The Armchair Liturgist Silences Cell Phones

The songleader was responsible for this announcement when I arrived at my new parish. “Please silence or mute your phones before Mass begins.” For Advent, we cut all announcements and went right to the music. I haven’t returned the notice. Parishioners haven’t forgotten any more often (twice) than they did in cycle B.

At Friday’s Mass of Christian Burial at my parish, the funeral director made the announcement three times, once to each section of the church seating.

Sit in the purple chair and render judgment, if you will. Is this a necessary notification? Under which circumstances would you direct it be made?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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12 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist Silences Cell Phones

  1. Our cantor makes a similar announcement before calling the people to the opening song. I’d like to think that the phones that go off during the word liturgy (at least once or twice over the course of four liturgies on the weekend, are carried by latecomers who didn’t hear the reminder. I wonder what it would be like if we didn’t make the announcement. I don’t plan on stopping this practice.

  2. Liam says:

    Signs at entrances can effective. Aural announcements are often like the teacher in Peanuts.

  3. charlesincenca says:

    Concur with Liam with good signage. Beyond that, when they ring (not if they ring) the celebrant/homilist’s inclination to scan the stink-eye towards the offender is the greatest post mortem for such moments, and hopefully for the future.

  4. Melody says:

    We dropped the message. Doesn’t seem to have caused an increase in phones ringing. What’s funny is to be outside of church in the parking lot waiting for the previous Mass to get over. If things go on a little too long, invariably someone’s horn alarm will go off. People fidget and start jiggling their key fob, and push the panic button.

  5. FrMichael says:

    We use announcements. Did a back-of-the-envelope estimate regarding how many people turn off their cell phones. Given the number of Mass attendees and the average adult American receiving 3 calls/day, that at least 98% of the people are remembering to turn off their cell phones during Mass. That’s a good percentage!

    Funerals and weddings, a definite must! Lots of non-church goers there. There is always a flurry of silenced phones after that announcement is made!

  6. Liam says:

    Also, failing all else, don’t forget the Patti LuPone Option….

  7. Lady Bird says:

    I forget sometimes. “In case you forgot, please mute your electronics. Thanks.” Would be a nice gentle reminder to me. I have the Duck call ring tone, so it would be embarrassing to have it go off due to my forgetfulness. It’s really no big deal to be reminded. It’s a sign of the times. I wish they would add, however, “The communion host is not compatible with chewing gum.” I see that all the time.

  8. Jim McCrea says:

    The announcement should be aural and in all circumstances.

    People gloss over or simply ignore most of what they see for signage, bulleting inserts (particularly if it is a recurring insert/blurb). I’d make the announcement just before the beginning of the mass, including before the entrance hymn.

    The problem is this: “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” (Aristophanes)

  9. FrMichael says:

    Of course, I was going to buy a UK cell phone jammer for my previous parish, but alas it turns out they are illegal in the US.

  10. Joe McMahon says:

    A year ago during morning prayer, the Fire Department Dispatcher began asking me questions through my pocket. He wanted to know whether the call was for fire or medical rescue. Apparently, by some slight movement I had pressed the Emergency button on my cell phone! Now I leave the phone in the car before church.

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