Parish Etiquette at Mass

At theatre productions and concerts the latecomers are asked to remain in the lobby, waiting until an intermission to be seated.  Some parishes follow this model and do not open the doors to latecomers until there is a break in the liturgical action of the Mass.  Others ask latecomers to remain in the vestibule or in the back of the church if they arrive during the readings, psalm, or homily.

What’s the point?

To help those who are assembled to pray together without interruption or distraction.

What’s the custom in your parish?

Every parish, of course, wants all of those who gather to participate from the moment they arrive to the closing of our common prayer and song.

Here are some habits to develop for arriving and leaving.

  • Greet others as you arrive.
  • Make space for others to sit in any empty pew, even if you prefer to remain near an aisle.
  • Turn off any pagers or cell phone (unless you must carry such for medical emergencies or other serious reasons).
  • Remain in place until the Mass is over and the procession has left the church.  The time after Communion and the Concluding rites are important to the communal aspect of the liturgy as a whole.

Barbara Budde (from Church Magazine) Special thanks to Fr. Reynaldo A. Domagas

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