Crossing yourself during the elevation(s)


I want to start doing this but I was curious if this is permissible. I was taught to pray “My Lord and my God!” in silent adoration but does the liturgical rubrics or bishops say anything about physical gestures during the consecration?


I’m not sure ,but I say those same words and lay my folded fist over my heart.


There are few regulations about these kinds of things for the laity. Most rubrics for Mass are for clergy. Thus, you can look at two different ways: it’s not prohibited, so you can (which is how most people lean); or it’s not prescribed, so we shouldn’t (which is usually the position reserved by a small few to try to judge others, in my experience).


I don’t think I have ever seen anyone make the sign of the cross during the Consecration, and have no idea why anyone would - and I was born well before Vatican 2. It is normally said at the beginning(and end) of a private prayer; and we do that entering a church as we bless ourselves with holy water - a reminder of our baptism.

However, like holding hands during the Our Father, there is no liturgical law against it. You may get a few looks, but it is up to you.


Actually, you shouldn’t be getting any looks because no one should be looking at you :slight_smile:


No, the Sign of the Cross is not permissible during the elevation at Mass.

Before reading the Gospel, the deacon receives and blessing and makes the Sign of the Cross. From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM):

“175. … Then, bowing profoundly before the Priest, he asks for the blessing, saying in a low voice, Your blessing, Father. The Priest blesses him, saying, May the Lord be in your heart. The Deacon signs himself with the Sign of the Cross and replies, Amen.

So if you are making the Sign of the Cross during the elevations at Mass it may give the impression that you think you are at Benediction.

I think it would be distracting if the deacon, altar servers and concelebrants made the Sign of the Cross during the elevations. Similarly if some of the congregation did this.

From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

42. The gestures and bodily posture of both the Priest, the Deacon, and the ministers, and also of the people, must be conducive to making the entire celebration resplendent with beauty and noble simplicity, to making clear the true and full meaning of its different parts, and to fostering the participation of all.52 Attention must therefore be paid to what is determined by this General Instruction and by the traditional practice of the Roman Rite and to what serves the common spiritual good of the People of God, rather than private inclination or arbitrary choice.”


Been doing it for decades, crossing myself at the elevation, and quietly saying, “My Lord and my God.” I do this when in the pew, though not while serving Mass at the altar.


I don’t see what’s wrong with it. Didn’t someone say that making the sign of the cross is also akin to saying a prayer? I usually do it out of respect or perhaps for protection or at the end of a prayer, depending on the circumstances.


There is nothing in the rubrics that directs to do this, however something like this should not be interpreted so strictly to make something like this wrong. It is a traditional practice of many people, especially in the extraordinary form.


Your quoted text does not ban something like making the sign of the cross during consecration.
If the priest or deacons ste distracted by a small hand movement by a handful of the congregation that’s on them.
Ad Orientem solves that “problem” neatly, anyways.


Shouldn’t we all be focusing on the host during the elevation? How would you even know if some random guy in the pews or even a deacon or altar server was making the sign of the cross? I would only notice if my focus was already distracted away from where it ought to be.


Humans tend to notice movement. A lot of advertising on the internet works that way. We will tend to notice a flying bird or a moving rabbit. In reading the article about movement perception at I tend to notice the moving advertisements on the right. If there are 1000 stationary soldiers who are stationary and one salutes, this movement will be noticed.


I used to make the sign of the cross at the Consecration, then I started doing the fist on heart and bow instead.

I may go back to making the sign of the cross, then fist on heart and bow. Not sure why I stopped with the sign of the cross in the first place.


Maybe it’s just me, but I find this thread does a really good job of pointing out hypocrisy here on CAF.

So long as “adding” something to the Mass is looked at as “pious”, such as this, it’s perfectly ok. If a family wants to hold hands during the Our Father, they are heretics making Mass all about them.

Somtimes all you can say is hhhmmmm? :thinking::roll_eyes:


I say “My Lord and My God” in my head also.

Sometimes things aren’t explicit in the rules so it’s hard. I bow my head whenever Jesus Christ is said, same for Mary and the patron saint of the day yet the rules say only the Priest does this. Not that nobody else can but that the priest should.

The Bible says at the name of Jesus every knee shall bend


Given that the pews at any given Mass are going to be full of “movement”, from kids squirming to parents dealing with them to elderly grannies dropping the missalette to people who suddenly need to sneeze looking for a Kleenex, a priest/ server/ deacon would be pretty inept if he couldn’t tune that out and go about his business.

Crossing yourself is a pious gesture, and if done correctly, is not going to call undue attention to yourself. Especially in a church the size of an auditorium.


That’s a really good point!


It honestly doesn’t matter what one says about a person in the pew doing something during a point in the Mass when the official rubrics do not state that the person has to do a certain exact thing.

Any time something is left open or left to the individual in the pew to handle, there are going to be persons saying “I do tomayto” and at least one person saying “that’s wrong, you should be doing tomahto.”

In the end the important thing is you went to Mass, focused on Jesus, and comported yourself reasonably decently while there. All else can be ignored.


At the parish I attend I would guess most people make the sign of the cross at the elevations; also at the end of the Gloria and the Creed.


I disagree that “the rules say only the Priest does this.” The General Instruction of the Roman Missal has:

275. A bow signifies reverence and honour shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bow: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.

a) A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honour Mass is being celebrated.

b) A bow of the body, that is to say, a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum ( Cleanse my heart ) and In spiritu humilitatis ( With humble spirit ); in the Creed at the words et incarnatus est ( and by the Holy Spirit…and became man ); in the Roman Canon at the Supplices te rogamus ( In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God ). The same kind of bow is made by the Deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the Priest bows slightly as he pronounces the words of the Lord at the Consecration.”

When the bow is done by the Deacon only, in the second last sentence, this is stated. When it is done by the Priest only, in the last sentence, this is stated. For the “Cleanse my heart” prayer before the Gospel, the Order of Mass has in n. 14:
“If, however, a Deacon is not present, the Priest, bowing before the altar, says quietly:

Cleanse my heart …”.

So this is clearly for the Priest only.

Similarly for the prayer “With humble spirit” in Order of Mass, n. 26:

“After this, the Priest, bowing profoundly, says quietly:

With humble spirit …”.

But there is nothing limiting the bow of the head in 275 (a) to the Priest.

At Father McNamara wrote “Our reader is referring primarily to bows of the head. The above norms do not say anything about who makes the bow. Today it would usually be interpreted in the sense that the person or persons proclaiming the text would be the ones to make the gesture.”

I do not see any justification for his last sentence. Whether the congregation say the name or hear the name, they should bow their heads.

[Excerpts from the English translation of the Roman Missal © 2010 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.]

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