During Mass....

Happy Canonization/Divine Mercy!

I have a quick question before Mass today, I know you are not encouraged to hold hands during the Our Father or to lift your hands up but, nowhere can I find what we ARE supposed to do with our hands during this prayer.

Thank you,

God Bless

The same thing that you do with your hands during the Gloria or during the Creed, or during the Sanctus.

In other words, there is no required or even suggested gesture or hand posture for the congregation during the Our Father. We know what we are not supposed to do (anything that adds ritual, distracts others, calls attention to ourselves, or imitates the gestures of the priest), but the Church simply does not define what should be done.

One personal suggestion is to have the hands folded in prayer.

The best suggestion, though, is not to try to do anything—just concentrate on the prayer itself and don’t worry about what your hands are doing at that moment. The same as (most people do) during the rest of the Mass.

Worrying about what to do during the Our Father is itself a distraction away from the prayer.

Thanks for this…oh how I wish this were printed in church bulletins…:rolleyes:
People pry my hands apart…I have to pray for patience and charity as well…:o

I do this and close my eyes. I think it is because I have gray hair people around me don’t bother me regarding the hand holding thing. My first mass after 30 years, I found the hand holding a bit odd. Evangelicals do this during prayer meetings outside of regular Sunday gatherings.

Your profile says that you’re Maronite. Remember that the Maronite Liturgy (unlike the Roman) does indeed have a proper gesture for the laity during the Our Father.

From the time even before my First Communion, I was taught to fold my hands in prayer during the Our Father. I still do this today. I’m still wondering why this handholding & raising of the hands & arms ever started. There have been threads on this subject before. I have even asked many Priests (older & younger) about this. They have all informed me that it is only the Priest who should be raising his hands & arms in the Orans position.

I wouldn’t worry about such a minor issue .

At the big Mass in Rome today, during the Lord’s Prayer , some held hands , some lifted their hands , some joined their hands and some did nothing particularly noticeable with their hands .

It’s no big deal .

It is a big distraction in some parishes, especially when someone makes a point of trying to grab your hand when you don’t want physical contact. Or, like when I was returning to church and couldn’t understand all the changes, the old guy next to me yelled at me “we’re supposed to hold hands”. So, yes it is a big deal sometimes.

And no doubt, some were standing there eating ice cream. That doesn’t mean it’s a legitimate thing to do at Mass either.

Generally I hold a missalette in my hands. But it seems keeping your hands together is in proper church etiquette, even if it’s an unwritten rule.

From the Ceremonial of Bishps, Chapter 4, General Norms:

“Joined hands
107 Unless the bishop is holding the pastoral staff, he keeps his hands joined footnote 80: “Hands joined” means: “Holding the palms sideward and together before the breast, with the right thumb crossed over the left” (Caeremoniale Episcoporum, ed. 1886, I XIX, 1). when, vested, he walks in procession for the celebration of a liturgy; when he is kneeling at prayer; when he moves from altar to chair or from chair to altar; when the liturgical books prescribe joined hands.
Similarly, concelebrants and ministers keep their hands joined when walking from place to place or when standing, unless they are holding something.”
(Ceremonial of Bishops, Liturgical Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1818-9, page 43).

Some years ago, while he was still bishop of Denver, Archbishop Chaput wrote a public note about holding hands during the Our Father. His comment was that there is no rubric for how one is to position one’s hands during the Our Father. He noted that as there was no rubric, no one had the right to say that it was wrong, or not permitted, or a violation of the rubrics.

He further said that no one had the right to force others to hold hands.

His note seemed to express some aggravation with the matter; and it was his intent to bring the matter to a close. He said that those who wished to hold hands could do so, and that no one else had the right to criticize them; and the reverse also applied; those who wished to not hold hands had the right to not do so, and no one had the right to criticize them.

Since moving to Philadelphia, he has addressed the issue at least once again, with the same conclusion, but with less commentary.

Hand holding during the Our Father started at least by 1966 if not by 1964. There have been at least three editions of the GIRM a well as specific instructions such as Summorum Pontificum (which spoke to specific acts noted to be contrary to the GIRM) and Rome has remained resoundingly silent on the matter. There is no doubt that Rome has known about the issue for a long time; and they have repeatedly chosen to ignore it.

