After the Lord, have mercy

I’ve seen many people make the sign of the cross when the priest prays after the Lord, have mercy/Christ, have mercy/Lord, have mercy. I forget the exact words of the prayer at the moment (Is it maybe - May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life?)

I have no idea whether or not we are supposed to do this. At school (I went to Franciscan U in Steubenville) many people did it, and my parents used to do it, but at our new parish, I have not seen a single person do it, and I never knew where it originated from or why people did it. I observed in the Byzantine Liturgy, when Lord, have mercy is recited, they make the sign of the cross (right?).


It’s not supposed to be done.

Prior to 1970, the phrase ‘May the Almighty God have mercy…etc.’ was accompanied by the 'Indulgentiam ’ another verse that said ‘The Almighty God grant us pardon, absolution and rmission of our sins’. During this a sign of the cross was made by all. When this was dropped, many people still continued to make the sign of the cross, but at the previous point.

I read somewhere that in the newer translation, in order that people are not confused into thinking it is an absolution it is translated ‘May the Almighty God have mercy on us and having forgiven us our sins, bring us…’

Do you mean to imply that the congregation ought not do the same? The GIRM 2002 disagrees. (with emphasis)

  1. At the ambo, the priest opens the book and, with hands joined, says, Dominus vobiscum (The Lord be with you), and the people respond, Et cum spiritu tuo (And also with you). Then he says,* Lectio sancti Evangelii (A reading from the holy gospel)*, making the sign of the cross with his thumb on the book and on his forehead, mouth, and breast, which everyone else does as well. The people say the acclamation Gloria tibi, Domine (Glory to you, Lord). The priest incenses the book, if incense is used (cf. below, nos. 276-277). Then he proclaims the Gospel and at the end says the acclamation Verbum Domini (The gospel of the Lord), to which all respond, Laus tibi, Christe (Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ). The priest kisses the book, saying quietly, Per evangelica dicta (May the words of the gospel).
  1. In ambone sacerdos aperit librum et, manibus iunctis, dicit: Dóminus vobíscum, populo respondente: Et cum spíritu tuo, et deinde Léctio sancti Evangélii, pollice signans librum et seipsum in fronte, ore et pectore, quod faciunt et ceteri omnes. Populus acclamat, dicens: Glória tibi, Dómine. Sacerdos librum, si incensum adhibetur, thurificat (cf. nn. 276-277). Deinde proclamat Evangelium, et in fine profert acclamationem: Verbum Dómini, omnibus respondentibus: Laus tibi, Christe. Sacerdos librum osculatur, secreto dicens: Per evangélica dicta.


All who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect unless they are moving in procession.

Crossing one’s self is always appropriate!

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