Can't change 50+ years in an instant Father,Regards, Kenneth.
Other than direct comment, there is little one can do with adults. Children, on the other hand, can easily be taught to behave if it is done by the priest as part of their First Holy Communion course. I often have sixty or seventy under-10s in the church, and they don't make a sound. Their parents, however, are another matter. At our out-station, we tried asking for quiet in the church five minutes before Mass: the signal being the lighting of the candles. It really worked quite well. In the main church, the problem is accentuated every September when families start appearing in order to get their children into the FHC course; one has to begin all over again, because they really don't know how to behave, but chatter away to each other as they would at the school gate.
Take heart Father! Ingrained habits can take a long time to eradicate. As a former curate in our home parish used to say: "You take care of the effort and leave God to take care of the success."
At Lourdes, around the area of the Grotto, a gentle 'Shhh..." over the loudspeaker system helps induce silence. Having explained on several occasions to the parish why they do this at Lourdes, and why silence in Church is important. many have welcomed it in the Church. Indeed, the GIRM No.45 notes the place of silence not only for the Church but for adjoining rooms; our Bishops repeat this in 'Celebrating the Mass' No.92. I find use of the Lourdes 'Shhh...' through the microphone system done from the sacristy helps, especially since we are not then directing it at individuals since we cannot actually see who is doing the talking. The resulting silence has received many favourable comments in the parish, though a few who perhaps see the Church as a community room are not so impressed.
Persevere, Father! There are people who attend daily mass in my parish who are STILL coming out with the old responses "And also with you" and "It is right to give him thanks and praise" and announcing "THIS IS the Word of the Lord." But it is getting better. Time and repetition will, I feel sure, finally win.Perhaps it would help if you found some tactful way of repeating the message. One church I visited had a notice in the porch asking people to respect the silence of the church. There was then a line which ran something like "Talk only to God before Mass and to your neighbour outside afterwards". Personally I would have the quote from th old priest about "two people talking preventing forty people praying" emblazoned in letters of gold and prominently framed!
Unfortunately Father, for those who think nothing of treating the church before Mass like a bingo hall, it will take the kind of reaction Christ had toward the mercenaries in the temple to have the desired effect. I try to support Mass in both forms at my parish but the Saturday vigil has become a near occasion of sin for me. I nearly walked out last night because of the din but then I looked up at the fresco of the Crucifixion scene behind the altar and I didn't want to bail on the Lord like His friends did during His Passion. It's a frustrating situation, to say the least.
MichaelHaving read your decision to read the bishop's letter, I decided to do the same. At the nine TLM they all approved (of course). When I read it at the ten-thirty Novus Ordo, you could hear a pin drop while I read it and for the rest of Mass. Of course afterwards the noise level was maybe a little muted, but not much. However a lady came into the sacristy and suggested that maybe I should ring the Mass-bell five or ten minutes before Mass time as a signal for silence; she even promised to get rubber tips for her steel-clad heels! Success, or what!?Wilf E.
I thought that the letter was both well-timed and well-delivered. The congregation appeared to be unusually attentive and the silence that followed immediately afterwards was truly amazing and in fact led me to think that the message might have hit home. How wrong was I? Still, must not be too disheartened.
Why not try your suggestion of standing on your head?I recall once suggesting at St J's that I've been to quieter football matches but some wag suggested it must have been a Sunderland game!!
At our Parish, the reader is at the lectern five minutes before Mass, welcomes people, tells them which page of the book the Proper is on, and then instructs them to be silent to prepare for Mass; it was introduced by our PP a few years ago and has been successful (despite some murmuring). However, he has not yet addressed the hubbub immediately after Mass: but I think he's merely biding his time and will do so eventually. He plays a long game, which is not a bad strategy.
I'm in a parish of Bishop Hugh's diocese, and when it was read here, no fewer than three people engaged me in conversation at the end of Mass before I'd even got out of my bench. When I got out of church someone was haranguing the parish priest on the steps about how bad the letter was. This Sunday, one lady of the parish took it upon herself to lecture me in shrill tones about my four-year-old daughter's behaviour (which was actually not that bad!), again before I had left my place.I notice that the pastoral letter was headed 'To be read and distributed', so I think for next week I will print some copies off and just hand them to anybody who wants to disrupt my family's thanksgiving!
I think you need to be blunter. Bishop Hugh's leter is fine but it is a bit long winded. Why on earth would a Catholic quote Kirkegarde?SSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH1/ The church is a place for prayer.2/ It is not a market place or a chat show.3/ Over the last 40 years we have lost any sense of sacred.4/ Chat outside the church.5/ When you enter bless yourself from the font, genuflect and be quiet.6/ Do not gossip, do not dsturb eachother.7/ If you must talk whisper. SSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHH
Perhaps if there is again idle prattling in the church after Mass, simply return up the main aisle to the pulpit and read the pastoral aloud again... and keep doing so each Sunday until the message is received.
Here is an idea. Next week announce from the pulpit that in order to address this issue, and to enrich the liturgical life of the parish, from January the short Office of Sext will be sung after Mass.Silence will be guaranteed as the church will be empty before you have sung Deus in adjutorium.
What if the clergy promote pre and post Mass prattle?My late parish, Clifton Diocese, has the parish priest and a deacon parading up and down the aisles inviting discourse.At one Maunday Thursday such was the noise I was perforce to leave before the start.
Hang in there :) And thank you for trying. Recently I was at a parish Mass in the UK for the first time in ages, and the noise was quite a shock.
I find this discussion rather amusing. Not so long ago (well, before Vat69, sorry, Vat ll) silence was normal in church before and after Mass (except, I'm sure, in isolated cases) and it was so because people were TOLD not to talk. No fancy, long-winded letters; a simple command from the priests not to talk. Some people might not like to be told but many more might be grateful for some direction from the pulpit, direction which,sadly,is often lacking nowadays.
Thank you so much for trying - I would have been practically crying with gratitude. I was quite taken aback at the uproar after Mass when at a posh parish in the Home Counties recently (first time I'd been to Mass in the UK for ages).
I think the letter is far too subtle. People these days don't seem to take subtle hints - they probably heard the letter and thought it didn't apply to them. Or perhaps some of them did think that it applied to them but they didn't see why they should be quiet. "No one tells me what to do" attitude. "Me, me, me, if I want to talk loudly about my dog's toileting habits before Mass I will and you aren't going to tell me I can't".My last parish in the UK was terrible for this and not only before and after Mass - the sign of peace was the noisiest time of all and after communion was quite bad too. Ridiculous. In your next post you say you are going to ring the bell 5 minutes before Mass for silence. They should be told repeatedly that this is a signal for total silence until they get the message and it becomes a habit.
I am old enough to remember when we laughed at Anglicans for their chatter in church and for chosing their church on the criterion "we like the service".Now we Romans do both!
In charity to my fellow parishioners, I should add that at the end of midnight Mass you could have heard a pin drop. It was lovely!
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