The church I go to does this during the family Mass and I really don’t like doing it…It’s not the priest doing it but the family mass coordinator…I was going to tell the preist but I don’t want to be a complainer…This is not part of the mass…I go to church to be with Jesus, not to be with the community…
We did this at my parish for a while. At the beginning it was after the entrance procession and I complained long and bitterly about that. It also wasn’t consistent, one priest did it, the other didn’t. Finally, they moved it to before the Entrance Procession and finally dropped it altogether.
I always found it very annoying that it would turn into a “Sign of Peace” moment: Normally when you meet your next door neighbour and greet him/her you don’t shake hands yet here we were acting like strangers rather than friends by a formal handshake before Mass. Not to mention that we’d usually greet the people around us as we slipped into our pew and that fact was being ignored.
Actually it shouldn’t be happening at all. The time prior to Mass is supposed to be a time of reflection and a time to prepare oneself to enter into the celebration of the Eucharist.
People who feel they need to greet others should do it outside, before coming into the church. I find that there are so many Catholics today that are disrespectful of Christ and others who are trying to get themselves in a holy state of mind for Mass. They should keep their conversations to a minimum and preferable outside.
I like this idea if it replaces the Sign of Peace. I think the Sign of Peace would be much more appropriate before Mass officially starts. However if it is in addition to the Sign of Peace I think it’s silly, though not really offensive.
It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. People could be putting themselves into the right frame of mind during the time before the greeting, surely? Would acting in a friendly and welcoming manner to those around them wipe out those holy feelings? Surely not. If it does, I would question those holy feelings.
I don’t think the alternative you propose, of people standing around outside to greet others, is going to work, somehow, if only because that would result in a disruption when they all came into church at the last minute. It’s bad enough (at our church, at least) fighting one’s way out of church at the END of Mass, with having to run the gauntlet of the SVP collecting money, the Parents Assoc selling tickets for one thing, the Third World Group selling tickets for something else, people queing up to have a word with the priest and not moving away from the door…
We don’t do this in either of the parishes where I attend Mass, but there are others in town where this is the norm. At the parish where I sing, the priest signals the cantor he’s ready to start and the cantor says welcome to Holy Redeemer, and extends a special welcome to visitor and those who are new to the parish. Then he announces the first song, and says please rise.
They gets kind of nuts at the sign of peace though. Every member of the choir seems to think he or she needs to hug me. They’re running all over the choir stand, but fortunatley, it’s a very small choir of 7 or 8 most Sundays. Still, it drives me nuts. When I mentioned it as being too much, they gave me the “crazy old lady” look I get when I want to sing something in Latin.
I think Sancto means to say “In my opinion, it should not be happening.” I fully agree that the greeting before mass thing isn’t necessary and it distracts me. If it were happening at my parish I would certainly talk to the priest and tell him why it is distracting me. He, however would have every right to keep the practice because it is not covered in the GIRM or any liturgical book or publication that I know of. Therefore, others are right to say that is is allowed.
We do that at our parish.Before Mass I’m trying to become recollected/praying. It bothers a little , but I can see the pastoral thinking behind it (in a number of ways). It’s not an actual abuse and if it gets people there to pay better attention during Mass…:shrug:
Individual “Pre-Mass praying time” is important – but it ends when the cantor or lector asks that cell phones be turned off, and “please stand and greet your neighbor.” The greeting takes 15 seconds at most before the choir begins the singing and the procession begins – and few people use words, they’re usually nods of the head, slight bows, or handshakes.