For the love of God… promote holy silence in your churches

I a Z-Chat session today one of the Z-chatters made the comment that at her parish, before Mass, people chatter like crows in church … including the pastor.

No silence.

No sense of reverence for the sacred place or what is about to happen.

That is painful to me even to hear other people talk about!

To the all priests out there I say.. for the love of all that is holy…

Help your people to learn the value of maintaining a holy silence in your churches.

Help them to learn to be recollected.

Socializing can take place elsewhere.

Help them change their bad habits.

How does one move from chattering away and making a din in church to then having an encounter with the One Who Is Wholly Other, an encounter with MYSTERY, which is the whole purpose of liturgy?

 

 

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to For the love of God… promote holy silence in your churches

  1. Andy K. says:

    Any suggestions to the laity who want to help foster a sense of the sacred before Mass, but encounter a priest who doesn’t find it important?

    Especially when this parish has a “greet your neighbor” before Mass begins (where the church ceases to be a church, but instead becomes a community meeting hall).

  2. Thomas Burk says:

    Sometimes when it’s really bad, and I can hear the conversation (and it isn’t prayer), I will quietly remind the offenders that this is a house of prayer. I know there are DRE’s out there who say we don’t need to be recollected, that it is a community celebration, so just don’t criticize. I have been told that myself by a former (praise God) DRE. I personally detest the chitchat that goes on in so many parishes. Some priests will do something about it, and some won’t.

  3. Kathy says:

    I have been so frustrated by this matter. The pastor says we don’t understand the purpose of the liturgy if we don’t like all the “community” interaction. There’s the greeter (inside the sanctuary), followed by instructions at the beginning of Mass to stand and introduce ourselves to everyone around us. Sometimes a soloist sings before Mass. Instead of listening, people shout to talk over her– as if she’s interfering with their conversation time. It is so discouraging.

  4. Steve says:

    I have a question about reverent silence at Mass. Is a Communion hymn necessary for the Mass? Is it required by the rubrics? I know that I cannot sing once I have a host in my mouth and the priest cannot sing since he is giving out Communion. So why is it there?

    I have been to several TLMs recently and the silence during Communion really makes you think about what you are doing.

    Any help on this matter is appreciated.

  5. Fr J says:

    One way to stop the chatter… discreetly turn a microphone (perhaps from the Ambo)in the direction of the people… listen in on the conversations that come through the speaker in the Sacristy… After Greeting the People or at the Homily or when giving the Notices, regurgitate some of the conversations you overheard in the Sacristy!

    I did this and it had an instant effect – prayerful silence before Mass. A colleague did it too with a hidden radio-mic in a flowerstand – same result.

    Crude but MOST EFFECTIVE!

  6. Sandy says:

    In an attempt to remind the others we are in church, my husband and I have resorted to leading our five children in praying our thanksgiving audibly (actually we pray the prayers after low Mass for the intention of ending abortion). We do not whisper, either, and one lady even joined us.

  7. shadrach says:

    I have to say I think that this is something better done by a priest, especially one who makes a friendly announcement and/or sits in prayer in the church before mass, than by poker-faced ‘fraternal correction’ from one lay person to another. I have seen ‘fraternal correction’ very badly done in a way that did more harm than good more than once.

  8. Diane says:

    If I hadn’t experienced near total silence at Assumption Grotto prior to Mass I wouldn’t have been able to comprehend the depth of this problem.

    Truly, at it’s core, pre-Mass chatter is one of the greatest manifestations of a loss of awareness and belief in the Real Presence.

    Ditto with post-Mass chatter where decibels rival that of a Mall on Saturday.

    Thank God for Grotto!

  9. Anthony says:

    Amen Father! This was also a topic covered last year on a blog called Recovering our Catholic Identity. Here was the post…

    http://recoveringourcatholicidentity.blogspot.com/2008/07/identity-reverent-silence.html

    Sounds like you and blogger feel the same way.

  10. Michael Kramer says:

    we had an incident here in MO where a layperson told us that silence in the church was only for us “latin mass people” that they were lending the church to….

