The church has addressed this question.
Is it okay to pray the rosary before Mass? At Catholic Online we often get questions about various topics. One that keeps coming in is, “Is it okay to pray the rosary before Mass?” The Roman Missal has an answer.
The rosary is a good thing, but…
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – One of the more common questions we are asked is if it is okay to pray the rosary before Mass.
It has been common practice for a very long time for groups to gather at church to pray the rosary before Mass. These devotions often run right up until the start of Mass, and can disrupt the silence traditionally observed prior to Mass. This can upset some people who are expecting a period of silence so they can pray and prepare themselves before celebrating the Eucharist.
On the other hand, devout people are praying the rosary. How can it be wrong to pray?
Some people are concerned this is a passive-aggressive practice that is intended to call attention to those saying the rosary, and if this is the intention behind the prayers before Mass, then it is questionable. (See Matthew 6:5.)
Here’s what the Roman Missal says:
Even before the celebration itself, it is a praiseworthy practice for silence to be observed in the church, in the sacristy, in the vesting room, and in adjacent areas, so that all may dispose themselves to carry out the sacred celebration in a devout and fitting manner.
Put plainly, the Roman Missal states that silence should be observed before Mass.
This would mean that the rosary should not be recited out loud just prior to Mass. It can certainly be recited silently. But should we also shoo away the verbal recitation of the rosary? No, as that would probably be a step too far.
Instead, a reasonable compromise should be reached. Few will object to the recitation of the rosary as long as it finishes in time to allow people at least five or ten minutes before Mass to prepare in silence. In parishes where people arrive even earlier, then perhaps the rosary ought to be recited even sooner.
There is no formal rule on this, this is simply one reasonable suggestion. And what is reasonable for each parish may be different.
The rosary is a very welcome and powerful devotion. Those who recite the rosary with a pure heart bring untold blessings to their parish community. Nobody wants to be the person who stops that, and nobody should. However, people also need time to prepare for the celebration of the Eucharist and that often requires silence. To refuse people this time is also unreasonable.
Starting the rosary earlier is the best compromise. If people suggest they cannot arrive in time to begin the rosary early, then ask them if they can rearrange their schedule to keep the devotion. It may require waking earlier, but that sacrifice could be offered up. If other, circumstances prevent an early start, such as if Masses scheduled close together or people cannot physically make themselves present then other solutions exist. One possibility would be to pray only the first portion of the devotion aloud and at a particular point finish in silence. Another idea would be to recite the prayer in a different spot.
One thing we can be assured of is that the quality of our devotion is measured by its sincerity, not its volume.
A final caveat. Anyone upset over this issue should approach their parish priest with the concern. Under no circumstances should parishioners confront one another over such a disagreement unless they know one another very well and have enough rapport to carry what could be a difficult conversation. The absolute last thing that is needed is a rift in the parish community. It is better to leave well enough alone in such cases.
Our Church is Catholic. That means “universal.” It literally means the Church is for everyone. Different people have different means of worship. They perform different devotions. They share and express their faith differently. There is nothing wrong with this and the Church welcomes this diversity. The Church has well over 1 billion members under its roof, and there is room for many more. Let us be tolerant, respectful, and supportive of one another’s practice and strive to find ways we can worship together.
Copyright 2018 – Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JANUARY 2018
Religious Minorities in Asia. That Christians, and other religious minorities in Asian countries, may be able to practise their faith in full freedom.
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