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Oct 10, 2019

Awkward Catholic Moments at Mass and Elsewhere

The Ascension Team

There’s a lot that is great about being Catholic: the Mass, feast days, sacraments, Mary. Good stuff, all of it. However, because the Catholic Faith is so unique, we have many opportunities for mishaps and blunders. 

Whether you’ve drooled while bowing during the Nicene Creed, knocked the Host out of the priest’s hand while bowing at Communion or had your kids pound on the confessional door while you were inside, here are some awkward Catholic moments to help you not feel so bad about your faux pas in church and beyond.

We asked our Facebook followers and friends:

“What’s the most awkward thing that has happened while you were at church?”

Here are their responses:


Oh no! … Oh, that’s OK

“My phone started playing music full blast during adoration on Holy Thursday and I was sitting right in front. Thankfully I had just downloaded an album of Gregorian Chant and that’s what my phone decided to play. I don’t think anyone even noticed.”

(Now That I’m Catholic)

Holding Hands

“I was on a retreat and a boy leaned over and held my hand through the first and second reading, then all through the Gospel. I didn’t know him, I found out later that he mistook me for another girl that he really liked on the retreat.”

(Catherine S.)

On the Loose

“My youngest escaped the pew and was starting to run toward the front of the church. I went to reach for him and fell out of the pew and onto the floor. But on a good note the usher told me it was the most graceful, quietest fall he had ever seen.”

(Angie M.)

Where’s Father!

“I went to confession last week. There was no line, so I walked into the confessional and started, ‘Bless me, Father … ‘ About 90 seconds into it, a woman walked in and said, ‘Excuse me. Father asked me to tell you that he’ll be right in.’ I looked over my shoulder out the window and sure enough, there’s the priest at the altar getting things set up. LOL! Before I left, the priest said I’d made a really good confession. I replied, ‘That’s because I got a practice run.'”

(Rachel K.)

Um … That’s Not How It Works

“Watching the lady in front of me make change from the offertory basket (was my most awkward experience in church). She put in a $5 bill and took out 4 ones. My kids looked at me and said in a not so quiet voice … ‘can we REALLY do that? COOL!'” ?‍♀️ The whole situation was awkward.”

(Lisa G.)

Father Vader

“In the middle of the Benediction, while kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament, the priest’s phone went off. It was an alarm, and it was definitely the Star Wars ‘Imperial March’ at full blast. It took him a few seconds to even recognize it was his.”

(Nathan P.)

Poor Daddy

“Praise God for his sense of humor! Once my daughter puked all over her Dad’s back right (of course) during a prayerful silence. You could hear the splash and there are not enough baby wipes in the world!!”

(Camille R.)

The Wrong Kind of Attention

“When my toddler started whisper chanting ‘we will we will rock you’ with the fist and all during the priest’s homily (front row of course). It eventually ended up a loud holler that stopped the priest in his tracks and led to me walking her out of church only to be questioned by all of the men selling cookies for the men’s club after church.”

(Noel L.)

At Least We’ll Never Forget Father’s Homily

“We sit in the front pew. When my son was two, the priest was giving a great homily on how we need to say yes to God in all things. My son started yelling, ‘No, No, No!'” ?

(Ann B.)

Pretend It Never Happened

“Me, my son, my high school aged daughter, and her best friend walked in right as the priest was processing up at the beginning of Mass (yes, we were late). We filed into the very front pew, sat, and the pew cracked really LOUDLY (breaking) and we all just stood up and filed into the pew behind it (like synchronized swimmers or something, like it was planned!) laughing because we’d just broke a pew in front of everyone, in front of the church! ?”

(Debby G.)

It Was an Accident, I Promise

“Father was giving the homily and my alarm went off, it said out loud ‘It’s 6 o’clock.’ Father then said ‘I guess my time is up’ and ended the homily. Never wore that clock again.”

(Edward B.)

Those Bells

“While the bells were ringing during the Eucharistic Prayer (church was silent, of course) my daughter who was 2 at the time yelled out real nice and loud ‘jingle bells! Ho ho ho!’ It was the week before Christmas ???‍♀️.”

(Noelle A.)

Many thanks to the Milwaukee Catholic Mamas Facebook group and Merridith Frediani for sharing the following awkward anecdotes:

From the Mouth of Babes

“One child, when he heard the priest say, ‘This is the chalice of my Blood, the Blood of the new and eternal covenant” loudly proclaimed, ‘Blood? Ew, I am not drinking that!’ At least he was listening.”

(Unknown)

Kneelers

Unique to the Catholic Faith are kneelers. While our joints appreciate them, they can cause some trouble in addition to the racket caused by people carelessly putting them up or down.

