Tips For Priests

Here is a fun and useful…

Tip For Priests!

I occasionally post about some poor priest whose phone erupts during Mass or in the confessional.  By “erupt”, I mean Father forgot either to leave the phone in the sacristy (best) or to switch off the ringer (acceptable).  The only thing that makes the phone going off (usually a mistake) worse is when he answers.

That said, I was in car with a priest friend recently and, … I heard coughing.

There is nothing unusual about coughing, for priests do, occasionally, cough.

The coughing was coming neither from me nor my priest friend at the wheel.

No, there wasn’t anyone hiding in the backseat.

Father explained that sound was his ringtone.   One cough for a text message, extended coughing for a call.

He added that this cough-tone had saved him more than once while saying Mass.

I offer this tip, to my brother priests (and maybe a bishop or two).

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Tina in Ashburn says:

    Okay. Grumpy me, I laughed outright at this one. How funny. And how awesomely creative. A coughing ringtone. This priest is a genius. Love it.

  2. Timothy Mulligan says:

    Of course, then he’ll have to explain why he’s carrying a little man with bronchitis in his pocket.

  3. Charles E Flynn says:

    Usually, technology this advanced is quite expensive.

  4. mamajen says:

    That is hilarious!

  5. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    ROFL! Brilliant!

  6. That’s not just helpful for priests! That could save many a student. ;) I can see it being useful for people in important meetings or on dates too. I’d do it myself if I weren’t so attached to my Boccherini Stabat Mater ringtone already…
    Perhaps in the future though. Consider it filed away under life protips.

  7. rcg says:

    But, Father, but Father! What if you ‘cassock dial’ someone during confession??????

    [In that case, turn your head and cough.]

  8. Toan says:

    I used to have a coughing ringtone, but it had one flaw: It started out with a very loud, throat-clearing type of cough. When it went off, it was so dramatic and shocking that any reasonable man would turn his head and make sure everything was OK.

    So, when you make your coughing ringtone, be sure to start out quietly.

  9. Random Friar says:

    If I were a less holy friar, I might be tempted to replace the cough with a different bodily sound.

    If I were less holy.

    [As my priest friend said, “The cough is the most dignified body sound.”]

  10. frjim4321 says:

    I keep my BlackBerry in my room when I am at mass. It’s too much of a distraction.

    I am also VERY careful to not take the wireless mike into the confessional during communal penance.

  11. frjim4321: If you have a cool ringtone…. I’ll buy you a whiskey sour.

  12. robtbrown says:

    Why does a priest have a phone with him when he’s saying mass? Or the Confessional?

    This happened a few years ago. I went to a nearby parish for Confession, which is available before the Sat even mass. In front of me in line was woman I knew fairly well. She went in, and 5 minutes went by, then 10, then 15, then 20. Finally, there wasn’t enough time for anyone else. Thinking that she was in there telling her life story, I left steaming.

    The next day after mass she came to me and apologized. Said that in the middle of her confession the priest’s cell phone went off, and he spent all that time talking on the phone.

  13. robtbrown says:

    Should be: Or in the Confessional.

  14. Rouxfus says:

    Another reason cell phones are not prudent accessories in the confessional: National intelligence agencies will certainly have, if they do not have already, the ability, to employ mobile phones as discreet remote listening devices.

    [I hope you have your bug out bag ready.]

  15. michelelyl says:

    My Pastor is frequently the only priest available for last rites for the dying in our town so he leaves his phone on for confession. I’ve heard him quietly answer and say, “I’ll be there as soon as possible” to attend a death. I think that a dying person is more in need of absolution than I am….he leaves his phone in the sanctuary for Mass, but attend to it immediately afterwards. Some people think he’s being rude by rushing off after Mass, but I know it’s a hospital, nursing home or death call. He had two deaths during the Triduum…and I live in a small town. He’s very dilligent about those who are ready to change their lives when it matters most and confess before dying. I don’t mind his phone- I think it’s admirable.

  16. edmontonn18 says:

    Haha, this is great. I’m a Master of Ceremonies and although I religiously leave my mobile phone in the sacristy during Mass, I recently set my ringtone to sound like the Sanctus bell, just to be on the safe side.

    Meanwhile, I’m trying to find the rubric in the 1962 Roman Missal that permits the priest to leave the altar during the canon so he can physically remove the parishioner whose phone has gone off – yet again – during the consecration. I’m sure the rubric is there, I just need to locate it :-)

  17. frjim4321 says:

    frjim4321: If you have a cool ringtone…. I’ll buy you a whiskey sour.


    Now that’s a drink you hardly ever hear about any more – but they are SO good!

    Pastor where I grew up had the world’s best recipe and included powdered sugar, when blended had a delicious froth on top.

    I think I have some Black Velvet around someplace . . .

  18. irishgirl says:

    A ‘coughing’ ring tone? First time I’ve heard that….kind of funny, though. Is there a ‘sneezing’ one?
    Well, I guess it’s better than having the Marvin Gaye song ‘Sexual Healing’. Heard about that on the BBC World News Service a couple of months ago. Seems that someone had it as his ringtone and the phone went off at a wedding in church (presumably an Anglican one). Don’t think it was the minister’s cell (or ‘mobile’ as the Brits say)-probably a member of the congregation.
    Nearly fell out of bed laughing-I listen to the BBC on my portable radio overnight.

  19. JaneC says:

    I used to belong to a parish where a strict no Sanctus bell policy was enforced. After a couple of glasses of wine with the young (and relatively powerless in that respect) priest, we joked about having a ringtone that sounded like a bell and calling or texting each other during Mass so that the ringtone would go off at the right time. Of course it wasn’t really feasible and we never did it, but it was fun to speculate.

  20. TZ says:

    “Of course, then he’ll have to explain why he’s carrying a little man with bronchitis in his pocket.”

    Too funny!

  21. coeyannie says:

    I have been in the confessional when 1) the priests phone rang and 2) his pager went off. The priest with the ringing phone said “go ahead”. I was somewhat rattled and proceeded to forget everything. The priest with the pager said, “I have to take this call”, so, I proceeded to twiddle my thumbs while he sat there taking the call, and because there is only one side to the confessional and no slide door, I was trying not to eavesdrop. NO PHONES IN THE CONFESSIONAL!!! The priests didn’t have cell phones when I was growing up and everything went just fine, thanks.

  22. Giuseppe says:

    A Baptist woman I know has a ringtone that says “Amen”. She said that if she forgot to turn it off during Sunday service, it wouldn’t seem too out of place.

  23. Rosevean says:

    My (Anglican) husband keeps joking that he’s going to change his phone to the sound of jingling bells – just like during the liturgy of the Eucharist…

  24. mike cliffson says:

    Hmmm – and who ever fell for the MSM meme of Priests as A milksops B stuuupid!
    But remember the old epitaph on the tombstone:
    It was his cough as carried ‘im off
    It was his coffin they carried ‘im off in.

  25. Volanges says:

    Father’s cell phone rang during the first reading Easter morning. He looked at it and turned it off but he just couldn’t resist cracking up the congregation a few minutes later when the reading was over “The person whose cell phone rang should be ashamed of not having turned it off! And that would be me.”

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