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Running late for church..is it a case of better late than never or should you not go in if running late?

(27 Posts)
hattyyellow Mon 05-Oct-09 15:13:28

I've recently started attending mass again. Our nearest service starts at 9am and with our daughter teething at the moment she is always unhappy/crying/settling for her nap around then. I keep turning up 10-15 minutes late and am a bit worried I shouldn't be going in late.

I've been working on the better late than never principle but I don't want to annoy the priest/other church goers - it's a small chapel so hard to creep in without being noticed.

Any thoughts? Our other services are a long drive away so I'd rather stick to this one if possible.

AMumInScotland Mon 05-Oct-09 15:17:18

I think "better late than never" is the best plan - but you could always say hello to the priest after the service one time and let him know you're not being awkward, it's just an unsettled time for your DD.

If you look like a mum of a small child, I can't think that anyone would mind you being late, just happy for you that you've managed to make it at all.

Northernlurker Mon 05-Oct-09 15:18:38

Better late then never and any church that doesn't think like that is not going to be a place you get a good spiritual home anyway! You are doing jolly well to get there at 9am (ish) at all!

katiek123 Mon 05-Oct-09 15:18:49

hattyyellow i can't believe anyone would think ill of you for creeping in late under the circs. i go to quaker meetings rather than church, where as you can imagine (in the deafening silence!!) creeping in is Even More Noticeable, but people do it when they have to, and it's not a problem. your daughter will soon be out of this phase (and, yes, onto another one!) . i say, keep at it smile if you need it and it helps you and it feels like the right place for you...

MrsBadger Mon 05-Oct-09 15:26:18

oh better late than never for me

but it is a sizeable church with a glassed-in bit at the back where you can see and hear (via speakers) but not be heard, so I never worry I am disturbing people. Then I slip in either during a hymn or the kerfuffle as people go up for communion.

and I have no excuse as we don't start till 10.30 blush

The other thing to do is take dd with you - people are so busy cooing they'll forgive you all sorts of things...

MaryBS Mon 05-Oct-09 16:14:18

Another vote for "better late than never". People should understand when you have a young child.

LadyMuck Mon 05-Oct-09 16:21:47

To be honest I think that you should have a quick chat to the priest and see what he says. In my childhood being late for mass was a venial sin. There may still be some of a similar generation, and obviously the guilt continues to kick around a bit. But if you explain how things are to your priest, then at least you know how he feels about it and you can make your choices accordingly.

hattyyellow Tue 06-Oct-09 14:24:40

Thanks so much all, I really appreciate your thoughts.

My parents were very very strict Catholics and to them being late was just a terrible thing to do. They managed to get all five of us there on time every week! Don't know how!

I keep meaning to have a word with the priest. I've mentioned the reason I'm late to a few people I know who also attend. Priest is often deep in serious conversation with parishioners who look as if their need is more urgent than mine, so I don't want to interrupt!

I will try to get there early next week and see if I can have a word!

Thanks so much all, that's very reassuring!

Mouette Tue 06-Oct-09 20:59:14

I'd say definitively better late than never. We've been late a couple of times with DS (6 months old), even though our service is at 11 am, and nobody minds. We just have to be careful when there's a procession - last Sunday we nearly barged into the thurifer! Our vicar has even decided to keep the doors open as long as it's not too cold or wet, so that latecomers don't feel awkward!

Bathsheba Wed 07-Oct-09 06:11:10

We have a very relaxed and very young family oriented Baptist Church and we have people wandering in and out late a lot...

Its absolutely no problem at all (significantly it always seems to be the people without very young children....)

3littlefrogs Wed 07-Oct-09 08:03:08

I wouldn't worry. I spent years trailing late into the porch at the back of the church with my toddlers. I was never the only one, and there was always someone later than me. We often just used to stay in the porch area (it was very large, with chairs). People often came out of the church to join us when their children were crying or noisy. Nobody minds IME, as long as it is a family mass.

susiey Sat 10-Oct-09 15:59:19

I work as a childrens worker for a church and I deliberately have a relaxed first 20- 30 mins in our mini church because being a mum myself realise thats its really hard to get out in the morning

I know our vicar doesn't mind if people are late at all

Tortington Sat 10-Oct-09 16:11:44

catholic here too - - i would shop around - if you have a car- for a church with a specific soundprrof kid bit iykwim.

when i was a kid we used to sit at the back - then straight after communion me and mum used to sneak out after. although now i wouldnt dream of leaving before the priest.

i think being late is fine - but i would shop around for an easier church

wicked Sat 10-Oct-09 16:19:33

I am probably going against the grain here...

