Pastor's Corner 022413

posted Feb 20, 2013, 7:12 AM by Music Director

Returning to the topic of “Church etiquette” which the Pastoral Council has requested me to address, I’d like to share some thoughts on behavior and activities that cause distraction and annoyance as expressed by parishioners over the years, not just here but in virtually all the parishes I’ve served.  Because of the nature of Catholic worship, concentration is vital and easily disrupted.  Here’s how all of us can not only prevent this from happening but actually contribute to the enhancement of the worship experience.

Be on time.  People arriving after worship begins is the Number 1 cause of distraction.  Most people wouldn’t think of arriving after a movie or stage show has begun, but many seem to have no qualms about arriving late for Mass!  Any movement besides that which is part of the ritual will always cause distraction which disrupts concentration.  It has been said that as long as one is in church by the Gospel, or even the Offertory, one is “on time” and the Mass “counts.”  The Mass may “count,” butone is late if s/he arrives after the opening Procession has begun.  While it sometimes cannot be helped, faithful Catholics make every effort to arrive before Mass begins.  This not only avoids being a distraction to others but also helps us to quiet ourselves, spiritually prepare for what we are about to celebrate, and therefore get as much out of the Mass as possible. 

Avoid unnecessary conversation.  If you need to converse with someone before Mass, kindly do so in the Gathering Space or outside.  Others in the church are trying to prepare themselves, and a quiet atmosphere is necessary for this.  Once Mass begins, everyone’s attention should be focused on the Sanctuary and the ministers leading our worship.  Conversing with someone not only distracts that person but all those nearby.  Please keep in mind also that some people like to offer prayers of thanksgiving or light an intentional/devotional candle after Mass and appreciate a quiet atmosphere in which to do this.  Please be aware of your surroundings, and if you notice someone nearby is in prayer kindly invite those with whom you wish to converse to join you in the Gathering Space or outside.  This is especially important in the area near our Blessed Mother, St. Joseph and Infant of Prague shrines.

Go to the bathroom BEFORE you leave home.  This is a big problem here because of the location of our restrooms.  People, particularly children, traversing the aisles during Mass are a huge distraction.  Of course, this sometimes cannot be helped.  If you must use the restroom during Mass, please use the aisles along the walls of the church so you will be as little a distraction as possible.  However, please do not ever leave your seat during the Homily or the Eucharistic Prayer unless it is anabsolute emergency.  Rather, wait until the Profession of Faith begins or the praying of the Lord’s Prayer. 

Use the “cry room.”  Many families go immediately to the enclosed room in the back of the Church when they arrive for Mass.  This is fine, but certainly not mandatory.  If you choose a place in the main sections and your infant, toddler or older child becomes distressed and you can’t quiet him/her, please take your child to the “cry room.”  Once s/he has settled down, you can return to your place at an appropriate time (never during the Homily or Eucharistic Prayer, as noted above) or you can remain in the “cry room.”  Please note that we actually have 2 such rooms.  If one is already full, you are welcome to use the other. 

I hope these practical rules will enhance everyone’s experience of worship here at St. Charles.  If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to make them known. 


In His Love,

Fr. Mike