During the Lords Prayer, should we hold hands or not?

My wife and I are both cradle Catholics born in the 60’s and not properly catechized. We When my first child was born I bought the Catholic Catechism book read it cover to cover and continue to read parts of it on a fairly regular basis. My wife and I have always gone to church and believe and try to be faithful to everything that the church teaches.

We have been told by faithful friends of ours that we are not supposed to hold hands during the Lords Prayer. I’ve tried to verify this somehow. Our parish pastor has said before that the primary goal should be unity of the Mass (i.e. our pastor gave our parish guidelines that were sent from our Bishop on making a profound bow of the head before receiving communion instead of making the sign of the cross). I’ve looked at the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, and while there were statements about the posture and solemnity, I could not find anything about whether or not to hold hands during the Lords Prayer. Our parish, and most of the parishes in the dioceses where we live, the common practice is to hold hands during the Lords Prayer.

I can tell that this is confusing to the First Grade boy and my Kindergarten girl who attend the parish school there. We just got a note sent home from my first grade boy’s teacher who said the he would not hold the other kids hands next to him during Mass and it was very confusing to them. The teacher said in the note that when she asked him about it, he said my wife told him not to hold hands. The teacher is looking for an answer from us about what we want going forward (hold hands or not).

Neither my wife or I are uncomfortable about holding hands during the Lords Prayer, but want to do what the Church wants.

Please help…

God Bless.

Dear Z,

Holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer is not a bad thing. It’s just not a part of the Liturgy. This is why there is no reference to it in any of the official sources. It’s something that people have begun to do on their own. Adding anything to the liturgy on our own, unless specifically allowed or suggested by the liturgical norms, is inappropriate and beyond our purview.

The bow of the head that is now required of the faithful as they receive the Eucharist is not a replacement for the sign of the cross. There is no law which forbids the making of the sign of the cross after receiving.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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