Recently, a few people have had questions concerning the duration of Mass. One reader notes that their liturgies usually go past an hour due to singing, preaching, etc. This has led to a number of complaints from parishioners.
Here in Leuven, I sometimes attend the 5:00 PM Sunday Mass at the church in the center of town. The priest often cuts out parts of the Mass (such as the second reading) presumably in order to get the Mass down to 35 minutes. In college I remember being assigned to help at the 5:00 PM spoken Mass on Sunday. That Mass lasted a bit longer, usually 40 minutes.
I have always been of the opinion that the typical Sunday Mass should be long enough to allow for a dignified and aesthetically pleasing celebration of every part of the liturgy. It should also not be excessively long due to unnecessary additions, some of which obscure the central symbols of the liturgy, or an overly extravagant style of celebration.
I can imagine a few reasons why a community would be sensitive to the duration of Mass. First, if you have multiple Masses a day you have to leave enough time for each Mass to be celebrated before the next one starts. Second, if you have a family Mass or a children’s Mass I assume one would have to be careful of the duration of the Mass since the attention span of children can be rather short.
I am curious, how long does Mass usually last in your communities? Has your community demanded that Mass be celebrated within a certain period of time? What pastoral concerns motivate your community’s decisions concerning the duration of Mass?
Please comment below.