Why is the mass so long

Why is the mass so long?

i found this site when I googled “45 minute mass.” It started roughly 4 years ago when we were attending mass based on our sons’ schedules. After one such mass, my wife said, “you know, next time conor [our older son, now 25] is home, we ought to go to mass here, because at least the homily won’t alienate him.”

I thought about it and decided to start attending that parish because they always had good homilies. Eventually I joined the parish. It was some time after that that I noticed their Sunday masses generally ran 40-45 minutes. I even started running into people I knew from other parishes, who came there because the mass wasn’t “a big production” and was over in 45 minutes.

That’s when my problem started. I realized that the parish, headed by an irish priest, had cut out a lot of stuff that makes the mass longer. (in my previous parishes, masses ran close to an hour.)

Then that priest retired, and sure enough, his replacement started lengthening the mass. I started thinking more about the length of the mass, and it started to bug me that these guys (the priests) were wasting my time by lengthening the mass.

(keep in mind two things: 1) this parish was farther away than the closest parish, and I didn’t mind spending more time driving to and from the new parish; 2) I’m fairly spiritual in that I spend 30-45 minutes in private prayer per day, and in addition say the rosary with my wife the four days of the week she doesn’t work.)

So I started looking for another parish. It’s not easy to find a meaningful 45 minute mass. I just don’t like my time wasted, and I don’t like the fact that it appears that the mass has been lengthened for no other reason than to make it longer. Like longer = better.

I’ve a sneaking suspicion that somewhere along the line, someone said, hey the protestants go to church for two hours (or whatever it is), we better make ours longer.

My wife suggested I give up for lent obsessing about this, and I did. Yesterday it really bugged me, so here I am….i live in south jersey.

I’ve checked out all the parishes nearby, and they all run close to an hour.

Thanks for letting me rant a bit. I’m just wondering if I am alone in the way I think.

Maybe you can’t find many parishes that have mass in under an hour because there aren’t many. The priest that has taken things from the mass has done so against the GIRM - the instructions for the mass.

The Ordinary Form (OF) of the mass is actually shorter than the Extraordinary Form (EF), but things shouldn’t be much shorter than the OF.

I really can’t see why you are begrudging God 15 extra minutes of your time on Sunday morning. Those minutes really are not a waste.

All the parts of the Mass must be said according to the rubrics. Say the black, do the red. simple. For validly the creed is not necessary, the homily is not necessary, many other things are not needed but they must be done.

45 minutes, 1 hour, it makes no difference. You are present at the renewal of Calvary, the Sacrifice of Christ offered up through the priest who stands in His person. This is a treasure of inestimable value. Spending one hour (or slightly more) a week is nothing compared to what it cost Christ for your redemption.

It cracks me up when Catholics think that their Mass is long.

I grew up in an evangelical Protestant church where the average sermon was 45 minutes. If the pastor didn’t speak for at least a half hour, people started speculating that perhaps he was “fallen away” or “carnal.”

And then add an “altar call” that would last at least 10-15 minutes to allow those under conviction plenty of opportunity to come forward.

And before all that happened, there was a welcome, a pastoral prayer, a choir anthem, a testimony time, an offering with more solos, at least three congregational hymns (often with 3 or more verses), and plenty of announcements (often with overheads or a DVD).

In today’s evangelical churches, the average “praise and worship time” is 20 minutes. (My husband and I used to call it the 20 Minute Worship Workout and wish that they would do aerobics during the praise and worship so that we could get in a good physical workout.

Heck, I played piano preludes that lasted 10 minutes!

We were used to going to church at 11:00 and leaving at 12:30 or 12:45. And remember, there was Sunday School, too, which usually started at 9:00. So Sunday morning was basically shot.

You can see why Protestants have nurseries and Children’s Church. It’s one thing to expect a toddler to sit with parents during a 45-60 minute Mass where lots of opportunities are present for movement (kneeling, standing, singing, prayer, etc.), but quite another thing to expect them to sit for an hour and a half or more of just listening (not participating) to someone TALKING.

