09 June 2007

Telephone etiquette

When calling a parish office or the rectory for Mass times, please do not say "I thought I was going to get a recording" when Father answers the telephone.

Not only is this fairly insulting - it insinuates that Father doesn't care enough to answer his phone or that you don't like him enough to speak with him - but it is also completely unnecessary and clumsy.

If you called for Mass times, simply ask for Mass times. The fact that you expected is completely irrelevant and Father doesn't really care. When he calls your house and you answer the phone, Father doesn't tell you he expected a recording, does he? Just a thought.

Thank you.

P.S. - Father is grateful that you called at a reasonable hour.


  1. Anonymous8:11 AM

    I think that they say that because they feel bad that they are bothering you when all they want to know is Mass times. I don't think they mean it as insulting at all....I have been in parishes where a machine DOES answer all the calls (after office hours) and the Mass times are on the the machine message and the priests screen their calls that way. Maybe they have been too...

  2. Not unusual to get a phone call for mass times around these parts around 3:00 am (after drinking hours guilt?)

    My all time favortie phone call - "What time is mindnight mass?" AT MIDNIGHT! I know, I know, you know of a parish that has midnight mass at 10, or 9 or even 8 - but then it isn't midnight mass, its 11, or 10, or 9 o'clock mass. ;>)

    It's Okay actually, but glad it's only once a year just the same.

  3. I attend a very large parish, and after hours, it just goes to voice mail. I've found that to be the case with most parishes, and whenever I've called for Mass times, I've NEVER gotten a person after hours.

    I think people have become accustomed to that automation and are completely taken aback when you answer.

    Of course, I've never called at 3 am! ;-)

  4. The problem is you really do wish you got the recording when you call at 12:30am to try and figure out if you can make it to Mass in the morning. You feel guilty for waking Father up when this was not your intention. I must admit, I've called a parish at 5:30am trying to figure out what time morning Mass was and much to my surprise a rather groggy Father answered the phone. Oops.

    Mea culpa.

    As a side note, the internet is a good place to look for Mass times for most parishes. However, the information online isn't always kept up to date. It's always very disappointing to look forward to going to Mass, only to arrive and find out you're an hour late because they changed the Mass times without updating the website.

  5. Anonymous: I am sure they do feel bad, but it isn't a good question and there isn't really a reason to feel bad (unless calling at an unreasonable time). What is the bothering is the unnecessary apologizing for actually speaking to a human being.

    Fr. V.: Some fraternal correction might well be order for such priests...

    Adoro: You are right that we are becoming accustomed to automation, not only in our parishes but in life in general. This is, I think, lamentable. The interaction with humanity, with strangers, is healthy, good, and necessary because it gives us yet another opportunity to love Christ.

    Dilexit: You rightly observe the lack of accurate parish web sites. I've even seen some where it is difficult even to find them. We must be better at using the media today - especially the Internet - because so many people are using them.