  11. Michael Kramer says:

    we had an incident here in MO where a layperson told us that silence in church was only for us “latin mass people”…truly classic…

  12. Pomeroy on the Palouse says:

    Our pastor asked our daughter who is in her 2nd year of pipe organ instruction to please play for 15-20 minutes before Mass. It has started to make a difference. At first, people just started talking louder. Now they are getting the message.

    She is also in the choir (which sits in the sanctuary (boo)) and so she has to stop playing maybe 5 minutes before Mass to change shoes, walk down the stairs, and up to the choir seating. People just start talking again.

    John

  13. That microphone idea is genius.

  14. Hidden One says:

    Fr. Z., if you would would post a collection of good ideas or whatnot that are beginning to develop in the comments in a new post eventually, it would be much appreciated. Aids for laity and priests… and perhaps (if someone comes up with any) aids in laity/priests convincing priests that silence before and after Mass is important.

    I am living on a nominally Catholic university campus, and the worst places and times to pray in and around the campus are before and after Mass in the chapel and nearby cathedral. I would do better to walk out the door of either institution and kneel on the steps off to the side, with the sound of hastily-departing chatterers, cars, birds, et al. causing me disruption nonetheless.

    At my home parish, only the facts that the acoustics are (potentially embarrassingly) spectacular and everyone likes to shake the hand of the priest waiting on the steps outside keep the post-Mass noise down, while the pre-Mass noise is limited by the embarrassingly small percentage of people who are actually present much before Mass and the might-as-well-be-a-gothic-basilica architecture that inspire awe in a fair number of us pewdwellers.

  15. Hidden: Maybe someone will put that together as this develops. Then I can post it.

  16. Jim of Bowie says:

    The party atmosphere before mass was one of the reasons I left my local parish and joined one across town where the pastor has signs at the entrances requesting reverent silence before mass. It seems to work.

  17. Isolda says:

    I have the blessed opportunity to attend Mass daily. But the tragedy of this chatter in Church really struck me the other day when it occured to me in my examination of conscience to confess that I am negligent in setting aside time for daily prayer. I responded to my conscience, “but I am praying daily at Mass!” The reality, however, is that it is hard, almost impossible, to pray at Mass. Chatting continues right up until Mass starts, then resumes immediately afterwards. And during Mass, the priest is very chatty (others might say interactive), inserting sporadic commentary at every opportunity for silence. Sadly I realize that I really don’t experience any recollection, to the point of feeling agitated that I cannot take time before, during, or after Mass to really pray. I will, nonetheless, continue attending Mass and make greater efforts elsewhere in my day to make time for personal prayer.

  18. Denise says:

    I was visiting a Church in Virginia Beach (Diocese of Richmond) where there was much chatter before Mass. Just before the processional, the sanctuary lights flashed 2 or 3 times, just like at the theater. Everyone quieted down and the entrance hymn began. I had the opportunity to ask the pastor about this. His response was that they considered this time of “fellowship” part of the liturgy. If it wasn’t to my liking, I should find a different parish.

    At my home parish, (Diocese of Arlington) I often attend the 7:30 am Mass that has no choir. While I love good liturgical music, I also find the extended periods of silence at this Mass to be very conducive to prayer.

  19. Nathan says:

    IMO, Father is spot on in directing this to priests. So many of the laity have been catechized poorly for a long time, and often times the best intended fraternal correction from a fellow layman comes across as giving the person a “hairy eyeball” look.

    I know I have to constantly pray for prudence, especially when I see poor praxis of our Catholic identity.

    In Christ,

  20. Michael Kramer says:

    In my opinion, the placement of the tabernacle in the middle or at the very least a very prominent place in the sanctuary and then proper catechesis surrounding what the Blessed Sacrament is, and the reverence due so great a mystery will go a long way to achieve this end. Placing a veil on the tabernacle to indicate something holy, and shrouded in mystery will also go a long way. Perhaps a devotion being led before Mass would also encourage those who wish to talk to do so elsewhere, the vestibule being just few away.

  21. ckdexterhaven says:

    This is a Catholic identity issue. When I was a kid, (trust me I’m not THAT old), silence was the norm. Praying was possible!! Protestant churches are where people chit chat etc. I also pine for silence after Communion. I think part of it can be blamed on the architecture. In the older churches, it just “felt” more reverent, more Catholic (ahem). In most Catholic Churches today, if you take away the crucifix, you wouldn’t be able to tell if you’re in a Catholic Church.