One Sunday Mass with three young children was more challenging than usual because of said kneelers:

“We were sitting near the front so the kids could see better but they were acting up. Conscious of all the people behind me who could see what was going on, I was trying hard to be patient and calm. And I almost made it, until one errant child decided to forcefully put the kneeler down while we were standing and knocked my shin. Hard. I gasped louder than I planned and I’m certain those around me, including the priest, heard it and saw the look of pain as I collapsed. It took a gallon of God’s grace to regain my composure.” 

(Merridith F.)

Oops, Wrong Setting

In the Catholic church we have actions and words that sometimes become habitual for us to do or say whether or not it’s the appropriate time or place, like when a Star Wars fan says “May the Force be with you,” and we respond, “And also with you” or “And with your spirit.”

Speaking of movies, crossing ourselves and genuflecting upon leaving a row of seats in a movie theater is another example of a wrong time, wrong place awkward situation you may have found yourself in a few times.

Here’s another example:

“I cross myself and say a prayer for souls whenever I pass a cemetery, but one day I realized I was doing it while passing a field of cows.”  

(Unknown)

Or, maybe you’ve done this too:

“I have said ‘Amen’ after the Pledge of Allegiance (because when else do we stand and recite something in a group other than praying at Mass?).

(Merridith F.)

Good habits are not always helpful, apparently, like the habit of thanking the person who gives you something.

For instance:

“Once, in a panicked moment, I said ‘Thank you’ after receiving the Host at Communion.  “

(Anonymous)

Coughs and Flushes

I have fallen victim to coughing fits in Adoration, causing me to slink out of the chapel in shame, and every time I serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Communion I get a nose tickle that is impossible to deal with. I suppose that’s not that bad, though. The old toilet in our parish was louder than any cough and was flushed once at the exact moment the priest elevated the Host.

(Merridith F.)

An Understanding God

The Catholic Church is beautiful and I love it. I hope it brings God joy to see us lurch through life as we attempt to be holy. I suspect he laughs along with us. 

What awkward Catholic moments have you experienced in church or elsewhere? Share in the comments at the bottom of the page.


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  • During the meditation after communion when the chruch was completely quiet. My then 2 yr old son yelled “Get me outta here!” Even the priest had to crack a smile.

  • Awkward or Cute:

    As lector I was set to do the second reading at Sunday Mass, so my wife, my three year old daughter, and I sat near the front. The first reading was read by the other lector. The cantor sang the psalm. Then I went up to do the second reading. Just before I announced a reading from the letter of St. Paul…, my daughter says in a loud but cute voice, “Daddy’s turn.”

  • It was Ash Wednesday, at the distribution time as the priest solemnly said, Remember you are but dust, and to dust you will return.
    Suddenly a little girl piped up in a voice we all heard, “Mommy, what is butt dust?” ??❤️

  • A priest was invited over to a young family’s home for dinner. He was sitting on the couch with the family dog nearby talking to the husband while their preschooler stared intently at his Roman collar. The priest asked the curious girl, Would you like to see it? She got wide eyed and nodded yes. He handed her the white insert and she stared at the print (too young to read). The priest asked, What do you think it says?
    She replied, Kills fleas and ticks for 6 months?
    ???

  • One Sunday I was sitting in the front row with my toddler (2 nearing 3) and we had the row to ourselves. 30 seconds before it was time to go up and receive the Eucharist he decided to slowly sidle out of the row into the aisle and made his way halfway around the front before I caught him and picked him up back into the pew from where I had been kneeling. Then he decided it was a game and did it much faster twice more…but this time with me chasing him around the pew, him laughing with big loud belly giggles the whole time as we dodged parishioners and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist. We retired to the narthex until the end of Mass after communion, at which point I discovered anyone watching the closed circuit television in the narthex gathering space could clearly see our mini drama. We sat somewhere else the following week. ?

  • My parents always made sure that we went to Mass on Sunday, even when we were on vacation. On one of these trips, while at Mass at an unfamiliar church, a younger sibling had fallen asleep on the pew before the collection. When we tried to pass the basket over the sleeping child, it slipped and fell to the hard wood floor. It seemed like the basket was full of loose change, because the clatter was tremendous. My siblings and I dove under the pew as much from embarrassment as to pick up the scattered money.

  • While beginning Confession, I once said “Bless….us oh Lord and these” ??Father and I both laughed out loud. He was happy that at least, I obviously say grace before meals regularly!

  • If suffering through Mass with two small boys in the front pew isn’t bad enough. When the priest said, The Mass is ended… one of them said, “Yaaay!” Everyone laughed except me.

  • >

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