ASK FATHER: Timing of announcements during Holy Mass

From a reader…


My parish has been assigned a parochial administrator. Since he has arrived, we have had nearly weekly post-homily announcements. What I mean is that our priests finish their homily and the parochial administrator or someone from the finance committee then says something like “we will be reading a letter from the Archbishop” or “we will be reporting on…” after the Eucharist. The sub-text is “don’t walk out! We have something to say.”

It is very distracting but the last thing our priests need is critique so I have held my peace. Is it OK to do that? I want to know if it is just my annoyance or whether a post-homily announcement is not supposed to be done.

Alas, we live in a fallen world.  As St. Augustine explains in City of God announcements during Mass are a result of original sin.  No… wait… it’s government that’s the result of original sin.   You get my drift.

Ideally, we wouldn’t have to make announcements.  People would do their own diligent inquiries – because the love their faith and their parish – by looking at a truly well-maintained website which the parish keeps constantly updated.   Parishioners would be texting and calling each other about the exciting things the parish and diocese are up to.  Holy Mass would be announcement free because – out of sincere interest and love for everything having to do with the life of faith – everyone takes and carefully reads the bulletin which would certainly be lovingly prepared by the parish staff with riveting information.

Or, because of original sin, we can have announcements.

As for post sermon announcements, my choice is directly after the Gospel and subsequent Prayer for Vocations and before I sermonize.   I have on rare occasions slipped something in after the sermon that I had forgotten before or directly after Mass and before the Salve Regina but only if realllly important.  Memory lapses are because of original sin, too.

Also, I don’t pause dramatically and meaningfully after my own sermon, as if to say by the silence that I impose, “Now you can contemplate my amazing insights.”

Announcements and silences can both be punishments for original sin.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Discerning Altar Boy says:

    As much as I hate this practice outlined below, it is worth noting that the timing of announcements is regulated by GIRM.
    “90. To the Concluding Rites belong the following: a) brief announcements, should they be necessary
    166. When the Prayer after Communion is concluded, brief announcements should be made to the people, if there are any.”

  2. Grant M says:

    In my parish Church both the regular parish announcements and the wedding banns are given between the post communion prayer and the blessing. (Every marriage to be solemnized in the parish Church is announced on three successive Sundays.) I think I might prefer it if the announcements came before or after the sermon.

    [Ah yes. Announcement of the banns. That should be restored.]

  3. Thorfinn says:

    We have minimal announcements at our TLM, either none or occasionally a few sentences, and I have not missed them a bit, regardless of original sin.

    I once had a priest give rambling unstructured announcements and commentary before the closing prayer that lasted 5 minutes and the congregation got antsy….then 10 and I became annoyed…. stretching to 15 and I collapsed in silent laughter at the absurdity until he finally concluded. But it occurred to me later on reflection that the priest shared so much because he was simply lonely – something to think about.

  4. Kukla65th says:

    I am so glad someone asked about this issue. In the Novus Ordo Mass, it really bothers me that announcements are to precede the final blessing. It would seem just as easy to end the Mass and then have announcements about all sorts of things prior to closing hymn or something. Something just doesn’t feel right to me about having the announcements before the final blessing. I think this every time I go to a Mass where this happens. I understand the need for announcements but what a distraction with spiritual aspects of the Mass left to finish.

  5. James says:

    Aquinas on government before the fall:

    “The condition of man in the state of innocence was not more exalted than the condition of the angels. But among the angels some rule over others; and so one order is called that of ‘Dominations.’ Therefore it was not beneath the dignity of the state of innocence that one man should be subject to another.”

  6. maternalView says:

    At the church I attend regularly the announcements are made before dismissal. But sometimes the priest forgets and it comes after dismissal but before the prayer to St. Michael and the music which I prefer. And if we can remain standing because they are brief then all the better.

    At my parish the pastor, if not presiding, comes out and make the announcements before dismissal. The absolute worse is a nearby parish that has various parishioners get up there and make announcements and speak about the glorious and exciting happenings that week.

  7. thomistking says:

    Better after the homily than between communion and dismissal! This is perhaps the single most distracting thing I have encountered liturgically well informed priests doing. Would it be licit for a priest in the novus ordo to simply make the announcements at the homily, and then not make at the prescribed time (presumably one can say what they want at the homily, and then not make announcements at the end because they have already been made)?

  8. LeeGilbert says:

    “Also, I don’t pause dramatically and meaningfully after my own sermon, as if to say by the silence that I impose, “Now you can contemplate my amazing insights.”

    Well, assuming that it was a good sermon, which you preached, after all, in the name of Jesus Christ, that it was salted with Scripture ( the amazing thoughts of God), and was permeated by the wisdom of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, why not emphasize the importance of that wisdom and allow the congregation a few moments to let it sink in? If you don’t think it was that important, why should we?

    It amuses me, though, when a priest sits for fifteen seconds after his homily and then pops up to intone the Creed. So, Father, your homily was only worth fifteen seconds of rumination? Then let’s forget the whole thing!

    There is a kind of very prevalent “who am I?” syndrome here that really gets in the way of the Lord, imho. When I first became a lector I read somewhere of a ballet instructor instructing her students, “Thrust your chest out. Take up your space. ” Mutatis mutandi, lectors, take your time. Read slowly and distinctly. Altar servers, slow down. Act like you know what you’re doing (especially if you do not). Homilists, speak with the authority of God (1 Peter 4:11), and signify that you have done so.

