Opinions on talking before and after Mass?


Hello. :slight_smile: Before Mass, there are many people talking in my parish. There are people who are whispering amongst themselves, and there are those that continue to talk loudly after they enter the church. After Mass, the parish sounds like a parish hall or a gymnasium.

Has anyone had problems with this? Isn’t sacred silence supposed to be observed? :shrug:


My parish has the same problem but it seems to depend on which Mass I attend.
The Saturday evening’s Mass is the worst. Sometimes the noise is overwhelming like a market. Some laugh so loud as if in a party. The Sunday morning Masses are OK, I can pray quietly before Mass.

People tend to forget the house of God is a place to worship, not a place to socialize. We should be silent and praying in front of the tabernacle. People need to be reminded and educated.


I see it as poor etiquette, not sacrilegious in any way. I would say the same of someone who was praying out loud.


We have the added challenge here that before the Sunday Masses the musicians do their rehearsing right up to the start of Mass. People talk and socialize, and some of the older folks, maybe hard of hearing, talk especially loud. Maybe they are lonely and it is the only socializing they do all week, I don’t know. The focus does seem to be all horizontal and very little vertical, as the saying goes. As I said, I find it a challenge, but I still try to tune out the noise and prepare for Mass in silent prayer. It can be done.


It used to happen here. When it creeps back in, Father comes out before Mass and tells everyone to be quiet. :smiley:

Not so much of a problem after Mass. But we have coffee and snacks after every Mass so I think most people instinctively wait until they clear the door to start chatting.


Honestly, I heard from one of my professors (it was from one of my professors in my undergrad, but I can’t remember what class) that in the Middle Ages, people talked in church all the time - they pretty much treated God’s house like their own house. I don’t know how much of that is true, of course, but I do know that people have been talking in church for a very long time.


According to the General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM):

“Even before the celebration itself, it is commendable that silence be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred action in a devout and fitting manner” (45)."


Inside the actual church, if talking must be done it should be kept to a whisper. Otherwise there are people who wish to pray before and after mass so it’s just etiquette to keep church as a place of silence. Kind of like a library, it should be taken outside if someone wishes to chit chat… manners :slight_smile:

At my old parish, prior to mass it used to be quite insane inside the church. Kids carrying on, running around, even through the mass itself… But as I think I’ve said on another thread, this parish always felt like a hall rather than a church. After mass many parishioners would socialize over coffee in the foyer after mass which is fine, the actual church was left in silence.

The parish I go to now is quiet before mass and afterwards people go right outside to talk. This church has a place to light candles and there’s constantly people going up, lighting candles and kneeling nearby in silent prayer so I think most people are aware and respectful of this.


At the Catholic Church I attended over the summer, it was almost dead silent on Saturday nights, minus the occasional cough(s) or sneeze. In fact, my Priest did much of the talking before the Mass began! But, he is the friendly, talkative type, so it’s to be expected. :smiley: After the Mass, it was quite loud, mostly because everyone started talking at the exact same time as they were walking out the door, yet when you’d get outside, all you could hear was the breeze, and cars pulling out of the parking lot. Sunday mornings were the same Father-wise :wink: , but the early Mass was relatively silent both before and after. The 10:30 Mass was somewhat loud all throughout the Mass, as that is when many of the parishioners brought their young children, but it didn’t bother me.

At one of my old Orthodox Church’s, I can’t even begin to explain the talking. My parents always forced my sister and I to sit in the very back. I was 10 at the time, so as you can imagine, I wanted to sit up near the front so I could see what was happening. These two older ladies, who were quite hateful, talked in Greek all throughout the service, which lasted anywhere from 2-4 hours. The only time they didn’t talk? When the Priest came around the back with the incense. So, as you can imagine, I am quite used to people talking in Church, so when it doesn’t happen, I kinda just look around to make sure everyone’s still breathing. :stuck_out_tongue:


I look at this whole idea a of the church being silent before & after Mass a little differently than most. While I would love silence, and sometimes have trouble tuning out what is going on around me, I have come to realize that, for some people, especially the elderly, coming to church on Sunday is the only time they get to “socialize”.

With that said, I realize that this is not what Mass is about, but there is a “community” aspect. Older people, especially those who are retired, frail, widowed or are care-givers to an ill spouse or family member are often isolated from friends and for those who live alone, some may not interact with others all week, until they come to Mass on Sunday.