Are you for real? You cannot handle a Mass being more than 45 minutes? I sincerely hope you are alone in the way you think!

The Mass is how Jesus wants us to worship God. The veil between Heaven and earth is lifted while Mass is going on. All the angels and saints are there with us. And you want it to be no more than 45 minutes? You really need to reconsider your priorities.

Agreed. As Catholics we are asked to give so little of our time, yet receive so much in return. 45 minutes is nothing when it comes to the time we dedicate to empty pursuits!

Ah – but, and here is where I consider another view. When the Mass is prolonged and made into an entertainment spectacle with Children’s choirs, soloists, (shudder) liturgical dancers, etc, shifting attention away from worshiping our Lord then I too have a problem. To pad out the Mass with these things because it seems nice, is as bad, IMHO, as taking things away. The Mass in its form as defined in the GIRM is perfect and doesn’t need all that extra window dressing

God bless


You have no idea about long. Try going, as a child as I did, to the Sunday liturgy at a Russian Orthodox monastery thrn you’ll know about long services. You’ll be “lucky” if it last only four hours.

PS if you can’t be bothered with a Mass which only last a few min’s a week why bother at all? :thumbsup:

Time spent in the presence of God is never wasted.

The Mass does not belong to individual priests, so it is not for them to add or subtract bits and pieces of Mass, although there are some legitimate options (like the choice of a Eucharistic prayer, which might take more or less time).

You are certainly not alone in the way you think. My husband is pretty much the same. He loves our current pastor mostly because “his” Masses are short. He goes to the least-attended Mass so that it can be even shorter because there are fewer people for Communion. He does not understand why I would want to be at Mass more than five minutes before it starts in order to spend some time in prayer. He knows the quickest route from the pew to the parking lot at any parish we attend.

I hope you are able to find what you are looking for. I guess we all have things that bother us. I am annoyed at homilies that go on [seemingly forever] without making any discernable point or are a bunch of decent points just strung together. Our priest is a wonderful homilist, and his homilies are short - sometimes I wish they were longer… It also annoys me when the music is a bigger deal than the actual Mass…

What do you consider window dressing? Incensing the Gospel Book, the gifts and the altar? A decent homily that lasts 15-20 minutes? Appropriate periods of silence after the readings, the homily and Communion? Doing any of these things well will add a few minutes here and there that quickly add up to more than 60.

A soloist is not necessarily ‘window dressing’ unless it’s where a soloist shouldn’t be (song after Communion, for example).
Properly trained children’s choirs that function as choirs should are not window dressing – now if they’re only there to be cute…

Not window dressing at all. They are there to bring respect and adoration to our Lord. These things are about Him

These things on the other hand are about people. They make us passive in the the Mass – spectators to those places where we as the people are called upon and have the right to participate in praising the Lord.

It ain’t about them … it’s about Him! And therein, difference.

God bless


If you prefer quick masses, find a 6 am one during the week. One near my house is often around 15 minutes. Appreciate the brevity and fill yourself with Christ’s grace. Then, when fulfilling your Sunday obligation, enjoy the homily, music and additions missing from the bare-bones service during the week.

But, more generally… God became man, was crucified, and assumed the sin of all mankind so that you might have His body at Mass. And you can’t sacrifice an hour once a week?! Let me ask, how much time do you spend watching TV or doing other useless tasks each week? If you are an ER doctor, work 100 hours a week, sleep 4 hours a night and still can’t find time for an hour Mass, then let’s talk.

On a more charitable note, perhaps you can find ways to make the hour mass more meaningful. I would suggest reading Introduction to the Devout Life, which gives guides to making the Mass more fulfilling.

A really solemnly done (choir/high Mass) Sunday or Holy Day Mass should be fairly long, at least an hour, if you include Confiteor, Gloria, Creed, Roman Canon, incense, chant, solemn blessing, and so on. If these are what’s making it long - wonderful! Not a waste of time at all worshipping God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

If what’s making it long is a couple of performance-style solos with “liturgical” dancers, long processions of EMHCs, and a 45 minute homily and a skit, well, that’s not right and time is being wasted, at least in a certain sense. Big difference.

