The Armchair Liturgist: The Post-Communion Queue

armchair1.jpgMy parish has definitely seen a creeping increase in Sunday post-Communion announcements. Our associate pastor counted thirteen last week. With a grimace.

Take the purple chair, and knowing you are immune from angry parishioners (no guarantee on the comboxes, though) pontificate on the ideal post-Communion  practice. Remember that the post-Communion prayer is mandatory, not the announcements. Don’t forget the choreography: do you have people stand for the prayer and remain standing for announcements–even thirteen of them? Do you fiddle with the rite and include announcements before the prayer, essentially placing the post-Communion piece in the concluding rites before the blessing? Do you seat people for the prayer and keep them seated for the announcements? Do you move announcements to another part of the Mass? (In my first parish, the preacher would announce before he began the homily–what do you think of that solution?)

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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16 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: The Post-Communion Queue

  1. Liam says:

    I would say that announcement creep is one of those rare things that builds resentments across all manner of ideologies and attitudes among folks in the pews (the other is having too many speakers and/or speakers who speak too long at church functions; no more than 3 speakers, no more than 5 mins each, folks).

    Announcements that *have* to be made during Mass are rare in communities that have good bulletins (it might be better to delay deadline dates from Tuesday to Thursday, for example) and good signage to any post-liturgical coffee/social hour-type space.

    So, how about this: only one announcement as a general rule. If there is a special fundraiser, and some has to speak about it after communion, limit them to 60 seconds (it’s good practice to force them to really edit down to what’s important). Be as severe as the hardest-ass editor; that severity typically produces the best communication in the long run.

  2. Gavin says:

    Announcements are done before the sermon (after the Gospel is read in English) at pretty much all the EF Masses here. I far prefer that to the post-post-communion spot. At my Episcopal church, the announcements are after the post-communion. The priest has a strict rule that anyone who wishes to make an announcement must speak declare their intent to do so before the service.

    Whenever the announcements are, nothing is worse than a congregation clapping after announcements. Presenting the parish budget does not require applause.

  3. Mollie says:

    My personal pet peeve is when whoever makes the announcements reads every single item in the bulletin, then concludes with “please remember to take home a copy of the bulletin.” I wouldn’t do away with announcements entirely — I think they have a valuable community-building function — but they shouldn’t replicate the bulletin (or parish website/email newsletter!).

    As for placement, I like them best between the post-Communion prayer and the concluding rite. (And yes, BETWEEN; please finish the Lit. of the Eucharist before you turn to other business.) Tacking them on to either end of the homily feels disruptive to me. One parish I belonged to had a lector read announcements while the collection was being taken up (i.e., before the offertory procession) — that worked OK, especially since that’s “read the bulletin” time for a lot of people anyway. But if it were up to me I think I’d try placing announcements before the Mass begins. That way you don’t interrupt the liturgy at all.

    Whenever the announcements happen, if they will last more than 30 seconds, the people should be invited to sit. Standing for a dozen announcements because they’ve been awkwardly shoved into some part of the liturgy is my other pet peeve.

  4. I’ve never understood the confusion regarding announcements and the various weird ways priests try to arrange/encourage/discourage them.

    First of all, the prayer after communion ends the communion rite. Announcements are not part of the communion rite. So why some people pretend the prayer after communion is some sort of closing prayer to the entire liturgy escapes me.

    Secondly, the purpose of announcements is to give the assembly concrete, immediate ways they can be involved in the mission of the Church. So it seems to me if there is an announcement to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity, an appeal for liturgical ministers, an invitation to participate in a lunch program for the homeless, such announcements would take precedence over the school holiday bazaar or the availability of Girl Scout cookies.

    Stand or sit? How about a little common sense. If there’s one brief announcement, just let the people continue standing. If more, invite them to sit for a moment.

    As for placing them between the Gospel and the homily, I know this is for some reason a favorite spot of “traditionalists,” despite the fact that this is not an option in the GIRM. But of course insisting on following the rules only applies to others, not to ourselves!

  5. Liam says:

    Yes, in the GIRM the announcements – “if they are necessary” – are placed at the beginning of the concluding rites, after the communion rite is completed.

  6. Gavin says:

    “As for placing them between the Gospel and the homily, I know this is for some reason a favorite spot of “traditionalists,” despite the fact that this is not an option in the GIRM.”

    The GIRM does not apply to the EF. Within that form, the sermon is seen as “outside the Mass”, symbolized by the priest removing his maniple prior to ascending the pulpit.

    And Liam brings up the “if they are necessary” clause. I question to what extent 99% of the announcements made at Mass are necessary – unless something sufficiently important was forgotten from the bulletin.

  7. Gavin:

    Was not referring to EF. Once had a pastor who prided himself on being “traditional” and he put them after the Gospel in the OF. Probably should not have added the “-ist”!

    I suspect that many announcements are not necessary. I believe the definition of “necessary” is if it’s one of MY ministries!

  8. lethargic says:

    Our pastor gives the closing prayer, then tells everyone to be seated, then says “just a few announcements” (no matter how many there are), then makes the announcements and/or listens while parishioners make certain ones, then gestures for us all to stand again, then blesses us, then we sing a Haugen-Haas-and-Shootme song. Sheeshamatic, I hate that ritual. We have a bulletin. Nearly everything announced is in the bulletin. Announcements should only be things that aren’t in the bulletin, for whatever reason. A parish is not a Garden Club.

  9. Jim McK says:

    An obituary in this morning’s paper cited the deceased’s involvement in the parish “Committee Club”.

    As long as there are “Committee Clubs”, there will be announcements. It is a sign of vitality that we have to work with, no matter how difficult and demanding it is.

  10. Mike K says:

    How about announcements BEFORE Mass? I’ve seen that at a number of churches, and it seems to work very well.

    For one, it serves to get people’s attention, especially if the announcements end with the announcement of the celebrant and the opening hymn/antiphon.

    For two, it doesn’t create an interruption between the end of the Communion rite and the concluding rites.

  11. Liam says:

    I think the reason that announcements are not usually made before Mass in so many places is because so many people arrive late, and it incentivizes them to continue to do so (the congregant who is sad to have missed the announcements is rarer than those who are glad to have done so – remember, there are many folks who have conniptions when even hymns are announced!).

    Celebrants are announced? I’ve never understood the origin of that practice, and thought it had faded away.

    • Liam says:

      PS: If someone could put a stake in the “let us greet our celebrant by singing [N]” formula, which I still encounter in my travels from time to time, there will be much gladness in the land.

  12. Mollie says:

    “The celebrant of this Mass will be Father So-and-So” — that’s one announcement they always make at my parish, just before “Please join in singing our entrance hymn…,” and I hope they keep it up. I presume the “origin” is simply that it’s nice to know whom you’re listening to and praying with. Especially for visitors/first-timers.

  13. Todd says:

    As long as they don’t phrase it like … please stand and greet our celebrant with “Hail Holy Queen,” number 783.

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