Think about how sad this really is. :frowning:
People need to interact with others. We need to feel connected. For some, Mass is the only place this happens for them.

I am not saying this is always the case, and I have been to parishes where the atmosphere before & after Mass is anything but reverent, but they have been far & few between.

Just something to think about.



My :twocents: …

Yes, this bothers me.

Someone with a very loud and clear voice started saying the Rosary before the Saturday evening vigil Mass at the church I go to. This has been an immense help in addressing the talking and irreverence. Also, the musician plays (organ music) sacred hymns at a strong decibel level before Mass, but doesn’t while we say the Rosary.

After Mass, well, we need to work on our reverent silence, even though then there’s jubilant organ music.

I sure wish we’d all say the St. Michael prayer right after Mass.


St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


To me this is a problem as I would rather have silence before and after the mass to enter into an atmosphere of reverence and worship. After the mass I would like to stay a few minutes in silence and to say a prayer of thanksgiving. What I often noticed was that right after the dismissal, people were hurrying to leave the church and making noise without consideration for those who want to still have a brief quiet moment.


We have a terrible problem with loud talking before and after Masses plus the musicians tuning up before Mass at my parish.

I sent an email to my pastor explaining the problem (priests traditionally show-up just before Mass begins and often don’t notice such matters) I said I think that some just want to visit but that it had turned the church into a carnival atmosphere making it difficult to prepare for Mass.

I offered to open-up either the parish hall, the teen hall or large meeting room an hour before the Mass I attend and that I would brew-up an urn of coffee that I paid for if he would please direct people to go to one of the halls if they wanted to talk or tune-up before Mass. I said I would even hang-out for security reasons.

He ignored the email. That bothered me a great deal. I sent it twice more. All three times he ignored it. Then he sent me an email asking for a big favor. I sent the email one last time in response. That was the last I heard of it.

I honestly don’t think some pastors want to make the effort to deal with such problems in their parish. They just want to “get by.” It’s a courage/work ethic matter. That sort of attitude has taken a grave toll on the faithful.


At my parish before mass the rosary is generally said by most of the people already there. Benediction comes after mass so there is never talking then, at least not in the nave of the church. For me mass has a deep spiritual meaning and is not a social gathering.


It is likely that the musicians have no choice. Unless there is a practice room, and unless that practice room is unlocked, the musicians have no other practice option.

What would you have us to do? Most musicians are not willing to just get up and sing/play without some kind of a run-through, especially if you don’t know your accompanist or haven’t worked with them before.

Those who say that the musicians should come during the week to practice are obviously not musicians. Or real people with regular United States lives and families. :rolleyes:

Even if the schedules of the musicians allowed rehearsal during the week, it’s difficult to schedule with the parish office, as often there are funerals, meetings, Masses, cleaning crews, etc., and more often than not, the church building and nave are locked up, especially during the evening hours when musicians are off work and actually available to practice. Believe me, I know all this from personal experience, and I’ve been frustrated by it all, but it’s not my call. The nave is not there to be a rehearsal room.

Do you think we like rehearsing in front of worshipers and in the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament right before a Mass?! Do you think we do this out of some perverse desire to make a lot of noise and disrupt the prayers and contemplation of the people?! Do you think we gloat over our “power” to be obnoxious to those who are sitting in the pew trying to prepare themselves for the Mass?!!

Actually, most of us musicians HATE practicing in front of people and we harbor resentment that our parishes don’t have practice rooms that are available to us!! We wonder what kind of dunderhead designed the building to be without any place for musicians to practice, especially if the building was designed after Vatican II when the Mass music did a total change.

Please keep this in mind–we musicians are working at Mass to bring honor and glory to God and to help lead the people in participating in the liturgical music. We are NOT working at Mass because we are prima donas who secretly desire to be rock stars, lounge singers/players, movie stars, celebrities, to be applauded, to be admired, to gain fans, etc. And we certainly don’t do it for the big bucks.

It is very hard for us to play/sing when we know that people are out there thinking bad thoughts about us. We can feel that, you know. I’m not kidding–we can feel hostility toward us. It’s like a wall.

So please be charitable to your musicians. And be assured that when they are practicing, yes, YES, YES! it IS vertical. We are practicing and performing to the GLORY of GOD, and that’s vertical, not horizontal.

Think about it this way–would you rather the musicians practice for a few minutes before the Mass? Or would you rather they totally gum up the music and make an utter mess of it DURING the Mass?


