I’d be surprised if Father didn’t accomodate you happily. My advice? I would avoid approaching him from the standpoint of where the rubrics say he should be even though Catholig is right. Rather, I would simply tell him what you told us, you get about 5% of what he has to say. Tell him that the 5% alone is interesting enough to tell you that you’re missing something good (unless that is totally untrue) and it is so frustrating that it almost brings you to tears. Honestly, I find that comment incredibly touching. I cannot imagine for the life of me that he will not as well.

On the off chance this doesn’t work out very well, many priests have their homilies written out. He may not if he walks around a lot, but if he does, maybe he’d be willing to give you a copy to read. I know… it’s not the same. I’m just trying to think of a plan B for you. I really don’t think you’ll need it though.

Please let us know how things worked out. God bless you!


Presumptuous, of course not! You have very valid reasons to ask him to stay up front!

Also, I’m willing to bet there are many in your laity who do not appreciate his wandering around & asking questions, but are not sure how to approach this. Yours isn’t a ‘style’ issue, it is truly a communication issue!

BTW, my daughter is very involved in ASL classes in high school, which she loves, & several of her teachers mentioned she might consider expanding this into a profession after high school and college. Last year, a bus of students from a local school for the deaf came to meet her and her class. Being very nervous, her first question signing was “So what kind of music do you like listening to?”

Needless to say, everyone cracked up laughing. After her initial embarrassment, they had a wonderful time.


You would be entitled to have a 'terp there to interpret the Mass for you. Perhaps, if he is unwilling to work with you, pushing for a 'terp would cause him to compromise and preach from a place where you can easily read his lips.


You definitely have a fair and reasonable request Holly. I would definitely talk to the priest about this.

As a side note, the Church I attend offers sign language interpretation at the 10:30 Mass each Sunday. The Church has three sections of pews and the first four sections are reserved for the hard of hearing and hearing impaired. The pews are filled every Sunday. It is nice because the interpeter signs all parts of the Mass (including the songs), so parishoners can sign the words to the songs.

Since you can read lips I know you don`t need interpretation. But if there is interest, you might see if an interpreter could sign at Mass from time to time. It is very nice to see the whole Church particpate together.

I live in Japan, where it is very rare to see “accomodations” for people with disabilities provided. I know many deaf people do not consider themselves disabled so I don`t mean to label anyone as such. But it was a pleasant surprise to see sign language interpretation provided at Mass.

Please speak to your priest about this. I am sure it is also harder for folks who are hard of hearing to to understand the priest as well.




the priest probably has no idea there are persons in the congregation who definitely need this accommodation, so it would be an act of charity to inform him respectfully and ask where he would like you to sit so you and others can have he benefit of his homily. hopefully his is just another case of carelessness and thoughtlessness about the needs of the entire congregation and you will help remind him of his duty to speak to all, not just some members. When you wear a hearing aid, having the speaker move about like this can be extremely annoying and even painful.


Since my thread on this subject was ousted, I have to know for sure: is the priest or deacon when giving the homily allowed to stand with the people and give it there whilst moving about?

Are there specifics in the GIRM or other liturgical authorities? Any and all help is appreciated.

In Pax Christi


I cannot lip read,I do wear a hearing aid.I don’t have the problem of a priest wandering about,but i have had a former priest starting the Nicene Creed and then whispering the rest to himself.Very frustrating,because it is the one prayer in the Mass that i don’t know off by heart.He didn’t realize that the Loop System might as well not exist if he is going to whisper.That was the only prayer he was guilty of whispering,thank goodness.
I would have said something to him if the opportune moment had come up before he was appointed Parish Priest in another parish.
I think this Loop System is a wonderful thing.I look back and wonder how i managed to survive in the days before Loop Systems.I didn’t have a problem with the Common of the Mass in times past.It was just that the Readings were different everyday.It wasn’t always convenient to carry my Missal into work.In any case,it would have taken me too long to find the appropriate page,so i ended up not hearing the Readings properly.
Perhaps dropping a note in the priest’s letterbox explaining the situation would be easier.


many churches have amplification systems available for the hard of hearing, especially those who have adopted the system of proclaiming the readings, without providing missalettes. It think it is called TTY? but you may have to ask an usher.


As I understand it, in the Novus Ordo priests are allowed to leave the sanctuary during the homily. This, of course, is not true about the Tridentine Mass.


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