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Reverence, Silence & Respect In Parishes


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This is why a coffee hour in the parish hall (or wherever is appropriate) is so important.

Because when people are chatting and visiting -- that really is important for the life of the parish. It really is. This is how we get bound together in a community.

"But that isn't the place for it!" many of you will say.

Fine. No problem.

But then we need to be deliberate about creating those other spaces where it IS appropriate.

I visit different churches a lot. I have NEVER seen a not-Catholic church that didn't regularly have coffee hour in between services, every week. This is absolutely routine and expected part of life as a church community.

From what I've seen, this is rare indeed for Catholic churches.

When I was a kid, at our parish, we had something like that maybe a few times a year.

My aunt's parish put a real emphasis on doing such things to create community -- they did it once a month. And that was considered extraordinary!

Yes yes yes -- reverence and silence and being aware of the transcendence of God is critically important! But important things are happening when people are chatting and visiting too and very often it seems that Catholic churches do a bad job of making space for that. And so it is unsurprising that it ends up spilling over into places where it doesn't belong.

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[quote name='krissylou' timestamp='1303934276' post='2233954']
This is why a coffee hour in the parish hall (or wherever is appropriate) is so important.

Because when people are chatting and visiting -- that really is important for the life of the parish. It really is. This is how we get bound together in a community.

"But that isn't the place for it!" many of you will say.

Fine. No problem.

But then we need to be deliberate about creating those other spaces where it IS appropriate.

I visit different churches a lot. I have NEVER seen a not-Catholic church that didn't regularly have coffee hour in between services, every week. This is absolutely routine and expected part of life as a church community.

From what I've seen, this is rare indeed for Catholic churches.

When I was a kid, at our parish, we had something like that maybe a few times a year.

My aunt's parish put a real emphasis on doing such things to create community -- they did it once a month. And that was considered extraordinary!

Yes yes yes -- reverence and silence and being aware of the transcendence of God is critically important! But important things are happening when people are chatting and visiting too and very often it seems that Catholic churches do a bad job of making space for that. And so it is unsurprising that it ends up spilling over into places where it doesn't belong.
[/quote]

My current parish has a coffee and donuts get-together in the parish hall after each Mass in the morning. So does my old parish. :)

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[quote name='MaterMisericordiae' timestamp='1303935787' post='2233962']
My current parish has a coffee and donuts get-together in the parish hall after each Mass in the morning. So does my old parish. :)
[/quote]


Great! Three cheers for them!

:clapping:

In the parishes I've seen, which have been a lot over the years (I am an old fluffy air extraction), over a few different states, this is unusual.

Maybe I've just been really unlucky and hitting the wrong ones.

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[quote name='Totally Franciscan' timestamp='1303870860' post='2233773']
I have found it nearly impossible to pray at my parish church before OR after Mass. People just chat away, laugh, visit; one would think it was a protestant congregation having "fellowship". So fed up was I that I emailed the pastor (I really don't do well face to face when I am boiling angry) and told him of my consternation at not being able to pray and of the lack of reverence in the church congregation as a whole. I didn't hear from him, but the following Sunday, I noticed a tiny little box at the bottom of the last page of the bulletin saying, "Silence is appreciated for those trying to pray". That was it. Guess what? It did absolutely nothing. The visiting and conversations continue at a frantic pace. Makes me want to cry. :wall:
[/quote]

Why can't Priests just vocally announce to everyone to exit the main Chapel if they are going to chat? I agree that places should offer a separate place to socialize, as when/where else do parishioners get to better know each other?

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[quote name='krissylou' timestamp='1303941176' post='2234007']
Great! Three cheers for them!

:clapping:

In the parishes I've seen, which have been a lot over the years (I am an old fluffy air extraction), over a few different states, this is unusual.

Maybe I've just been really unlucky and hitting the wrong ones.
[/quote]

I don't think I've ever seen a Church in my diocese not have some sort of socializing event after the Mass. Our parish is all about welcoming and the new pastor wants people to think of their Church as their home. He is always emphasizing "togetherness" and participation in Church activities. :)

Edited by MaterMisericordiae
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InPersonaChriste

My parish has frequently addressed the matters of modesty. A lot of people are snobby about it, but the Priest is really insightful. Mind you.. Now their are girls coming to mass dressing badly on purpose just to piss him off. It never works, but if you are dressed immodestly and come up for communion he will not give it to you because he has to stare down your shirt (we all take communion on the tongue kneeling) so he just passes over the people who have dressed immodestly. I think it is fine because in doing so he is avoiding a sin against chastity for him, and the woman is then aware of a temptation she has created for other men.

Its never happened to me! :saint:

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[quote name='InPersonaChriste' timestamp='1303952426' post='2234084']
My parish has frequently addressed the matters of modesty. A lot of people are snobby about it, but the Priest is really insightful. Mind you..[b] Now their are girls coming to mass dressing badly on purpose just to piss him off.[/b] It never works, but if you are dressed immodestly and come up for communion he will not give it to you because he has to stare down your shirt (we all take communion on the tongue kneeling) so he just passes over the people who have dressed immodestly. I think it is fine because in doing so he is avoiding a sin against chastity for him, and the woman is then aware of a temptation she has created for other men.