    When Fr.Z says brick by brick, he means it!

  22. irishgirl says:

    I go to a TLM chapel-and there are two people behind me who ALWAYS ‘yak’ during the Mass! Even after they receive Communion!

    I am almost tempted to turn around and put my finger to my lips…or else say something to them after Mass…it’s really being rude!

    I know one time the priest made a comment about some members of the congregation making the responses aloud-he said, ‘This is not a Dialogue Mass-this is a Low Mass’. The person who made the responses now says them more softly-he sits in the pew behind me, too!

    But I would be interested in reading some of those future posts, Father…

  23. cothrige says:

    This problem was so bad at our last parish that I could not pray before Mass. No kidding, but I have been to Chuck E. Cheeses with my kids that were quieter. It was really unbelievable. Before Mass I would go to the bathroom to pray and prepare myself. It was really sad.

  24. Joseph says:

    I recently attended a mass of all the Catholic teachers with the archbishop as the celebrant in this area. One would think they would even more understand how to behave. I have never witnessed a spectacle like this ever. It was at least as loud as in a restaurant, if not more, before mass. It is no surprise, the the students have no sense of sacred at all. And the Archbishop was so very saccharine, how the oh so good Catholic education teaches by good example etc… He would have heard the noise from across the street, let alone from the sacristy.

  25. GOR says:

    The example has to come from the pastor and be reinforced! Unfortunately, many ‘modern’ pastors have lost the sense of the sacred and the reverence due to the Real Presence. A ‘nod’ to the Tabernacle instead of genuflecting doesn’t convey a proper appreciation of Who is there. Accordingly, the people follow suit. Having ‘greeters’ and the celebrant standing in the vestibule talking with people as they come in, contributes to the noise – so everyone thinks it’s ‘okay’ and the conversations continue in the seats.

  26. You would be surprised to know that the biggest perpetrators of this are older, retired people. Countless are the number of times that they have started up a conversation literally right after daily Mass has ended.

  27. Sandy says:

    WOW, did you strike a nerve in me! I try to pray part of the Rosary before Mass, and at one parish near me, I can’t even pray. Discreetly turning to look at the offenders does no good, of course. It’s always the same people and they’re even older than I am – they should remember the days of reverence. It doesn’t even need to be stated that this got worse when they started moving all the tabernacles away!!

  28. Mary Ann says:

    Our pastor has quieted down considerably in the sacristy after receiving a few comments stating parishioners didn’t need to be privy to those conversations (thank you, God). The associate has a quiet voice, so no problem.

    Our parish does not chatter before Mass, but the second the last note of the recessional is sung (even if the organ is still playing) it’s Katy, bar the door!! Good luck to any who remain to pray. I confess I’m looking forward to Palm Sunday Mass where our a cappella recessional,”Jesus, Remember Me,” will be sung until everyone (sans those staying to pray) is out of the church. Aahhh…prayerful silence!

  29. john says:

    Thank you Fr. Z! Restoring reverence to the mass is such an important topic for the laity and orders. I ask all to pray that al lmembers of the mystical body approach and participate in the mass in reverent volume, dress and action.

  30. Silence during mass equates to reverence. If you attend a NO mass, I suggest you try a TLM or EF and ask yourself which service strikes you as respectfull of our Lord’s presence.

  31. Our last pastor made a practice of sitting silently and prayerfully after communion for a moment or two in his presider’s chair. You couldn’t help but simmer down if you were paying attention. FWIW, he was by most accounts a liturgical liberal, but he had an instinctive sense of the need for silence and dignity in the celebration of Mass.

  32. Girgadis says:

    An announcement is made before every Mass at our church reminding people
    to maintain the sacred silence in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
    However, nothing works like a little peer pressure. I have asked people to
    be quiet on more than one occasion. Once I asked someone to be quiet in chapel
    where I spend time in Adoration and unfortunately, the person I asked was not
    mentally stable and what ensued was worse than the talking. Also, I sometimes
    feel like I\’m acting against charity if I ask an elderly person to be quiet
    because let\’s face it, there are a lot of lonely people in this world and
    church is the only place they have any social interaction. So I weigh that
    as well. But sometimes people just don\’t know and I politely point at the
    Monstrance or the tabernacle and say \”We\’re really not supposed to talk in
    the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Any way you can take this conversation
    outside?\”

  33. Genna says:

    It pains me to say this, but I find the worst perpetrators are middle-aged women. They just can’t seem to button their lips. Talk about twittering. What on earth do they find to talk about?

