12 Comments

  1. Joel Schmidt

    How to implement this at such a large parish? I can think of several things, each of which should be diligently implemented at every Mass for at least one month:

    1) Mentioning the practice in/after homilies;
    2) Bulletin notices;
    3) Announcements;
    4) Pew notifications (on the seats, not in the pockets where they might be missed).

    In addition, reaching out to parishioners who would likely be receptive to the practice and getting them to commit to starting it at least a month beforehand would likely be very helpful.

  2. That is awesome that the one parish was able to accomplish that! Yes, prayer after Mass, making your thanksgiving, is nearly a lost tradition at every parish…but clapping????!!!! At Franciscan, just about everyone would pray after Mass for just a little bit. That’s because it was encouraged by the priests. I miss that.

    Regarding clapping, I have a quick story. Once at Franciscan, Fr. Benedict Groeschel was giving a homily. He said something that stirred everyone (as he often does) and all the students started clapping. He stopped them right away and said no one is allowed to clap for him in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament! Truly a very telling example!

    • Marc,

      Thanks for your comments. I love that story about Father Groeschel!

      I’ve heard a lot of feedback from fellow parishioners who love the idea of kneeling and praying after Mass. I’m hopeful the practice of clapping will fade away in due time! I may have to pull the Fr. Groeschel card one of these days if not! :)

  3. I think many churches have the some problem too. There is a church here that is a bit too… innovative. The church would invite a famous Catholic singer or band to perform DURING a Mass, with full music… drums, saxophone, and all. And of course everyone’s attention would be directed to them. And there WILL be applause. I’m very sad when this happens. I think the church may be doing everything it can to keep its parishioners, and maybe to attract newcomers, because the church is located in a strongly pentecostal area. But still, I think it’s wrong. We can’t compromise God.
    I’m glad that my parish church stays true to the liturgy. If anything it becomes even more “traditional” (I hope I’m using the right term here), with frequent use of Gregorian chants and Latin prayers. I’m optimistic that there are churches out there who also stay faithful.

  4. Clapping in response to a performance is one thing. I’m not so sure that most church clapping isn’t an alternate definition: an affirmation for the overall experience of liturgy. I’ve been in churches where the choir was routinely applauded. But I’ve had a good sense of churches where the applause is after the last song–and clearly not applause for performance.

    Sure, it has an association with secular culture. But you also see it on weepy talk shows and such: people supportive not of the person’s awkward and tearful sharing, but of the spirit and courage behind it.

    Applause is less a function of theology and more of language. Or where language fails to provide adequate expression for what people want to say. Or pray.

  5. Karey

    Lisa, At St Pius many people kneel and say a short prayer after the closing song, but I’ve never heard any specific instruction as to what prayers or it is for the next person to die. I think it is just a general thanksgiving, although I generally say the St Michael prayer because I heard that it was an old custom to say that at the end of mass. That said, it is not unusual for people to clap in appreciation for the music, which makes me uncomfortable.

  6. Melanie

    I moved to San Antonio about 6 years ago, and I have yet to go to a parish where there is no clapping at the end of Mass. It drives me crazy!!! I’ve asked my students what they are clapping for…..the response is usually “the music” or they are unsure. Disturbing if you ask me,

  7. Marilyn Klein

    Check out Saint Joseph Church in Winterset! The Mass is ended, we kneel, we pray, we leave. And almost nobody leaves early. Ask our longest-standing parishioners when it began and they say it’s always been that way. At Masses where we have lots of visitors (Christmas, Easter, and Covered Bridge weekend) our pastor makes a quick announcement before Mass to alert our visitors to the tradition so they don’t “stick out” by remaining standing at the end of Mass.

  8. AMEN!!! I love that comment by Pope Benedict. How true! It is so easy to lose sight of the liturgy in our urgency to reward some human feat. Both I and my husband are in our church choir, and we must constantly remind ourselves that it is NOT a performance, it is praise and honour of our God.

    Thank you for this post.

    Kathleen

  9. Jim

    Honestly, one of the things that kept me out of the Roman communion was the clapping, and other stuff like that in the Mass. I was a catechumen, but could not get past the irreverence, triviality and silliness that went on in almost every Mass I was in. (The final straw was a Mass in which the priest — in lieu of a sermon — invited everyone to search under their seats for a tiny stuffed sheep that had been strategically placed. I’ve never been back to a Roman Mass since then).

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