I am a ‘worship leader’ for our praise and worship session during our gatherings (not the mass). Our gatherings are on Sunday afternoons. We have our practice with the worship team on Friday night. It is quite a commitment to come for practice but they, the musicians and singers, managed to come most of the time. We feel practice is absolutely necessary and make time for it accordingly. It is not just so that the music and songs would be well sung but also a time for getting together and for prayers before the actual performance.

My heart is with you and I surely can understand your dilemma. For parishioners who want quiet before and after the mass, music practice during those times and so are the rosaries, are something that they have to tolerate. My group which has a worship team (the music ministry) do sing for the mass, mostly for the Saturday sunset mass. If they are on duty, they would have their practice on other night during the weekday, not in the cathedral but in one of the meeting rooms in the parish centre. We have a big parish centre with many meeting rooms, so venue is not a problem.


I actually do see both sides of the issue, since I also have some (very little) musical training in my background, and even accompanied the youth choir many years ago (yes, it was a folk Mass, and yes, I played guitar, and hopefully God has forgiven me by now :wink: ). I tried to express my observation of our parish’s pre-Mass busyness in a way that would not be too inflammatory, but it seems like I hit a nerve all the same. I understand the plight of the musicians and the effort they make, and I know that ours is neither a perfect world nor parish.

Permit me to express another complaint now, not aimed at you, but my own troubling issue. It would be dishonest of me if I did not disclose that at this stage in my life, I would very often prefer that there was no music at Mass at all. I know that my grumpy, personal, selfish inclination is out of step with the General Instructions for the Mass and the teachings of the Church, and so I do make an honest effort to smile and join in song (I know, “Hooray for me,” came the justifiably sarcastic response :rolleyes: ). No doubt, it is entirely possible that our generous, enthusiastic song leaders do sometimes pick up on my disapproving vibe, and sense my feelings of negativity, and for that I would like to apologize to you as well. It is surely wrong for me to feel this way, but the way our parish is set up, with the musicians in front at the side of the altar, I sometimes wonder who is really “presiding” at Mass, the priest or the song leaders. This is my problem, not yours, and I really do appreciate your service to the Church. You are actively contributing, and giving of your time and talent, while I sit back feigning a spirit of community and interiorly grumbling. What’s wrong with me? :frowning:


This is a pretty good idea. At my parish the rosary is publicly recited 20 minutes before all weekend Masses, and people join in with the rosary as they arrive.

After Mass, after the final hymn, everyone kneels down again for an after Mass publicly recited prayer. And after that, the organist plays some more, which tends to inhibit conversation within church.

Socializing is fine. That’s why we have a big vestibule where people can gather to talk before entering the church proper, or after leaving Mass. Also, the Catholic youth provide coffee and rolls for those who like to socialize after Mass for several hours on Sundays.

Within the church itself, silence is golden.


Resurrecting an old post to vent my similar frustrations…

A former priest of my parish said during a homily…and I quote, “We gather at Mass to be part of a community. Here is where we interact with one another. If you want quiet then there’s the Adoration Chapel [points to the chapel at the rear of the nave].”
I was shocked at that comment. :eek:

Fortunately we have a better priest who often puts Gregorian Chant music on at a soft tone before Mass in the hopes to create an atmosphere where parishioners will be conscious of remaining quiet. It works on weekdays where there are 40 or so daily attendees, but Sundays…still noisy.

I mean, what do people need to be talking about? Why do folks need to socialize? Can’t they do that before or after Mass? How disturbing is it to enter and kneel before our Lord as we prepare for Mass, only to have someone inches away talking about their day at the beach yesterday or about the closets their husbands built, or what they bought at the Mall that week.

People truly don’t have a clue. Why don’t priests say something or at least put something in the bulletin? Aren’t they our spiritual fathers??? I wonder if they think being “strict” will affect the amount of presidents placed in the baskets. :shrug:


If people want to visit with each other before Mass, then they should do it OUTSIDE OF THE CHURCH. There is usually a parish hall or gathering area near by the church that can be used for that purpose. When I am trying to pray, the last thing I need is the distraction of a group of early arrivals discussing their latest cruise or grandchild’s birthday party. This started in the 70’s when the new church designs took the tabernacle off the main alter and hid it somewhere else. Before that no spoke in church out of respect for the Real Presence.

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