  34. V says:

    I think that if our priests who stop chatter and greet people in the Church that would be a start!!!
    then ask in the bulletin and in the middle of the numerous announcements at the end of Mass that this is the House of God, silence is requested, that would be even better.

    Just like for families, when father is reverent and devout the kids follow. One or two children who show devotion and respect, would be an example but would ever have the same impact as the parents showing the way.

    Unfortunetly, we suffer too often of the lack of faith and reverence of our clergy!

  35. elizabeth says:

    I really REALLY dislike the chatty atmosphere that seems to be prevailing in the church. So many parents, too – let their kids sit (and chat) with a buddy and their family – and oh, it becomes social hour!

    I too wish you would address Summer Catholic Bible Programs for Kids. Our church has been following a Protestant program, and it drives me batty. The singing, and play that occurs in the church – no reverence being taught. Just praise and crafts (not that those things are bad in and of them selves…) One summer I approached the leader and asked if she (and the other co-leaders) could please remove the drink cups and materials that they had on the ALTAR! It was being used like a regular table, really – and I pointed out all these things reflect upon how we view the church, each other – the House of God – to the children.

  36. chironomo says:

    I tried an experiment once and went into the church about 20 minutes before Mass (while there are still few there) and sat down at the organ and played from my album of Titelouze compositions using only a very quiet 8′ Gedackt stop…. all the way up to the beginning of Mass. The usual chatter never got started since most entered the church to the sound of very quiet organ music. It works…. unfortunately I am only able to get into the church early for two of our 7 Masses since I have to rehearse with choirs and cantors for the others. Hmm… maybe a chant CD?? (I’m kidding…really)

  37. James says:

    My priest is very vigilant; to the extent that he is quite happy to tell the Missionaries of Charity off (of course they are never the instigators of
    the chatter. He also has Benediction before Mass which helps and then afterwards there are at least ten to fifteen people who would stay behind after
    Mass on Sunday for at least fifteen minutes. I am blessed.

  38. ssoldie says:

    There were two woman sitting a couple pews behind me before Mass started and were really chattering away, I simply got up and went back, and said very nicely but sternly ‘This is Gods house, it is a house of prayer and people are trying to pray’, needless to say they did stop. We(lay people) have to take a unpopular stand and say the truth no matter how uncomfortable it may be.

  39. Sid says:

    Until the priest and pastor take measures, there’s little the humble layman can do about this revolting situation.

    I know of a church here in North Carolina where the pastor posts signs demanding silence, impresses the rule in every bulletin, and instructs ushers to enforce silence — and it works. Also helpful: keep making this a rule announced from the pulpit.

    I can also report than at no MEF that I’ve attended have I heard this chat. I haven’t experienced in Europe either, even in MOFs.

  40. joebe says:

    Last summer I was at the newly-constructed church at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in LaCrosse. It was an OF Mass. Right before the end of Mass, the priest made the announcement that silence should please be kept while exiting the church.

    Immediately when the Mass was over, people began chatting like they were at a garage sale…while still in the church, of course.

    I guess it’s difficult to get these poorly-trained people to break these bad, unfortunate habits.

  41. joebe says:

    Sid: I really like the idea of having the ushers enforce the silence. That way it can be corrected while it’s happening. Sort of like training a dog. It’s the only way.

  42. If you are disturbed by “chatter” in your church and have found no satisfaction by speaking with your parish priest, take it to your bishop.
    Only your voice will change the norm. If you get an unfavorable response, there are many churches

  43. Gil says:

    As in my parish (sorry, it’s a TLM parish), have some-one start (leading) saying aloud the Most Holy Rosary, with others joining in, about twenty minutes prior to the Holy Sacrifice…then deep silence will follow.

