Parish practice - thoughts please!


For several years in my parish something has been added that really bothers me and I’d like your thoughts:

Before the Sunday Masses (not weekday Mass), someone steps up to the microphone and makes a few announcements. Then she says, “Now please stand and greet those around you.” So everyone obligingly stands, mumbles “hi” etc. and as we’re all standing, the Processional begins.

This little innovation is not technically within the formal Mass itself, so I suppose the Liturgy Committee is within their right to add it. It is an attempt to make the parish more “friendly” but I think Catholics, who aren’t used to this sort of thing, really don’t like it but of course go along.

Seems that there is too much hand-shaking, hugging, grinning, etc. already WITHIN the Mass. Don’t mean to sound Scroogy, but everyone greeting and giggling before Mass makes it all seem like a social club.

I would like to go to the Liturgy Committee with my suggestion we drop the in-pew meet and greet, but would like to know the thoughts of other faithful Catholics on this one. Is this done at your parish? Have you ever experienced this at any parish? Would you like this if your parish adopted it?

Thanks and God bless!


I have never seen this done. It doesn’t make much sense to me because - people being creatures of habit - everyone usually sits in the same pew or “section” and already knows those who sit around them. However, I know it does occur in other areas.

Perhaps you can suggest an after Mass coffee-hour once a month or so to make up for the missing greeting time.


We do this in my parish as well. I honestly could care less either way. I don’t think that it really adds anything to the Mass, but I don’t think it is a problem either.

Since it is before Mass begins, I do not think there are any rules against it, so while you would be within your rights to suggest changes or describe your feelings to the liturgy committee or your pastor, I don’t think you really have grounds to demand a change.

My honest opinion with it in my parish is - whatever, I have much bigger things to worry about.


Our Parish does this. It doesn’t bother me, but I would be fine if we didn’t do it. However, Catholic Churches have often gotten a bad rap for being unfriendly and people have left for Protestant churches because of it. I think that for some people, this Mass addition helps keep them from jumping ship.


Our parish also does this. The strange thing is that because people tend to sit in the same places every week, they end up greeting those they already know, which defeats the stated purpose of “building community.”


Our parish does not do this. But like you said, our parish was one of those Catholic Churches that had gotten a little bad rap for being “not very welcoming”. I have no idea of why some felt this way because I have always felt that our parish was welcoming and has some of the friendliest people as parishioners. But In recent years, our parish has gotten together a “welcoming committee” and members greet people as we enter the Church and opening the door for us and occassionally handing us handouts. That took a bit of getting used to for me because I didn’t feel it was necessary, but I’ve gotten used to it.


There is one priest in my parish who likes to do this - but only rarely. I don’t particularly care for it, but I think it is because we now have a lot of recent immigrants - mainly Filippino - and also people visiting from other parishes whose own churches are out of action after recent earthquakes in my city, and who only have their parish halls for Mass. (Our parish church, thank God, survived intact). So, there are new people coming in all the time, and this “intro” gives a chance for a bit more of a personal greeting than the more formal sign of peace.

But in a stable parish, I don’t see a need for it every Sunday.


My parish has done this for decades. I like it, it adds to the sense of community before the Mass begins.
I would suggest that if one does not like it, don’t participate?


We have had a welcoming ministry for about 10 years and it is a good idea. 3 people are at the back of church and say good morning,hold the doors open etc…


I feel like I should apologize for this. When I was in high school I was very involved with church activiites. I remember a group of us talking to the youth minister about the Mass and one of the things that bugged us is that we were in church almost 45 minutes and for the first time have to turn to our neighbor and shake hands for the sign of peace. Instead of providing catechesis (:rolleyes:) to us, the innovation of greeting one another before Mass was added.

Sorry about that. :blush: Forgive us; we were young, we did not know what we were doing.


this is exactly what happens in my parish. i wish it would go away but i’m pretty sure it’s here to stay. i don’t see the need for it since everyone crowds around outside after Mass doing this very thing. seems to me to be more appropriate outside than in the sanctuary.


Yes, people do chat after Mass, but generally people that know each other. Think about the person who attends Mass alone and is brand new to the parish. They may not just go up to a random group of people after Mass and start talking.


Thankfully no, it doesn’t happen in our Parish, but Father does make announcements before Mass and ask if anyone celebrated a Birthday or Anniversary in the past week and then ask if anyone is visiting. He asks them all to stand and then a lot of people clap for them. :rolleyes:

Every once in a great while, we go to Mass at a different Parish and they do what you, OP, are asking about. Frankly, I don’t know which is worse. :stuck_out_tongue:


We do this at our parish. I don’t have a problem with this even if it does get annoying when I am with friends around me and we say witty things like, so we meet again. :stuck_out_tongue: Or we stare at someone’s back because someone is talking to someone in the row behind them. We have what is known as a friendly parish. We talk before Mass too. Chatting during Mass irritates me.

What to me is real important is the admonition to turn off all cell phones :clapping:before we are told to greet those around us.

We don’t chat before Daily Mass. Usually. But after Daily Mass people talk outside the chapel. We are not asked to greet one another before Mass then.


Yes, this has been done at my parish for the past couple of years but a lot of people seem reluctant to make much of an effort to greet those around them. I have also noticed when I see some one I recognize from church at other public places and smile at them, there is seldom any sign of recognition on their part, even though we have seen each other at mass for years.


Our former priest use to encourage this practice. I wasn’t a fan. But our current priest has never encouraged it, thankfully.


Of course, this isn’t a serious or major problem, but even after several years of this in our parish, it definitely feels forced and awkward. Do you shake hands? Some people actually introduce themselves, some nod. I sometimes shake hands and say, “good to see you,” which it is. But I think people should rather be encouraged to spend the few moments they are in the pew waiting for Mass to begin recollecting, placing themselves in God’s presence, offering the Mass for their intentions, etc. This all would fall under increased catechesis, I suppose.

It’s been interesting to see that many of your parishes have initiated the pre-Mass greeting, too. Do Protestant churches do this? I bet the “high church” Protestants don’t.


My mom’s side is Protestant. They go to a fairly conservative Parish. They don’t do the “now greet those around you thing”, but that is because they already chat with all their neighbors. Protestants aren’t as prone to being reflective before their service because they don’t have a tabernacle with Jesus inside. However, I think we can learn a little from their friendliness and use that lesson in a Catholic appropriate context.



Our Italian church does not do this, but the military parishes tabernacle is off to the side of the chapel in a “Blessed Sacrament Room” and consecrated host are brought out later.

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