I Am a Back Pew Person - You?

I Am a Back Pew Person - You?

I Am a Back Pew Person – You?

Do you know who you are?

I do – and it has nothing to do with my height, my intellect, or my achievements. My perception is not rooted in my hair color, my weight, or my financial statements. It isn’t even based on my family genetics, makeup, or community standing.  Three words can sum up my perception of myself:

I am a back-pew person.

I am most comfortable in the back pew of not only my Church, but any Church. When visiting different churches I always seem to migrate to the back pews for Mass.   I am happiest there, and as a result, I feel more involved.

I am what I am…a back-pew person.

I can hear everything, see everything, and sing with abandon…or not even open the hymnal. No thoughts of whether or not my hair in the back is tangled or disorganized.  No worries if my coat is hanging correctly, or if I have something stuck on the back of my pants.  Collar sticking up?  Shirt not ironed? Old pants that have probably seen better days? Totally irrelevant to why I am there.  I can observe without being seen. I like that.

When I mentioned this to my mother and asked her what she was, she just laughed and said she was a middle pew person.  Being in the back doesn’t afford her the luxury of being surrounded by people of the same faith; having people who believe as she does both in front and behind  gives her comfort.  She enjoys the community-feel of being in the middle – and at her age she doesn’t care about what her backside looks like either.  Plus, an advantage of being a middle pew person is the fact that if my father falls asleep during the sermon she can nudge him before the priest sees (or hears) him, not to mention she has the advantage of observing the young children’s antics during Mass. So for them, being middle-pew people is a win/win.

Then I asked my mom what she considered the personalities of front pew people.  These are the ones who are truly into observing all the details of every Mass.  They are the Eucharistic Ministers, the active participants with duties to uphold.  Front pew people are also the very infirm who cannot see or hear as well as they used to and being in the front pew gives them greater comfort.  Front pew people are also those with very young children; the actions of the priest keep young people focused and less likely to fidget.  And then you have those who sit in the front pew so the priest knows they are actually there.

Of course there are times when I have been a front pew person.  On my wedding day, on my children’s Baptism Day, First Communion Days, and on those days when we had to say goodbye to loved ones at their Funeral Mass…those are all front-pew days.  Happy moments and sad moments – at some point we  all have to be front pew people.  And, likewise, there are times when we will be middle-pew people..part of the crowd, surrounded by others.

But for me, at this time of my life, the back pew is still the best seat in the house.

Copyright 2013 Carol S. Bannon


About Author

Carol Sbordon Bannon is a full-time writer with a degree in elementary education from Worcester State University. She is a substitute teacher and has been a catechist for over thirty years. In addition to A Handshake From Heaven, she is also the coauthor of Our Family's Christmas Elf. She is happily married and currently resides in Concord Township, Ohio. Visit Carol at HandshakeFromHeaven.com.


  1. I hear you!

    I’m a “toward the back” pew person myself. The reason for this is I am so afraid of doing something wrong at any given time (this from a cradle Catholic!). I try HARD to concentrate on Mass but there are times my mind wanders away (thinking of baseball practice, school projects, teaching CCD class, visiting in-laws, dinner, etc.) and if I don’t catch myself while I’m going through the motions, I may stand when we are supposed to kneel, sit when we’re supposed to stand, kneel when we are supposed to sit!

    If I sit more “towards the back,” can usually fix what I’ve done backwards before people have noticed!

  2. Front pew person, though I would be a middle pew person by choice. Our family has to take a special low-gluten host, so we sit up front for the convenience of the priest. Don’t make assumptions about those who sit in the front! 😉

  3. I am a second pew person. I am very easily distracted by what other people are wearing or someone’s new purse or a cute baby, so I feel much more comfortable up front where it’s super obvious if I’m rubber-necking. Though I do worry that my hair is messed up and everyone is commenting lol

  4. Oh I’m a front pew person. Though that’s because we have five kids. When they can actually see what is going on they are much happier. Still, I’ve come to enjoy sitting up front now that I’ve gotten past feeling like everyone is staring at me. When I’m up front I pay much less attention to what everyone else is doing. It’s just me and Jesus.

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