  44. shadrach says:

    Appointed Ushers and priests enforcing silence and prompting silence is really the best way to go. ssoldie’s approach (sternness and all) can incite intense anger. I’ve seen it happen, it can disfigure people’s devotion later during mass, because the resulting anger on both sides has no way to be dissipated. Priests have to take the lead on this, they have obvious authority.

  45. Mary B says:

    How timely. This past Sunday was the worst at our church. So many people were chatting including EMHC. I thought about talking to the Pastor and now I think it’s something I really need to do. I’m wondering if our parish is getting too friendly with the big push to have a welcoming committee and have people greet you at the door with a, “hello, how are you?” or “Good Morning glad to see you.”

  46. Bill in Texas says:

    It seems to me that re-instituting silence is Father’s job, reinforced by notes in the bulletin. Ushers can help, but they can’t do it alone, and not at all if Father doesn’t make it clear that they are doing so under his direction. (People dislike the ushers enough as it is, unfortunately. Always making them move over so someone else can sit down. Imagine!)

    “Peer pressure” (as in shushing people, hard looks, etc.) is the least desireable approach. Although … in the chapel during Adoration, I’ve seen a loud “Shush!” work wonders (delivered by a middle-aged lady to an older woman who thought she just had to tell someone else something — loudly — that could just as easily have been communicated outside the Chapel). Now if only we could get the message to the people who think they have to whisper their prayers during Adoration — the whispers being audible everywhere in the chapel.

  47. Supertradmom says:

    Sadly, in our local church, it was the pastor who stopped to talk to people on the way out, who caused the problem. Now, the present priest is trying to change the habit by asking that people remain silent before Mass, hoping it will catch on after Mass. Again, it is the retired people who talk very loudly, who do the most talking.

    Our family tried to pray silently after Mass for a few minutes, and we have noticed a few other families starting to do this. But the majority of people start conversations in the pew as soon as the priest passes through the doors in the back.

  48. Joe Williams says:

    If this repeats what others have said, I apologize, but I simply do not have time to read all the posts.

    I used to notice this often when attending either the Novus Ordo Mass or the Maronite Divine Liturgy. Since I have been regulary attending the TLM for the last 4-5 years, I have never seen a problem with people talking in Church before Mass.

    It was a very frustrating thing both before and after Mass and drove me nearly to distraction more than once. And many is the time that I have seen priest, deacon, etc. encouraging the “show of community.” And there–with the pastor–is where the fix lies. If Father isn’t going to do anything about it–in fact, wants it–then it won’t do any good for you and me to confront people. Better in that case to find a different parish and/or a TLM.

  49. ckdexterhaven says:

    Sorry I’m about to post twice, but I thought of something else. I SO miss just speaking the responsorial Psalm. I can never understand what the singer is saying, or what I am singing in response. This could just be me, but I get a lot more out of it when I hear the responsorial Psalm spoken. Same with the Gloria, (if it’s not going to be in Latin).

    Bill in Texas, I just recently started attending Adoration regularly. I am surprised that a few people have been talking loudly. It’s a 24 hour chapel, there is a HUGE sign before walking in that says “SILENCE”, and still people talk. I think it’s a reflection of our society, the “me, me,” attitude.

  50. Magdalene says:

    When we are ‘church’ and we begin Mass with “Will the church please rise and greet each other” and proceed to sing one of those awful ‘gather songs’ and more about how wonderful we are and when the pastor tells us that Mass is a ‘gathering of the assembly to give thanks’ and the tabernacle is off to the side somewhere….

    well of course you will not have holy silence! The multipurpose space is for US , after all.

  51. Dove says:

    I know of a choir that used to rehearse about an hour before Mass and would stop when people started to arrive. The priest asked them to rehearse longer, right up to the start of Mass,to keep the chatter down, and it works. I think it helps that they are rehearsing Gregorian Chant.

  52. Steve says:

    Unfortunately for me, I no longer assist at the traditional Mass celebrated by a priest with the SSPX. Never had a problem with chatter there.

    My wife (08/01/08 wedding date) is uncomfortable going so I’m left with assisting at a NO Mass celebrated by a diocesan priest. He plays chant on a boom box at the back of the church which seems to keep the chatter to a bare minimum.