    This also is in its way a recovery of the tradition, for although I do not remember the priests of my youth sitting after their homilies, I do remember them speaking with the authority of God, addressing our sins thunderously and knowledgeably, for in those days they used to hear many confessions. “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and declare unto my people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1). This they did.

    Moreover, they were far more skilled in rhetoric and in delivery, on the whole, speaking now almost in a whisper, with an entire congregation straining to catch every word, now fulminating in high dudgeon, Moses coming down from the mountain. But there was far more to it than rhetorical pyrotechnics. They were lamps bright and burning, showing us the way, a spiritual force nourished, I am convinced, by the prayers, sacrifices and disciplined lives of their people. We simply do not give our priests and homilists that kind of support anymore.

    Nevertheless, Father, with all that you put into a sermon give us a little time to absorb it, in that quasi-timeless realm that is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

  9. ABird says:

    I agree that in an ideal world announcements would not be necessary except in extraordinary circumstances. However, when announcements are made I believe they are best placed during the concluding rites as specified in the GIRM or after the main body of the sermon. Since the sermon is so often at least tangentially related to the readings for the day I find that it is easier to maintain concentration and reflection if the sermon directly follows the readings. Interrupting this connection with announcements often feels very jarring.

    If I could rewrite the GIRM I would note that announcements should not be made during mass at all, and instead should be made either immediately before the introductory rite or immediately after the concluding rite.

  10. frjim4321 says:

    The neighbors to the south do the announcements during VIDEO after COMMUNION! After the last communicant, the lights dim and the screen descends. Then the pastor, or whoever, deliver their digital announcements. Then the screen goes up, the lights return to their original setting and then, and ONLY then do they do the Prayer After Communion. (It’s the same screen they use for the teenybopper mass on Sunday evening.)

    We try to limit our announcements, but they can be a bit like kudzu. Ideally, we refer to the one or two most important things, and remind everyone to take and read a bulletin.

  11. Josephus Corvus says:

    I don’t get the whole idea of embedding announcement within the Mass, whether it’s around the sermon time or after Communion. At my NO parish (which would have no problem doing something goofy if they wanted), the priest comes out before Mass starts and makes the announcements. Then the people stand and greet each other (ugh!) while he walks to the back to start Mass. At least the advertisements for whatever they are selling aren’t being made in the middle of Mass. Haven’t really looked at my watch, but I would say the announcements start at “Mass Time” so its not like the people who walk in at the last minute are missing anything.

  12. msc says:

    Father mentions electronic means, but we should not forget that a great many older people still do not use the internet, e-mail, Twitter, etc. Paper bulletins should be maintained for a while yet. [Which is why I mentioned them.]

  13. Andrew says:

    There is no such thing as a post-communion in the post-conciliar church. It is quieter in the street than inside the sanctuary (better described as a “stage”). For silent thanksgiving try the parking lot.

  14. Carrie says:

    Announcements are ridiculous and unnecessary. They are almost always repetitive of what’s in the bulletin. If we didn’t spoon feed the news to parishioners, maybe they’d learn to read the bulletin. A rare brief announcement like, “Don’t forget to stick around for our pancake breakfast today!” Or, “Make sure to stop by the youth group’s ‘pumpkin patch’ after Mass and support their mission trip fundraiser.” But more than 10 second announcement is disruptive to the flow and solemnity of the Mass, and pointless. It’s Mass. Not a meeting.

  15. Rob83 says:

    In practice the announcements usually come at the start of the sermon nowadays, though once they did have their home in that awkward space following communion before the dismissal, when a sizable number of the people had already absconded to the Great American Parish Parking Lot Dash.

    My preference is to either do it outside of Mass, preferably beforehand, or just instruct the people over a number of weeks that all information is in the bulletin and on the parish website, and it will not be mentioned in Mass going forward. The bulletin is also the proper location for the thanking of the army of assistants, if deemed necessary, rather than extending the dismissal by 5 minutes attempting to include all the people and contributions in a list longer than the litany of the saints…

  16. hwriggles4 says:

    About four or five years ago, our old pastor decided to do the announcements before the Mass begins. A lector spends a short time on announcements before the Mass. One reason the pastor started this was several parishioners and the pastor felt that announcements after communion distracted from prayer time after receiving the Holy Eucharist. Our current Pastoral Administrator continues this practice.

    By the way, the Parish Parking Lot Dash is not just limited to Catholics – our Protestant brethren do this as well. However, there are certain Masses that I choose not to attend very often because at least 20% of the congregation does the Parish Parking Lot Dash.

  17. hwriggles4 says:

    About marriage banns:

    Bishop Gracida had a story in his autobiography (For real, I read this book last year) about the importance of the banns. Around 1970, Fr. Gracida was a pastor of a parish in Miami (in 1961, Fr. Gracida was incardinated there) and after reading the banns, a lady in the Parish approached him. The lady recognized the name of the man, and said he had lived in another state and was married. Being a good priest, Fr. Gracida investigated, and yes, the man was found to still be married. Thanks to a good priest for taking the time to investigate – I could see where an incident could sweep through the cracks.

    For what it’s worth, a good priest who does this spares heartache later on, not to mention saves the courts time and money. The tribunal was also spared from getting backed up with more annulments.

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