Rosary before Mass truncated

A few people in our parish pray the rosary before Sunday mass. I have been joining them for months. The size of the group varies from six to several dozen from week to week. Yesterday, the woman who usually leads the rosary was unable to be there, so one of the ladies asked me to lead the rosary. As we were getting to the final Glory Be and the Hail Holy Queen, one of the the lectors entered, went to the pulpit and just started reading the pre-mass announcements and the pages for the day’s readings and asking who was a visitor. This was done with a microphone, so there was no possibility to continue reciting the rosary to the end. I completed it silently.

There was at least one or two minutes after his announcements before the bell rang and mass was started. This is the second time this has happened that I am aware of, although I don’t know if it was the same lector. The last time was a few weeks ago when an elderly lady was leading and it left her upset and practically in tears. It would have taken a maximum of 30 seconds for us to finish the two prayers. A quick assessment by the lector would have determined that the mass would not be late in starting by allowing us (probably a dozen parishoners) to finish. I had to remind myself that I had just been to confession, but I had to gulp down my irritation…

Since we have a very small church and the narthex opens onto it with 6 doors, it is often very noisy with people socializing pre-mass. Often people are coming into the church, where people are obviously involved in reverent prayer, and shouting out a hearty greeting or worse. Mass often enough starts late, and much noise is made getting the faithful into the church as if it were the second half of a broadway show or something. I’m much less calm about this now than I was yesterday. Your thoughts or comments please.

I’m sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience.

I think first you must separate your concerns. The first two paragraphs of your post relate to one thing, and the last paragraph relates to something entirely separate. I would advise against tackling them both at the same time, UNLESS there is a separate chapel at your church. If there is, you could say the rosary there and just all go back to the church when you are done. That would solve both problems.

Otherwise, the problem with the lector is probably going to be the easiest to solve. First I would suggest going to that lector (after Mass) and just asking him not to do it again. Point out that there was an extra 30 seconds available before Mass and waiting would have been helpful. This is definitely a case where you want to go with honey rather than vinegar, because the lector was probably told to go read the announcements at a certain time so he wsa just following instructions.

Second, I would suggest starting the Rosary 5 minutes earlier, so it isn’t an issue again except if something unexpectedly delays you. Then you can have a few minutes to pray quietly afterwards, too.

The only thing that is going to solve the other problem (people behaving as if the Church is a social hall) is if the pastor makes it a subject of homilies. He may or may not think that it would be a good thing to do, but if you don’t ask him, you won’t know. If he doesn’t want to do anything about it (perhaps for fear that some people won’t come at all if it is too quiet), then there isn’t anything more you can really do about it, except accept it as a cross and perhaps offer it up for the souls in purgatory or in reparation for dishonor shown the Blessed Mother or something.

I hope some of this helps. Best wishes!


For the rosary I would suggest to start a little earlier. The readers, as anybody else, follow the directions of the priest. Priests are very sensitive to start Mass at the exact time. The rosary is a private devotion, and at that point in time it takes a lower priority.

I still do not like how things went, and I think that you should talk to the pastor on how to avoid this kind of interruption. The problem should be described as the inability to complete the rosary instead of getting on the readers case. Your goal should be the one of having a complete and reverent rosary.

In relation to the noise my suggestion is to pray for those people, and bring up the topic with the pastor. However, there is a limit on what he can do in this situation.

I have witnessed similar interuptions of the rosary in our parish, too. The rosary is on the schedule to be prayed at certain times. A young lady had gotten permission to practice playing a musical instrument that was in the choir loft. One Saturday afternoon she began practicing while the rosary was being prayed. The following week, I was the sacristan, and Father gave me instructions to tell +++++ not to practice while the rosary was being prayed. And several years ago I happened to be in church one evening and joined in praying the scheduled rosary at 7:00PM. During the last decade, people were arriving for the 7:30 choir practice and a trupet player began “tooting his horn” before their scheduled time. It was very disruptive for those praying the rosary. They may not have heard us down below, I don’t know. There were a few other instances as well. Sometimes people need to be told to wait for the rosary to finish before beginning with whatever they need to do. I would bring this up to your pastor. It could be as some have mentioned that you may need to begin the rosary a little earlier. But it also could mean that some need to be reminded to wait for the rosary to finish before they begin with what they need to do.

I agree that the obvious solution is to start the Rosary earlier.

We had the same situation in our church with it running late, and the priest just walking on to the sanctuary while it was still going on once, which really brought matters to a head.

There was the additional factor that some people complained about not having quiet before Mass to prepare themselves and collect their thoughts .Thereafter it was scheduled so that it finishes at least ten minutes before Mass starts.

As another poster has already said, the Rosary is a private devotion and doesn’t appeal to everyone. It shouldn’t be forced on anyone.

The solution may not be as obvious as you seem to think. Concerning the ten minutes prior to Mass being a time for private prayer, it seems that in the case of the OP, that time is reserved for making* pre-mass announcements and the pages for the day’s readings and asking who was a visitor.*

Then surely the Rosary should be pulled back even further. People are entitled to have some time for private prayer. (But the announcements mention wouldn’t take up ten minutes, would they?)