  53. Immaculatae says:

    The chatter and lack of silence before and after Mass and even during hours of Adoration are a huge problem at our parish. To be able to pray in thanksgiving and avoid people coming up to me while I am kneeling with my eyes closed after Mass I usually have to leave the Chapel and walk around the school for a while. That doesn’t even stop some people. I finally told one woman that I wanted 20 minutes alone with God after receiving Him and she hasn’t spoken to me since. Fine.

    It doesn’t help any that we have to hear fundraising speakers and others immediately after Holy Communion either. If they could just stop the awful music during Holy Communion it would be a start.

    And the Sacristy. People going in and out , chatting, laughing. Please pray for our Priests. They also need time to prepare for Mass and give Thanksgiving. I don’t see that here.

    Diane said it best.
    “Truly, at it’s core, pre-Mass chatter is one of the greatest manifestations of a loss of awareness and belief in the Real Presence.
    Ditto with post-Mass chatter where decibels rival that of a Mall on Saturday.”

  54. Rob says:

    a good basic reminder of what we are actually supposed to be doing can be found in a pastoral letter by Bp. Murray of Kalamazoo at http://www.dioceseofkalamazoo.org/bishop/pastoral.html Part IX is especially relevant to this post

  55. People don’t genuflect any more. Have you noticed? This is related. If you come in and show respect to the Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, then you are going to be silent and pray. If you are not aware of the Presence of Christ, you take your seat as if at any other kind of entertainment, and in such a mood, your focus has to be on the people around you.

    I go to two OF parishes sometimes, where there are a large number of older people who attend daily Mass. When you talk to them you find that these septegenarians and octogenarians are quite liberal in their beliefs about morality including being pro-contraception and pro-abortion. It seems obvious to me that they are there as cultural Catholics. Of course anyone will treat the sanctuary as a gathering place because he or she is there to meet and greet friends.

  56. Dan says:

    I just came back from a parish mission in which there was Eucharistic Adoration and Benedition. Before the guest speaker began his talk, people were supposed to be in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Instead, there were people, three old ladies in particular, that just carried on as if Jesus wasn’t there in front of them. It’s such a travesty and slap in the face to our Lord.

  57. Geometricus says:

    First communion and weddings are the absolute worst at my parish (where Fr. Z was an associate about 10-11 years ago) which is reasonably silent before regular Sunday mass, but noisy after mass. I (a choir director at the parish) have gone up to the microphones before First Holy Communion masses and announced some version of the following:

    “We welcome all our visitors, family and friends of the first Communicants to the Church of St. Raphael. It is our custom to keep silence before the mass. This is the time for silent prayer for the children receiving First Holy Communion today. Thank you for you cooperation.”

    The announcement has had mixed success. They always quiet down from a very loud roar (like a pre-concert auditorium) to dead but uncomfortable silence immediately, but some years they are back to 60% noise level in 2 minutes, other years they have basically stayed quiet.

    We have yet to have a regularly scheduled EF mass, but a parish close by (Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale) just instituted a weekly EF Mass (at 11:30 and I cant go…grrr, because my choir sings at 11am mass at my parish) May some exposure to the EF restore a hermeneutic of continuity in people’s minds and hearts, and we will have more than just deep and holy silence before mass…we will have deep holy people with prayerful hearts!

  58. Trad Tom says:

    My parish is fairly quiet BEFORE Mass, but turns into a loud, laughing, talking mob after Mass. Several acquaintances who have complained to the pastor were told to transfer to a nearby parish where “everyone is old and the parish will be dying off.”

    Some of the worst “noisemakers” are the choir, which is placed right down in front — next to the tabernacle! I have written to the pastor about this; I received no reply.

    I am old enough to remember when a Catholic church was ALWAYS a quiet, prayer-friendly, reverent place. My family often stayed after Mass to make our own personal thanksgivings. It is impossible to do that in my church today.

  59. prier says:

    My parish church is horrible when it comes to pre Mass chatter.

    I’ve noticed its mainly middle aged women too. Sometimes Mass can be a real occasion of sin (as if that were possible). Whenever I attend Mass at my parish I always find myself angry and judging others who are failing to act appropriately.