Yes! The Mass is the unbloody sacrifice, the recreation of Calvary. It is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
Not a Protestant “Praise and Worship” service. It’s not a time to show off our talents. There is a time a place for that, and that time is not during the mass. The reason for the choir is to provide the hymns and the Chant for the Mass.

Getting to the OP’s point, are you really frustrated that the mass is 45 minutes? I am a TLM’er, I am usually in Mass anywhere from 1 hour to 1 /½ hours! The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the HIGHEST FORM of Prayer. It is not a service, it’s the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Our Lord is Present, we recieve him. Wouldn’t you rather die than not be able to recieve our Lord in the Eucharist? God Bless you! :signofcross::byzsoc:

But those things are valid option per the GIRM. The choir may sing alone – not where we are supposed to respond, but the entrance, offertory & the Gloria may all be legitimately sung by choir alone. Listening can also be praying.

45 minutes is frigging short. most mass i knew last about an hour or so. the parish i go to usually lasted 1.5hrs at least, and i arrive at least 15 mins before it starts; so im easily at the church for like 2 hrs each sunday.

imagine if you’re going on a date with your love one, and then you notice 45 mins up and you said to her, “sorry but time’s up. lets end this.” if we can spend time doing other things, what is really 1 hour each week? and this one hour is not ‘wasted’ but you are dedicating your time to the Lord.

I find what usually determines the length of the Mass at my parish is usually who is the Celebrant. What causes some Masses to go longer is often the homily and some Priests do like to go on awhile.

I wonder how long the Last Supper took. Wasn’t that our first Mass?

ALL my classes in school are longer than 45 minutes…:smiley:

the time wasters, i believe, are many. and, to me, they add nothing. let’s start with processing. i don’t know when it started, or why, and it’s ok, but… the music starts and the priest, altar servers, et al stand there until after the first verse and chorus…THEN start the procession. doesn’t add anything to me.

at the end, yesterday, they stand on the alter facing us while we sing the first verse and chorus, then they come down turn around and face the altar while we sing the second verse. THEN they come down the aisle. adds absolutely nothing. start the song, and start up the aile, do the same at the end.

period of silence? after the homily, and after communion, doesn’t do anything for me. one of my best friends is a priest, he says he likes it, being able to sit down and reflect after communion. it’s not about him, it’s about us. we have been sitting, praying reflecting after communion.

period of silence while the gifts are being presented, with no activity. again, just more window dressing.

one place has the lector come up out of the pews, bow, go up read, then comes down, bows, THEN the psalm. then for the second reading, THE SAME GUY comes up, bows, etc. time waster.

the irish priest i liked, all his priests after the homily, would say, “please rise.” and that was fine with me. i never asked him, but he must have instructed the music ministry folks, because it was well choreographed. the music always ended when he was finished doing whatever.

someone said it’s not about the choir. i agree. i’m not there for the choir. we had 3 songs during communion yesterday, one which started, just as the priest was sitting down.

the irish priest’s muscial person, would have just continued struming the guitar, playing the piano, etc, until he sat down, and then in dignified fashion, stop.

i’m 55 and hate to refer to “back in the day,” but we had more people in the church, fewer people to give out communion, and it usually ended in 40 or 45 minutes.again, it seems like we have gone to great lengths to make it longer, just to make it longer.

it’s as if people sat around, and brainstormed how to make it longer.

my wife is from ireland. we were there last summer. mass: 45 minutes. no fluff, no parading around, very little periods of silence. nice singing, good homily, good mass.

i like some of the suggestions for helping me deal with this, and prayer will help.

Eastern Catholic (and Orthodox) liturgies are at least 1 1/2 hours, at a minimum…and we don’t usually sit. When you think about all God has done for us, it’s the least we can do. No time in church will ever be “wasted”.

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