Its never happened to me! :saint:
[/quote]

That really is pathetic. So many young girls have loss the sense of modesty because of our society telling them that they have to dress provocatively to attract men. I applaud the priest for standing up for chastity and purity. I'm sure he will cause others to find a different Church (one where they don't hear that all the time), but it really is sad how society is nowadays. No one has any respect for themselves or anyone else. :cry2:

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[quote name='JoyfulLife' timestamp='1303942142' post='2234011']
Why can't Priests just vocally announce to everyone to exit the main Chapel if they are going to chat? I agree that places should offer a separate place to socialize, as when/where else do parishioners get to better know each other?
[/quote]


I had a priest once dedicate a good portion of his homily to silence in church, especially after Mass - and to stay and give a thanksgiving. So some people literally ran out after Mass because they couldn't talk. Next Mass, same priest, same people, after Mass, they are all talking in the Church again. Poor priest was rather defeated looking. I find the old people are usually the worst, like they feel they are entitled to talk due to their age, and sometimes their cultural catholic identity. arrrghh end of rant

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Our parish priest has erected a sign written from Jesus' perspective - "If you would like to chat in here, please chat only to Me!" - but it gets ignored. :( I try so hard to control my anger when the church is abuzz with conversation right after Mass, but I can't help feeling that people are being selfish - some of us want to pray, and they're talking in the very place where we should be able to pray quietly.

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[quote name='JoyfulLife' timestamp='1304008751' post='2234266']
Wow. People can be soooo stubborn. Not good.
[/quote]

I don't think it's so much as stubborn (or self-ish or malicious)... I just think it's force of habit. Preaching about it once or twice from the pulpit is great... but not enough to get people out of the habit. Half the time I can't remember what Father preached last Sunday. It's also a natural impulse... you're walking down the aisle and see a neighbor/friend/whoever and immediate reaction is to say hello.

I'm not trying to excuse the behavior, by any means... just to point out that it's a natural impulse guided by habit and that, like any (bad) habit, it needs continual reminders and catechesis to overcome it.

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  • 9 years later...

Removing the rail and taking communion in the hand has done a lot in conveying that the Eucharist in general and Mass in particular is no longer sacred. I also think that removing Latin was a big mistake too.

mothers allowing daughters to wear short shorts and reveling tops at mass should be admonished, gently mind you, but they should be made aware.  Other forms of modern dress such as jeans and t-shirts, IMHO would be ok, as long as the jeans are neat and clean(no ripped jeans) and t-shirts are plain and simple, no advertising. It would be better to return to dresses, nothing fancy mind you, and I am going to try to do so, more often.  However wearing jeans in wintertime or capris in very hot weather is not necessarily a bad thing w/an appropriate shirt.

and absolutely, positively no leggings under any circumstances. I get the comfort and ease of them, they are just not right in church
 

I wore the veil for many years until it stopped in the early 70’s. Unfortunately, this younger generation automatically jumps to the conclusion that the Catholic veil is the same as a “burka”... I kid you not.  We have, parents and the Church, failed miserably in teaching our Catholic faith and traditions. 
Honestly it’s the culture..... when I was younger our Mother’s showed us and trained us on how to dress appropriately for every occasion, school, church, Sunday dinner at Grandmom’s, hanging out with friends, or attending a dance (is there such a thing anymore). Many mothers have failed their children, especially their daughters. Have you seen any of the prom dresses they allow their daughters to wear? Your daughter,  is going to a dance, not walking the runway or competing with a Kardashian. 
what has happened to us, when did modesty become a sin in the eyes of most people, especially women?

 

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My parish attracts a range of folks, from some of the wealthiest people in town to some of the economically poorest. They wear what they have--and they are children of God and we are grateful to call them brother and sister. Seriously, in a time when fewer and fewer people are going to church, is clothing the most important issue? [Also, "modesty" is not just a woman thing, although it often treated that way--what about men?] For some people, this may be their only social contact during the week. In my parish, in normal (non-pandemic) times, the sign of peace is long and joyful--and is a form of embodied prayer.  We also have coffee hour after Mass every week. Being part of the community of the people of God is the horizontal plank of the Cross. It's not all about the vertical (just me and God) plank. The Cross is both.

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SicutColumba
10 minutes ago, Nunsuch said:

My parish attracts a range of folks, from some of the wealthiest people in town to some of the economically poorest. They wear what they have--and they are children of God and we are grateful to call them brother and sister. Seriously, in a time when fewer and fewer people are going to church, is clothing the most important issue? [Also, "modesty" is not just a woman thing, although it often treated that way--what about men?] For some people, this may be their only social contact during the week. In my parish, in normal (non-pandemic) times, the sign of peace is long and joyful--and is a form of embodied prayer.  We also have coffee hour after Mass every week. Being part of the community of the people of God is the horizontal plank of the Cross. It's not all about the vertical (just me and God) plank. The Cross is both.

It’s funny that you say this, because I was going to say that a good percentage of my parish is below the poverty line and yet pretty much everyone manages to show up to mass dressed appropriately. Not in fancy or expensive clothing, but respectfully and tastefully. When I was in kid all we ever got was from thrift stores and what we wore to mass was used but we were never inappropriately dressed. My parents recognized the importance of the mass and we as kids realized that the sacraments are not casual affairs and we don’t go dressed the same way as any other event.  Whenever our priests address modesty issues from the pulpit, they talk to both men and women about modesty. Clothing is a hugely important element of social interaction, and that includes going to mass. If a priest dons intricate vestments for the mass, shouldn’t that indicate to us that we, who participate in the sacrifice, should at least try our best to dress in a respectful and not distracting manner? By all means, everyone is welcome at mass, no matter how well or poorly they’re dressed, but the mass and the sacraments are the most important events of anyone’s life and should be treated as such. 

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