    Good news is today after class I found this beautiful Church a short walk from my school. Its in the heart of the city, has 6 Masses every day (six!) and in between the Mass there’s exposition of the blessed sacrament, recitation of the roasry or a priest preaching to the congregation. There’s always people in the church, usually businessmen or students like me.

    Not all is perfect, today before Mass a mother and her three daughters decided to sit infront of me and have a nice conversation about the clothes they’d just purchased. I ended up moving.

  60. Glen says:

    Moving does not necessarily quiet the chatter. Last Sunday my schedule forced me to attend an early NO Mass. Behind me sat a mother, her three children and I believe their grandparents. The children chatted and played during Mass. Perhaps I should have turned to them and said something, but I decided to make a bolder move. During the Offeratory hymn I stood up and crossed over to the other side of the aisle. There was no effect. The children were even chatting during the consecration. As others have stated, this is common at the NO but extremely uncommon at a Tridentine Mass. Coincidence?

  61. Ellen says:

    Oh how I long for silence! The Mass I normally go to is filled with chatterers and I have resorted to kneeling with my fingers in my ears trying to blot out the sound.

    There is a an adoration chapel very near the church and I often stay there until just before Mass, but the trouble then is that I end up kneeling next to a hand holder (which I hate).

    There are times when I have to go to a monastary about 20 miles away for some peace and quiet.

  62. Ohio Annie says:

    I’m fortunate. I found a parish where the tabernacle is still centered in the sanctuary and people genuflect and pray before Mass and after Mass. There is lots of statuary to help you pray. When people forget about silence, the pastor reminds us in the bulletin.

    The pastor has to be faithful and encouraging of belief in the Real Presence (it’s sad to have to say that) for the parishioners to be faithful too.

  63. AAJD says:

    One thing we’ve done in our Eastern Catholic parish is to have a reader or subdeacon chant the hours (First and Third), beginning about 15 minutes before liturgy begins. This usually forces people to be quiet, and gives them psalmody and prayers to focus on.

  64. Aaron says:

    I wonder if this partly reflects the multitasking and short attention spans of people today. Several times an evening, people immerse themselves in serious drama of some sort or another, only to be knocked out of it every ten minutes for a few distracting commercials. Then they drop right back into the drama. Cell phones hanging on our ears mean that no matter what sort of quiet activity we’re engaged in, we can pop in and out of conversations with others at any moment.

    So bringing that lifestyle into church means we can chat with our friends until the bell rings, and then immediately switch gears into “Mass mode,” and then switch back to chat mode as soon as it’s over, with no harm done.

    It doesn’t actually work very well, and probably doesn’t work as well as people think it does outside of church either, but they think it does.

  65. Kimberly says:

    I really appreciate your suggestion Sid, that is, if you could find ushers brave enough. While on the subject, can anyone tell me where the idea for “greeters” came from? Silly me, I always thought we came to church to greet God.

  66. fortradition says:

    It seems that all who have posted their grievances here, must belong to my Church as the grievances stated are collectively all that goes on in my Church. There are five other Catholic Churches in my area where I can attend Mass, but the problem with talking in Church is still the same. Last year, I found a wonderful article on EWTN’s web site about “Talking in Church” and why it is really a sin. I printed it and placed it in the pews and on the window sills in the Church hoping this would give a gentle message to those who would read it. Unfortunately, there is still no difference. Our Church sounds like a bingo parlor before and after Mass. Churches are for prayer and the Mass and sacraments, but our uncatechised Church doesn’t seem to remember this. Oh, and the Pastor is the worst offender.

  67. Greg the Beachcomber says:

    Um, aren’t parish halls built for socializing?

    And how I wish the chatter was limited to before and after Mass! I attended two EF Masses at another parish and was struck with the silence, reverence and worship of the Mass, but decided to split my Sundays between my local (2 1/2 blocks) OF parish and the new (15 miles) EF parish. On my first Sunday back at my OF parish, the chatter was non-stop. While I was in line for Communion, recollecting myself, the woman behind me said to her friend in a conversational voice, “don’t you love the way the sun comes through the stained glass windows this time of day?” It’s been three years, and I haven’t been back.

    I’ve since come to realize how liberal my old parish was (and have learned more about my faith than I had in a lifetime), but back then it was just my parish and I’d seen worse things in other parishes.