Thursday, April 18, 2013


I hate announcements at Mass.


Okay, “hate” is a mighty strong word.


I dislike announcements at Mass with the white hot intensity of a thousand supernovas.


I felt this way as a lay person in the pew and continue to feel this way as a priest.
Now granted, sometimes they are necessary and relevant for the entire parish.  “Donuts are being served in the parish hall immediately following Mass” is an important announcement.  “It's June and the grass is growing” is not. 
When does one do announcements?  Before Mass when a) half of the people are not even there yet and b) this is when the rubrics of the Mass states that the church should be quiet?  Or how about before or immediately following the homily when it can completely destroy whatever point you are trying to get across.  “And that is the nature of gluttony and why it is so spiritually dangerous.  And now for the announcements.  The Men’s Club is having an all you can eat pancake breakfast next week in the hall.”  Or how about right after the Prayer after Communion?  You are in the home stretch, have your mind set on your move to the exit door, and then hear the dreaded words, “There are a few announcements” as the announcer drags out a phone book thick stack of papers.  As a priest you can see people’s eyes glaze over and at that point you know where the imagination of certain horror story writers got their idea for a deadly fog that turns a community of people into zombies.  More than two announcements of more than a sentence in length seems to be the lethal level.
Of course, announcements are not the only way we try to get messages across.  If you missed the Email, didn’t read the bulleting, did not receive the home mailer, did not notice the signs on the doors, haven’t had the chance to check out the website, nor remember that we do this every year, then announcements can be as important as they are potentially fatal.  (I didn’t say they were unnecessary at times, just painful – kind of like having teeth pulled.)

I am notorious for slashing announcements.  Entire paragraphs disappear with the sentence, “See bulletin for details.”  Sometimes it is said so often instead of reading all of the announcements we should just say, “If you promise to read the bulletin I won’t read it to you.”
I don’t know that there is a solution.  Maybe most people don’t care as much as I seem to think they do. 
Before I close, there are just a couple of announcements;
Tomorrow is Friday Potpourri and we will continue our discussion of Vatican II.  See bulletin for details.
This Saturday is the first Garden Crew clean up.  See bulletin for details.
Mustache combing class this Saturday.  See bulletin for details.
Reading the bulletin keeps you up to date.  See bulletin for details.


Anonymous said...

I would encourage you to make use of Facebook. Posting event announcements on a church Facebook page is very effective at getting the word out, in my experience.

It's good evangelization too, as anyone can see the activities of the parish and be drawn to it.

Hannah said...

LOL, I hate announcements too! I never guessed that you did too, though I've appreciated the very brief form they take at St Sebastian's. I used to be at a parish where announcement time was a parade of laypeople giving bad speeches about their various groups. It took a LONG time.

Anonymous said...

Also, maybe you could just stop making announcements from the pulpit (except for last-minute changes or very important news). You could be enabling the lack of reading the bulletin by announcing bulletin news. No announcements means parishioners have to read the bulletin to find out stuff.

Anonymous said...

Our parish is going through an interior renovation, and our pastor communicates progress and set-backs through a column in the bulletin. He does not make announcements at Mass about it. I'm positive our bulletin readership has skyrocketed due to that. It's really the only way to get the news.

Anonymous said...

I love the announcements. Otherwise, I'd forget when donut Sunday (and other important church events) took place.

- Kathryn O.

Pat said...

If announcements are needed, perhaps they can be shortened as follows:

Please see this week's bulletin for information on

The Right to Life Signature Campaign next weekend,

the Emmaus Roundtable meeting next Saturday

the men's breakfast next Saturday morning and

the Knights of Columbus fundraising raffle next weekend.

Is that any better??