Sacred Space


What are the rules for greetings in Church before and after Mass? I once had a guy in our mens group who was upset because he could not prayerfully reflect before mass because of the all the “Hey how have you been?” socializing going on around him. He was going to talk to the Pastor one on one and was asking for our advice. I wish I could have given him some better advice.


We solved it by limiting conversations to the entryway, and strongly discouraged it in the Church proper. Our current Priest, though, is really, really bothered by anyone talking in Church, so he brings out the Monstrance, inserts the Holy Eucharist, and leaves it on the Altar for 20 minutes, which enforces silence within the Church. Not proper procedure, I know, but it sure was effective! (Don’t recommend going this far.) Ask your Pastor if the Bulletin could have a note in it for permanent inclusion that "greetings and casual conversation should be restricted to the Vestibule or entryway, and prayerful silence maintained within the Church prior to Mass). Silence after Mass is difficult, with so many people moving out, and children finally able to move about, but the type of reminder about conversations being outside the Church proper does seem to cut down on the noise.


I know what you mean. Sacred Silence is supposed to be present. There’s talking going on before Mass, and my parish sounds like a gymnasium after Mass.

Note that some pastors don’t enforce Sacred Silence. Mine won’t. If your pastor won’t do anything about it, then try to find another parish, though it may be hard to find a parish where Sacred Silence is observed.

I admire what judynurse’s priest did. However, that always doesn’t work. People will still talk. Even if a monstrance was on the altar, people will still talk and act like the Blessed Sacrament isn’t even up on the altar. I see people walking by the altar all the time, not so much as even acknowledging Our Lord in the tabernacle. :rolleyes:


For some unfathomable reason we now have a “meet and greet” before Mass, in the Sanctuary. Then we are to sit quietly for 30 seconds and reflect…it’s bizarre. If you go into the Sanctuary and pray or just sit quietly reflecting, it’s more of a reverent approach to the Mass. Given that we “pass the peace” about 30 minutes later to the same folks sitting in the area, it’s redundant at best. I find it unsettling.

Anyone have a theory about this? It’s relatively new and I wonder whose idea it was?


I don’t think it was anyone’s “idea”. Just that people are so busy and the world is moving so fast, the only time they see friends from the Parish is at Mass, and they are anxious to pass news and greetings before everyone leaves afterward, which leaves them only prior to Mass to greet each other. Greetings are fine, especially to pass news of a birth or death to friends they haven’t seen for a week or two – but the Entryway or Hallway near the entrance should be the place for this. In warmer weather, outside is even better. During the winter, it would be too difficult for all, especially children and elderly. Encourage the greetings/news near the entranceway. The Sanctuary is for prayer and preparation for the Holy Mass.

What my Priest did is not proper procedure, but he did get everyone to keep greetings out in the Hallway. However, this is not a proper Adoration, and shouldn’t really be used just to shut people up. That is not the purpose of Adoration or the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. A notice in the Bulletin each week, and perhaps a few weeks in the announcements will quiet things down and remind the adults that this isn’t the place for “getting together socially”. And move them outside the Sanctuary prior to and after Mass. If they want a “meet and greet”, a lot of churches I’ve visited have it in adjacent rooms used by the Parish AFTER Mass for hot coffee, hot cocoa (iced tea in summer) and some donuts or cookies donated by ladies of the Parish. Much more practical, and maintains the sanctity of the Sanctuary too.


Good point. :thumbsup: However, we really shouldn’t question a priest’s decision, as they possess something we don’t: Holy Orders. They have the wisdom and knowledge that comes with the sacrament in order to carry out God’s grace properly.


This is really too bad where it is happening.

I have never seen it happen where I have been, usually because confessions happen right before Mass time on Saturday, so parishioners were respectful of that happening, and would be praying themselves.

They would usually greet their neighbors very quietly, and then would pull out a Rosary or a prayer book and use the time before Mass to pray.

Early on Sunday before the first Mass, the Rosary would be prayed out loud, and then at the next Mass the choir would sometimes be going over something that needed some last minute practicing, so there usually wasn’t time for any gathering of the parishioners, except in the vestibule of the church, if someone wanted to talk.


:confused: You got me a little confused here??


I wouldn’t go so far as to say that… Sometimes priests do things they really shouldn’t do and it would be horribly imprudent to simply assume that they know something we don’t and must be doing the right thing. When a priest is unfaithful to the Church, it results in a spiritual infertility that the laity must fight in order to keep their faith and to help their children and grandchildren keep their faith.


About what?


Well, your second piece of advice seems to contradict your first. If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were saying don’t question a priest’s decision UNLESS you disagree with it??


Well, the GIRM actually states that Sacred Silence is to be observed. Allowing people to talk is in disobedience to Rome. Rome is above a mere priest. But you never know, there could be some underlying reason why they won’t enforce it. Maybe allowing people to talk gets more Catholics to Mass. :shrug: You never know, it could be a good reason.

But, what judynurse’s priest did is not contradicted by the GIRM or any other document, so we should respect the priest’s decision, because, as I previously stated, he possesses Holy Orders and we don’t.


Got it: we should respect a priest’s decision because “he has Holy Orders” when we think he’s right but not when we think he’s wrong even though he still “has Holy Orders.” :frowning:


No. We should respect a priest’s decision, even if we think he is wrong. Holy Orders is a big thing. We shouldn’t treat a priest like any ordinary man. He is another Jesus, and has spiritual authority over us.


I have noticed that Daily Mass is much more quiet and solemn than Sunday Mass. Obviously because only a fraction of parishioners are there. But there is something special about the quiet time of Daily Mass and I find I enjoy it more than Sunday Mass. The overhead lights are off. The lit candles radiate a beautiful glow. It’s quiet. NO ONE talks whatsoever. I remember one time a man with a LOUD voice was chatting in the lobby/narthex with someone and opened the door to the sanctuary about three minutes before Mass was to begin…still chatting. His voice sounded like a plane crashing through the sanctuary. EVERYONE turned around and “shushed” him. It was kind of funny. But he sure did stop talking when he was “shushed”. One time I was wearing sandals that made a squeaking noise. I hadn’t noticed this until I walked into the quiet sanctuary. I sat in the back that day because I didn’t want to disturb anyone with my squeaking shoes. :o

On Sunday the church is PACKED which is a good thing. However everyone is socializing in the sanctuary before Mass as if they are at a party and it becomes very noisy. Teenagers are texting as they genuflect…(but at least they are genuflecting). Some women and girls are dressed in “spaghetti strap” shirts or dresses and/or really short skirts. A LOT of people are wearing flip flops. Babies are CRYING loudly for a long time during Mass and the mothers don’t take them into the cry room or out of the sanctuary. Sometimes I can’t even hear what the priest is saying. Almost one third of the parishioners are late which is very distracting…some even showing up during the homily. :eek: After communion that same third walks out. AAArrrrrrrrr. :mad:
Okay…I think I’m through venting now.

I have decided to attend a 7:30 Sunday Mass this week to see if it is quieter then the 11:00a.m. Mass. I have a feeling it is. :wink:


You must attend the same Mass as do I! It can have a rather irreverent atmosphere on Sunday mornings. Our town has a Sunday evening Mass, very quiet, very meditative with lights low, candles, incense and no “happy clappy” music (THANK YOU!) I love it and wish I could go more often.



:thumbsup: On yes…I forgot about the music at Sunday Mass. It’s okay. But it’s really loud!!! My church has a Sunday evening Compline Mass at 9:00p.m. It looks very interesting and relaxing from the website. The sanctuary is pitch black and only lit with candles. The men do a Gregorian chant. I’ve been meaning to go but by 9:00p.m. on a Sunday I’m worn out. Ha! Ha! I’ll get there one evening. :wink:


He represents Jesus, in persona Christi, at times, but he is not ‘another’ Jesus, or Jesus. There is one Jesus Christ, our Savior.

We should respect our priests, yes, but to elevate them to Jesus is wrong in many ways. Priests make mistakes. Jesus did not.


Sounds wonderful! I know it’s late but I hope you can go sometime. Our meditative evening Mass was moved up to 8:30 which means I can’t get there often enough but it did let out pretty late for a lot of people. Really a great way to end a week!

The music depended on whether the Choir director was there or not. Some of the other people would step out of the liturgically “approved” music and it was a little over the top. We used to have one “Gloria” where they would encourage clapping and stomping of feet. I felt like I was on the set of Hee Haw…ugh. It’s not like the hymns must be grim but some of the yahoo type praise music was a bit jarring. Then we’d have the Consecration and it was like whiplash.



Our pastors have generally encouraged greetings (quietly) and have supported a team of greeters for years, especially focused on new people. We are encouraged to offer to rejoin with friends after Mass when we often have juice, tea, and coffee. I strongly support this. Recall the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI in his book, Saint Paul, (of his weekly audiences during the Year of St Paul–2008):
“The Word was made flesh, Jesus, in order to create a new humanity…No one can become Christian on his(her) own…Unless we let ourselves be formed by this (Church) community, we do not become Christians.” (p97-98).
Also when Pope Francis wrote about finding communion with God in “an artificial oasis,” he refers to retreats and private settings, not to Mass, which is, by its very nature, a gathering of the faithful to celebrate our unity of Love, Faith, and Hope.

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