At least one bishop, as chief liturgist in his diocese, has forbidden it. As it is solely within the purview of the bishop to regulate it, it is not the option of the parish priest to either encourage it or forbid it; it is outside their authority.

Any number of people have waded in on the matter in the last 40 to 50 years; as they are not liturgists, it is solely their opinion.

The bottom line, as Archbishop Chaput noted, is that no one should be forced to do it; and those who do not like it should keep their peace.

As there is no instruction as to one’s hands, the comment that “one is introducing” something into the liturgy by holding hands, by logic, holding one’s hands together would also be introducing something. And if one wants to argue that it is “traditional”, then after 48 years it would appear that holding hands is also a tradition. That may be a point for Canon lawyers, and they have disagreed on the matter.

I’m not a canonist, but couldn’t it also be deemed a cultural or parishional thing and wouldn’t be subject to general instructions of the church? As such, one can disagree with his own culture. But that’s only my opinion.

As for its being a tradition or not, I don’t know if it’s worth pursuing from that angle, but I know Canon Law covers custom and we’ll have to leave it to the lawyers to decide whether hand-holding trumps any regulation that a bishop may impose against it. Personally I wouldn’t spend the money to pursue it unless the practice is expanded into more areas of the Mass. Give an inch…

Post #11 had “Archbishop Chaput wrote a public note about holding hands during the Our Father.” His article of 18 December 2002 is at archden.org/archbishop/docs/12_18_02_our_father_liturgy.htm .

Part of what he wrote:

Some people feel that holding hands during the “Our Father” enhances a sense of community. This is perfectly appropriate — so long as it can be done with dignity and without the unseemly acrobatics that sometimes ensue.

For other people, holding hands is a kind of intimacy they reserve for family members. It makes them uncomfortable to hold hands during Mass, and they prefer not to do it. This is also perfectly appropriate. A parish may have several ways of praying the “Our Father,” depending on the people who take part in a specific Mass. No one should feel coerced, and the beauty of the liturgy should always be observed.

Bishop Foys wrote on 18 November 2011, at praytellblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2011-Pastoral-Letter-with-Decree-Bulletin-Insert.pdf :
“4. … c. Special note should also be made concerning the gesture for the Our Father. Only the priest is given the instruction to “extend” his hands. Neither the deacon nor the lay faithful are instructed to do this. No gesture is prescribed for the lay faithful in the Roman Missal; nor the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, therefore the extending or holding of hands by the faithful should not be performed.”

I don’t think it could be deemed a parishional thing, when it occurs in the great majority of parishes in the great majority of dioceses in the US. And there is no question but that it has been a consistent complaint to bishops just about everywhere. It came up as a topic at one of the USCCB meetings, and there was a proposal afoot to petition Rome to approve the orans position. The matter was dropped by the USCCB, and the practice continues on.

I think that there are far, far greater problems we need to work on. The percent of laity using birth control would be a good start. The nuber of youth engaged in extramarital sex is another, Abortion is a third. Gay “marriage” recently has had a whip-snap reaction formstudents and parents when someone has presented the Church’s position (not to mention someone being hounded out of their job by gay activists {who only wanted to be be “tolerated”}).

Like my (hopefully sainted) grandmother told me way, way too many times when I complained about something - people need to learn to offer it up.

When I was a kid in grade school, the sister would come up and flick your ear or snap the tips of their fingers on your skull if you did not have your hands together, interlaced fingers or fingers pointing up. That was not because the Mass had any guidelines, let alone rules as to hand position (an this was in the 50’s), it was because, as a kid, if your hands were not together, you were using them for something nefarious.

Sisters taught a lot of things, and being kids, we took them sometimes for serious theological stuff. At times what they were was serious crowd control, and not more.

In any event, there is no question that Rome has heard about the matter, and for decades. The silence is deafening.

If there is/was a serious problem, it should have been nipped in the bud. In the 70’s, some congregations in my diocese were starting to say the “Through Him, with Him” prayer together with the priest. The bishop was not impressed when he heard this and IMMEDIATELY set out an edict for all priests to tell their parishioners NOT to do that. And they listened AFAIK.

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