View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Respect at Mass

A post over at SFOMom got me thinking about people who leave Mass early at my parish.

Some folks head for the door right after Communion. Even more leave as the final hymn is being sung.

It could be in a few cases there are real emergencies that force them to leave early. But in most cases it's too regular to be an emergency, and I've noticed some of the same people doing it week after week.

I consider that disrespectful to the choir that's leading the music, to the priest who's celebrating the Mass, to the community they are a part of - and, most importantly, to God. You can't spend four more minutes with God? Getting out of the parking lot fast takes precedence over the Lord?

I occasionally attend another parish on Sundays. A while back, the pastor made a passing comment about people leaving early. It was clearly an issue he had addressed before, so he didn't dwell on it. But the point was clear.

Since then I've realized when I attend that parish I see very few people leave before the final hymn is over. Some people even kneel back down and say a few prayers. Also, there are not a lot of people milling and talking in the church: They wait until they are in the hall.

It helps when the priest speaks up, leads, reminds. By his words he can help establish a spirit of respect and reverence. He doesn't have to be shrill or beat people over the head. It can be a few reminders. Something in the bulletin. Maybe a homily on behavior at Mass?

And while we're at it - maybe there needs to be more said about not showing up late all the time (would you do that to a business meeting, or to your boss's house?), about dressing properly at Mass (not like you're on the way to the gym or to mow the lawn, or wearing low-cut revealing tops, etc.), or about not sitting there chewing away at gum the whole Mass, or about turning and talking with neighbors every time there's a "break" (Father's praying, or the choir is singing, or the rest of the congregation is on the way up for Communion).

It's God's House. Show some respect. Show some leadership.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It might be in some instances that people do not want to wait five minutes for someone to come up to the pulpit and read through every event taking place in the parish that is already listed in the bulletin. It could also be that people do not want to sit through the invitation for children to come up and receive little gift bags and their weekly children's bulletin. It could also be not wanting to sit through the "who is having an anniversary?" routine that is common at some city parishes. In these instances, if the time after Communion were restored to prayer instead of hoopla, there might be more people who will stick around.

But then again, there are people who can't wait to get out the door now that they perceive their Sunday obligation as being fulfilled.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Our parish doesn't really do all that, certainly not regulalry. A few anouncements sometimes. But that doesn't explain the dash during the final hymn. Or the inappropriate clthes. or the talking, etc.

5:32 PM  

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