You are going to church for the Lord, not for man (ie the RCC). I don't subscribe to the view that the church is lucky to have a young family attending.

You are there to glorify the Lord. Why can't you get there on time? Once or twice, it is fine to be late. We have all had babies who have filled their nappies as you are walking out the door.

However, most weeks, you should be able to get there on time. Just get up earlier - 6am if necessary - remember, you are doing it for the Lord. He gave up his life for you, so perhaps you should give up your sleep for him.

Tortington Sat 10-Oct-09 16:27:51

or go sat night.

grin

MaryBS Sun 11-Oct-09 09:28:48

You ARE going against the grain, wicked, and that comes across as very judgmental. Surely its better late than never? Its that sort of pharasaical attitude which stops people going to church. Yes, its not ideal to turn up late, but give her a break!

wicked Sun 11-Oct-09 09:56:39

It's not a pharasaical attitutude. It is thinking about why you go to church in the first place. The pharasaical attitude is going there to get it ticked off some list, real or imaginery.

We've all been late for church, but it shouldn't be a regular occurrence. Just start your day half an hour earlier and prioritise getting out of the house on time!

Aim to get there early, so even if you are 'late' in your own mind, you will still be on time.

Morosky Sun 11-Oct-09 10:06:29

Go in late, we were late last week, only by few minutes. I hate being late and get all palpatations at the thought but people are just pleased to see you.

One of my old priests was an anglican convert and he said that Catholics amused him no end as we arrive late and some leave after having communion.

I am currently attending anglican masses and do find them very long even for a devout theology graduate.

Of course you should not aim to be late but it can be hard to get there on time, our local Catholic Mass starts at 9am.

Morosky Sun 11-Oct-09 10:08:13

Yes custardo we are due to start Saturday night Catholic services combined with Sunday Anglican ones as they start at 10.

WurzelBoot Mon 12-Oct-09 17:02:46

Do you really have to be in a church at a specific time to glorify the Lord?

A lot depends on the congregation in question. I've belonged to a church where the children were encouraged to go into a sound-proof room. The one I go to now is very small and not very church-like so my Son acted, erm, 'at home' there. I was terrified I was going to be judged, but everyone there was totally kind. One time I fled into a room outside sobbing because he was being awful and was quickly followed by three other mother who told me not to worry, we'd all been there - even the one who's daughter is now an alter-server (and the best mannered teen I know!). They've encouraged my son to behave; all of them, some people showing him the various pictures, whispering about what's going on, answering questions. He is as much a part of the church as anyone else.

One of my Sisters fails to be anywhere on time. I love her just the same. Some people at church are always later; I love them as my 'church family' just as much as anyone else there.

I personally wouldn't want to shut someone out from glorifying the Lord because they have a little tardiness.

LynetteScavo Mon 12-Oct-09 17:10:32

Blimey, wicked. hmm

Are you Catholic?

hattyyellow, I suspect your parents would be more saddened by the thought of you not attnding mass at all, than going in late.

catinthehat2 Mon 12-Oct-09 17:19:12

But consistently 10-15 mins late surely indicates the alarm needs to go off consistently 10-15 mins earlier on Sundays? Surely that's common sense?

wicked Mon 12-Oct-09 17:21:42

That is my point too, cat.

LynetteScavo Mon 12-Oct-09 17:42:52

hattyyellow explained in her OP, her lateness is due to her dd being unsettled at that time of day. If her dd is due for a nap, I imagine they have all been up for some hours already.

Sheesh!

WurzelBoot Mon 12-Oct-09 17:59:56

Well, as Hattyyellow has only recently started attending, I'm assuming that yes, the routine for Sunday isn't finely honed yet, and also that this has only happened a couple of times.

She's not suggesting that she doesn't bother trying to get there on time, but if she does happen to be in the position of 15 minutes late again, is it more polite to not bother, or to go in late.

I'd say go in late.

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