A devotion like the Rosary should be completed with a good 10 or 15 minutes between it and the Mass. If Mass starts at 10:30 the Rosary should be completed by 10:15 and in my opinion should not be started any sooner than 10 or 15 minutes after Mass ends.

I agree with Br. Rich. I like to pray the rosary before Mass too but I make sure I leave a 10-15 minute cushion between the time I finish and the time Mass starts. Not only do I not feel rushed, but some courtesy should be shown to the people arriving for Mass i.e. not interrupt their personal prayers.

I understand the OP’s frustration with being interrupted, but I also understand why she was interrupted.

If you are unable to complete the rosary on time, simply say it after mass.
Otherwise start on time.

I agree that rosary should be started earlier so that people can have maybe 15 min. before to prepare themselves for Mass, the sacristan’s can light candles on the altar, and any preparations for the Mass can be made. At one parish I know it works out real well to start the rosary at 9:40 for the 10AM Mass. The rosary is ended around 9:45, if it runs over a little, no problem. The Pastor insisted on the 9:40 time. It seems to work.

I think the best answer would be to begin the pre-Mass rosary earlier. That will allow you time to finish before Mass and before other folks come in. If Mass continually start late, the pastor may have asked the lectors to start the announcements a bit earlier to get everyone settled down before he rings the bell. Our parish says the rosary after daily Masses but not on Sundays because, as you’ve found, it is too busy (even if people aren’t shouting out greetings) to conduct the prayers in enough reverence.

Edited to add: Especially if the rosary is not an official parish rosary, but one started informally by a group, than you need to be extra-sensitive that it is you that needs to adjust schedules, not the lector.

We pray the Rosary every week day in my church, and we start it a full 45 mins before Mass, so that there is adequate time for private prayer.

Sometimes there is interruption, such as when the choir need to go over some things on the days we have a sung Mass - they all have full time jobs or are at school and that’s probably the only time they have to practice - so we have to either bunch closer together or continue silently, but these interruptions should be accepted with humility and good grace.

That is an especially good point.

It usually takes no less than 15 minutes to pray a 5 decade rosary in our parish. They begin the rosary 30 minutes before Mass at our parish.

I think it is best to talk to the pastor about any problems and seek his advice.

I lead the Rosary most days at daily Mass at our parish. We start exactly 30 minutes prior to Mass, and it takes almost exactly 20 minutes to pray the entire Rosary. Time your Rosary–if you sing Ave Maria and add lengthy intentions and say a longer narration of the mystery, divine blessings, etc., the Rosary will take longer, maybe up to 30 minutes. I think you should begin it so that it’s done by 10 minutes max before Mass, maybe 15 before Sunday Mass. We also have a couple of folks who are ready to step in and lead, starting on time, if the normal leader isn’t there.

Ever thought about asking the chatters and talkers to join you in prayer? We usually have all the early arrivals praying the last decade and closing prayers with us. Granted, the daily Mass crowd is a different set of folks.:stuck_out_tongue:

I always wanted to start a thread on this but decided not to. :shrug:

At my church there is a group of ladies that will pray the Rosary out loud. I find this very distracting as I am trying to get ready for Mass while also having my conversation with God and saying prayers for friends, family. We only have one Mass time on Sunday as this is a very small town and only one Church so going to another Mass time is out of the question. I thought I would find relief by going to morning Mass but there they were reciting the Rosary.

Finally our old Priest left to retire in Ireland and a new Priest came. They now say the Rosary quietly in their pews.

I love the Rosary as much as the next but it was terribly distracting to me as I was catching myself talking to God and in the middle of the sentence saying part of a Hail Mary. :o Very confusing and difficult, at least for me, to get a good conversation going.

So, maybe coming earlier to Church to say the Rosary out loud is a good idea and then you also will not be distracted by loud voices entering the Church.

All documents I’ve read indicate that the time before mass is reserved for silent prayer. People shouldnt be talking, the music group shouldnt warm up any more than what is neccessary and shouldnt be loud, and loud group prayer is perhaps not part of the wisdom of ‘silent prayer’.

As I’ve said I’ve read the documents on this and I endure countless interuptions for my goal of coming to mass early and reciting the rosary in silence. Sometimes I and/or others are there early because of problems, difficult emotions, etc and the need for prayer and it seems most other people, priests included, dont share the same stated goal as what the church has laid out. One parish I go to has the pastor 20 minutes before the start of Mass glad handing all the parishioners he can find in the pews. Nice but distracting and of course loud and it encourages other present groups of people to loud chatter also.

In our parish, the Rosary is scheduled for 3:30 pm on Saturday before the 4pm Mass. It is led from the ambo, as it is not a private group doing it, but is a parish function. (This is the most heavily attended Mass). It is finished by 3:50pm, in plenty of time for private prayer. A large number of people show up for this Rosary, plus Confessions end at 3:30, so people go to Confession and stay for the Rosary and Mass.

The daily Rosary is said after the 8:30 am Mass, and the ladies that lead it tack on so many petitions and prayers after it that it can take considerably longer than 1/2 hour. One lady pulls out a little notebook literally stuffed with prayers to various saints, and they say them all! But they enjoy it, and plenty of prayers ascend to heaven from this group.

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