Mass traditions in other cities


A few weeks ago, my wife and I drove to Ponca City, OK to visit our daughter and our two grandsons while her husband was away for two weeks working on the natural gas rigs. On Sunday, my wife and daughter, who are Anglican (were raised Baptist) went to an Episcopal church and I went to the Catholic Church of St. Mary in Ponca City.

All was as I’m used to doing up until the priest had processed out of the church as we finished singing. When the last note had ended, I placed the hymnal in the rack on the back of the pew in front of me and stepped out into the aisle to genuflect and leave. Much to my chagrin, EVERYONE else in the packed church knelt back down and there was COMPLETE silence as I stood ALONE in the aisle, facing the back of the church (and I had sat about 2/3 of the way toward the front). I looked around for the Southwest Airlines logo and the little sign that said “Want to get away?” Not finding it, I meekly stepped back into the pew and knelt down. I don’t know what everyone else was praying for at that moment, but I was praying to wake up from this bad dream.

After a few moments, upon some unknown-to-me sign, everyone stood up and SILENTLY left the church. No one acknowledged my gaffe, for which I am grateful. I have since learned that it is the custom in some churches to kneel for a moment at the end of Mass in thanksgiving for being in Christ’s presence. I wish it were so at my home Parish. It is a nice custom.



Our former pastor in our former church, instituted a similar practice, but everyone knelt as he passed them on his way to the back off the church, it was as if they were kneeling for him.

I really disliked that.

BTW, your post put a smile on my face. :slight_smile:


I love my own parish, but I love visiting other parishes, either for weekday Masses, or when I travel out of town. It can give you such great new perspectives; you can appreciate what is going on inside your own parish, or perhaps learn something from another parish. I visit St. Louis often, and I’d love to visit some other parishes there, but I’m addicted to the Cathedral, and can’t get away from going there.

I live in/near two dioceses, and it’s interesting how the prayers are said/phrased differently. The ‘Holy Holy Holy’ has different pausing points! In my parents’ parish across the state, they say the prayers a lot faster than we do, and it seems that way throughout their diocese.


I have never seen that done and would also appreciate such a thing being done in my Church. What a great way to end Mass.



One church I frequent quite a bit always prays the prayer of st Michael after Mass. I believe this used to be customary prior to V2.


Very interesting especially since there was no prayer then or anything. I would understand if someone prayed a prayer of St. Michael the Archangel or the rosary after but just pure silence . Wow. I’m really curious by this.

God bless!


I note on EWTN daily Mass they always pray the St Michael prayer after the Mass and a prayer for vocations.


Here’s a similar story:

I was visiting a parish that I had been to a couple of times. The priest at that time, was very “old-school”, and if someone in the parish had died the previous week, would lead a prayer before the start of Mass. He would go up and say, “It is the custom in this parish to pray for a member of our parish who has died. Let us pray for …” At that point, I could hear everyone make a shuffling sound, and so I stood up as well (I was in the front row of the balcony). We went through the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and then the Requiem prayer, and then I realized that everyone was kneeling, while I was standing. Argh!! Somehow I missed that - - at least the people on the main floor didn’t see me!


A church I frequent often is about two hours away from me, and is on the coast. As customary during the season, they say the hurricane prayer before mass. And, after every mass, they say what is called the Leonine Prayer. It is 3 Hail Mary’s, 1 Hail Holy Queen, with a slightly different ending, prayer to St. Michael, and then “Most Sacred Heart of Jesus” (3x) each followed by “Have mercy on us”
It is very beautiful, and I love it! However, in all my travels, the only place which I have encountered it is the SC Coastline….:shrug:


What I find as very different when I attend my OF parish (very traditional) and the Ordinariate parish is that in my OF parish only one or two verses are sung of the hymns during Mass and the recessional and many people leave as soon as the priest is out of the church, although there are some that start the St. Michaels prayer and some that stay and kneel in silence.

In the Ordinariate parish it is part of the Anglican tradition to sing all verses of each hymn and after the last blessing the Last Gospel is said and we sing the Angelus, then kneel for silent prayer after the recessional. At this time they are meeting in a Catholic school room until we grow too large and must move and when in a regular church no one left until after the altar candles were put out. To be honest I do miss singing more verses, especially of my favorite hymns at my OF parish.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary



Oh, at one of the parishes I attend says the Divine Mercy after every Mass as well. Sooooo sooo awesome.


It is a pious practice to say prayers of thanksgiving after Mass. This is not the custom everywhere in that area, and is probably something a priest reintroduced in recent years. The people know it has fallen out of practice in most places, and hasn’t really been restored. They probably noticed that you started to leave immediately and a cranky one might have been irritated, but I’m sure they appreciated it when you stopped to go along with the custom.


As much as I am in accord with most of the sentiments expressed above, particularly the restoration of the common prayer to St. Michael, it would be disingenuous to not point out that there is nothing, not a word in the GIRM that mandates a single soul to remain in the church after “Deo gratias/Thanks be to God…” is responded. This point has tried to be oversold by most liturgists when they expound upon the notion of “missio” or the “go forth…” That sentiment by progressive liturgists presumes a great deal about both a celebrant’s individual sentiments and proclivities as the alter Christus and the faithfuls’ understanding of their role in the scheme of the Great Commission.

But, common courtesy should demand that, at the least, they remain fixed until the cruciferand then the celebrant has passed their pew before exiting.
Musically an organ postlude facilitates this better than a hymn, and keeps the yakking down.

What is difficult about this particular experience is there is no way in the OF or EF to formally indoctrinate visitors about local customs two minutes before Mass begins.
Advice: keep yer eyes and ears open.


I used to regularly visit a church that sang the Gospel Acclamation before *and after *the reading of the Gospel.

Pretty much every time we would visit, my son would whisper to me, “Don’t sit down.” :o Otherwise, I would sit, ready for the Homily. :shrug:


HI Boswell,

I have found myself in embarrassing situations like you, too.

So what I started doing was sitting towards the back of the church when visiting a different parish. That way, you can see what everyone else is doing and respond accordingly, if you aren’t familiar with how things might be done there.


At the abbey I’m associated with, everyone waits until the last monk has processed out of the choir/sanctuary, while the organist (except during Advent and Lent) plays a recessional piece. Most stick around until he’s finished (usually about 5 min. after the monks have left), some leave immediately.

Kneeling as the priest passes seems just weird to me, as if we’re worshiping the priest :confused:

We do kneel as the priest passes if he’s carrying the blessed sacrament, such as at first Friday benediction.


I’m guessing that the members of the parish were saying a few prayers of thanksgiving for the liturgy just celebrated. That’s what we do at our EF low Mass. Some stay and pray longer but almost all stay for at least a short period. :slight_smile: :thumbsup:


I agree. What are they kneeling to?


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit