What to do when the priest is out of sorts


#1

My sister experienced the following at Mass last Sunday:

An elderly priest, who normally does not celebrate Mass at her parish, presided over the Mass. He was visibly frail, and his hands shook as he held up the bread and wine during the Consecration.
The part that was most troublesome in many ways, however, was the homily. He appeared to be suffering from dementia, and his homily went on for about forty minutes because he kept repeating his ideas and going in circles.
The congregation, in response, was not very gracious. The pianist started playing a instrumental hymn about twenty minutes in. Some older ladies in the back started clapping. One person got up and stood near the pulpit. Although he didn't seem to notice these things, he did eventually conclude his homily and proceed with the rest of the Mass.

This made me wonder: what is the appropriate response, if any, when the priest who is celebrating Mass seems to be incapacitated in some way?


#2

I think that truthfully, it would have been better to give no response. At least in comparison to the response that was given, anyhow. It seems to me that it would be incredibly disrespectful of the pianist to begin playing over his homily, regardless of how wandering it seemed to be. :shrug:


#3

[quote="PartoftheBody, post:1, topic:302298"]

This made me wonder: what is the appropriate response, if any, when the priest who is celebrating Mass seems to be incapacitated in some way?

[/quote]

Well certainly none of the things chosen by these uncouth and tactless individuals.

The proper response is to sit politely and be thankful for a priest to celebrate Mass.


#4

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:302298"]
Well certainly none of the things chosen by these uncouth and tactless individuals.

The proper response is to sit politely and be thankful for a priest to celebrate Mass.

[/quote]

+1


#5

[quote="PartoftheBody, post:1, topic:302298"]
My sister experienced the following at Mass last Sunday:

An elderly priest, who normally does not celebrate Mass at her parish, presided over the Mass. He was visibly frail, and his hands shook as he held up the bread and wine during the Consecration.
The part that was most troublesome in many ways, however, was the homily. He appeared to be suffering from dementia, and his homily went on for about forty minutes because he kept repeating his ideas and going in circles.
The congregation, in response, was not very gracious. The pianist started playing a instrumental hymn about twenty minutes in. Some older ladies in the back started clapping. One person got up and stood near the pulpit. Although he didn't seem to notice these things, he did eventually conclude his homily and proceed with the rest of the Mass.

This made me wonder: what is the appropriate response, if any, when the priest who is celebrating Mass seems to be incapacitated in some way?

[/quote]

Pray for him.


#6

Some polite things to do during incidents like that are:

  1. Kiss the Hands of the Priest and be very thankful that someone celebrated Holy Mass for the congregation

  2. Give the congregation some 101 tips on etiquette, particularly the Choir

  3. Pray for the Priest, that He may have many more healthy years to serve the Lord and You/


#7

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:302298"]
Well certainly none of the things chosen by these uncouth and tactless individuals.

The proper response is to sit politely and be thankful for a priest to celebrate Mass.

[/quote]

I might speak to the parish office afterwards though.

I am curious though - what if one is obligated to be somewhere after mass, and it goes on for significantly longer than planned? Say I go to noon mass and have to teach at 2.


#8

Wow, that's incredibly rude of the congregation. If he was really talking in circles or not being coherent, I could see an alter server, usher, or another person gently approaching him and whispering to him to encourage him to wrap it up. But the priest does not have a time limit for his homily. I've heard that some Bishops have recommended time limits for priests' homilies, but even if that is so in your diocese, it is not up to the congregation to enforce that in the middle of the Mass.
It might be a good idea to let your pastor know of what happened, for the good of the priest who might need some help, and for the good of your fellow parishioners so that they learn how to respect priests more. I hope you come back and let us know of any developments.


#9

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:302298"]
Well certainly none of the things chosen by these uncouth and tactless individuals.

The proper response is to sit politely and be thankful for a priest to celebrate Mass.

[/quote]

:clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping::clapping:


#10

[quote="PartoftheBody, post:1, topic:302298"]
My sister experienced the following at Mass last Sunday:

An elderly priest, who normally does not celebrate Mass at her parish, presided over the Mass. He was visibly frail, and his hands shook as he held up the bread and wine during the Consecration.
The part that was most troublesome in many ways, however, was the homily. He appeared to be suffering from dementia, and his homily went on for about forty minutes because he kept repeating his ideas and going in circles.
The congregation, in response, was not very gracious. The pianist started playing a instrumental hymn about twenty minutes in. Some older ladies in the back started clapping. One person got up and stood near the pulpit. Although he didn't seem to notice these things, he did eventually conclude his homily and proceed with the rest of the Mass.

This made me wonder: what is the appropriate response, if any, when the priest who is celebrating Mass seems to be incapacitated in some way?

[/quote]

Charity


#11

Homily after ten minutes losses 90% of individuals as attention span wiped out.
Weekday Mass is 3-5 minutes and weekend Mass is 7-10 minute average homily.
Tough situation , I hope they played a respectful song during the homily.

It was handled well I believe. And would have been worse if he went on for hours and everyone walked out.


#12

Unbelievable!!!! Shame on those who were rude to him! :mad: I would suggest praying for that priest, and going up to him after Mass and tell him you liked his homily, mention something he repeated and go from there.


#13

[quote="PartoftheBody, post:1, topic:302298"]
My sister experienced the following at Mass last Sunday:

An elderly priest, who normally does not celebrate Mass at her parish, presided over the Mass. He was visibly frail, and his hands shook as he held up the bread and wine during the Consecration.
The part that was most troublesome in many ways, however, was the homily. He appeared to be suffering from dementia, and his homily went on for about forty minutes because he kept repeating his ideas and going in circles.
The congregation, in response, was not very gracious. The pianist started playing a instrumental hymn about twenty minutes in. Some older ladies in the back started clapping. One person got up and stood near the pulpit. Although he didn't seem to notice these things, he did eventually conclude his homily and proceed with the rest of the Mass.

This made me wonder: what is the appropriate response, if any, when the priest who is celebrating Mass seems to be incapacitated in some way?

[/quote]

I'm not sure... in this instance it is quite clear that everyone behaved uncharitably.

I suppose if he was just going on and on and on and on and on and on with no signs of stopping while repeating himself and going in circles, it might be advisable for someone to discreetly tip him off.


#14

[quote="PartoftheBody, post:1, topic:302298"]
My sister experienced the following at Mass last Sunday:

An elderly priest, who normally does not celebrate Mass at her parish, presided over the Mass. He was visibly frail, and his hands shook as he held up the bread and wine during the Consecration.
The part that was most troublesome in many ways, however, was the homily. He appeared to be suffering from dementia, and his homily went on for about forty minutes because he kept repeating his ideas and going in circles.
The congregation, in response, was not very gracious. The pianist started playing a instrumental hymn about twenty minutes in. Some older ladies in the back started clapping. One person got up and stood near the pulpit. Although he didn't seem to notice these things, he did eventually conclude his homily and proceed with the rest of the Mass.

This made me wonder: what is the appropriate response, if any, when the priest who is celebrating Mass seems to be incapacitated in some way?

[/quote]

Maybe he wanted to say one last Mass in his life and that was it, and shame on the rude people that were rude.


#15

[quote="Ctomlin, post:11, topic:302298"]
Homily after ten minutes losses 90% of individuals as attention span wiped out.
Weekday Mass is 3-5 minutes and weekend Mass is 7-10 minute average homily.
Tough situation , I hope they played a respectful song during the homily.

It was handled well I believe. And would have been worse if he went on for hours and everyone walked out.

[/quote]

Not necessarily true.

It depends how engaging the homily is.

An adult's attention span should be about 40 minutes.


#16

[quote="triumphguy, post:15, topic:302298"]
Not necessarily true.

It depends how engaging the homily is.

An adult's attention span should be about 40 minutes.

[/quote]

Sorry it is true. Based on average like I posted.

40 minute homily would have 95% checked out in their attention span.


#17

[quote="DarkLight, post:7, topic:302298"]
I might speak to the parish office afterwards though.

I am curious though - what if one is obligated to be somewhere after mass, and it goes on for significantly longer than planned? Say I go to noon mass and have to teach at 2.

[/quote]

What's more important. Your obligation to teaching or the life giving presence of Mass?


#18

[quote="SaintPatrick333, post:17, topic:302298"]
What's more important. Your obligation to teaching or the life giving presence of Mass?

[/quote]

What sort of testimony is it if I willingly do wrong to them in the name of religion? I would be rightly fired if I pulled a stunt like that. I would certainly make every attempt to make Mass later that day, but if I couldn't make it then what would I do?


#19

[quote="Ctomlin, post:16, topic:302298"]
Sorry it is true. Based on average like I posted.

40 minute homily would have 95% checked out in their attention span.

[/quote]

Nope: I teach 15-18 year olds for 82 minutes a class.

They can handle sitting still and listening for 40 minutes if the topic engages them.

Adults in church could handle much more than 10 minutes.

If the priest is a good homilist and the people are mentally checking out it's because they are choosing to prioritize other things in their lives.


#20

Well certainly none of the things chosen by these uncouth and tactless individuals.

The proper response is to sit politely and be thankful for a priest to celebrate Mass.

+2  :dancing:

Shame on those people! :tsktsk:


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