Folded hands at Mass

What are your thoughts about folding your hands together at Mass, going up to receive Holy Communion, coming back, etc. as a sign of reverence while praying. I notice hardly anyone does this except the priest and the altar servers at my parish. For me it is important to do because it helps focus my mind on whom I am praying to. Sometimes my mind wanders anyway, but then with my hands folded I am reminded I am praying with the priest to God. To me it is an important sign of reverence that was taught to me by the Church as a child.

I always have my hands folded in prayer during mass and during the Our Father. They are clasped together when I go to communion, fingers pointing upward. I no longer feel awkward if very few people do this. Everyone used to do it.
I don’t know why it became unpopular. I’ve noticed most people folding their arms, holding the pew in front of them or clasping their hands behind their backs instead of folding hands in prayer. I wondered if they just don’t know it’s okay to do this or if no one ever taught them to do it.
But these days I’m practicing not paying attention to what other people do in mass. I’m happier that way.:thumbsup:

Servers are taught the proper position for the hands are folded unless occupied.
I also fold my hands when receiving Holy Communion or during the Lord’s Prayer.

Is this the posture you’re talking about? Personally, I just keep my hands clasped (fingers interlaced) more or less in front of my stomach, but I think whatever seems prayerful to you works just fine. :slight_smile:

I think that the casual way some approach receiving Holy Eucharist shows a lot less decorum than when I was a child. I do not remember ever seeing communicants walking back from receiving with their arms swinging at their sides and looking all around rather than with eyes down and their demeanor showing that they are focussing on what just happened.

I just feel weird with my hands in prayer position, although my children do this.

I’m kind of, large up top for my height and it just feels like my hands are way out there and in the way… :o just to honest.

I do the same, usually rest them on my big belly. :smiley:

The hands folded in front, came from the time when martyrs had their hands tied together in front of them and were thusly led away to trial and to death. It grew to become a symbol of both your willingness to die for your faith, as well as being christian.

I fold my hands, fingers like a temple for the gospel, for what I feel are the most sacred parts of the consecration, and going up for communion, and I bow before I receive the host. I notice many people don’t do this. I don’t feel strange. If it looks like something a child would do I’m ok with that. Most of the time I have my eyes closed during mass anyway except when responding to prayers or raising my eyes to adore the elevated host. These postures feel natural to me and help me connect to the sacredness and reverence. I find closing my eyes keeps me from being distracted by some of the things going on around me and helps me appreciate that I am actually about to receive My Lord into my body.

Wow…chilling…and inspiring. Thank you for the information.

I didn’t know this either, thanks for the info. It’s something to think about when I think I am tired of folding my hands!

I like to have my hands “folded” with fingertips together, like the servers in that photo. It helps to put myself in prayerful manner. Generally my hands are together like that whenever we are standing or kneeling in the Mass, and in the Communion procession and while receiving Communion. After returning to the pew I often interlace my fingers because my wrists get tired; I put fingertips back together for the post-Communion prayer, blessing, and dismissal.

Most of our servers do that same, they are generally expected to. In the congregation a few do, but not very many.

Wow … I did not know that. Thanks.

This is amazing information! Thank you so much. This knowledge will deepen my reverence and do away with any remaining self-consciousness about folding my hands in prayer. I might also try closing my eyes more, as stated in another post. :slight_smile: God bless you all.

I remember being taught to bow before reception of the Eucharist, while you are right there ready to receive on the hand or the tongue. Some bow when they are about two or three persons back in the line.

When these instructions are not repeated they fall to the wayside.

Some wonderful thoughts have been expressed here, especially about being bound and ready to die. I would like to add that since we are at the foot of the cross here at the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary how would I want to pray there? I am probably going to also fold my hands when Jesus judges me when I die. I don’t want it to be the first time I’ve folded my hands together since grade school. :slight_smile:

I ALWAYS train servers to have their hands folded properly (like the servers in the picture…is that a female server in a cassock?!)

And the bow before receiving Holy Communion is in the rubrics…as is striking the breast at the Confiteor, bowing at the Incarnation during the Creed, bowing when the names of Jesus, Mary, and the saint of the day are mentioned, and bowing when all Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity are mentioned together…&c. You get the point…

I always have my hands folded in prayer or clasped. It just feels natural to do so. I have had a shoulder replacement recently and still have one arm in a sling, so I feel weird not folding my hands at Mass! lol

At my parish, i would guess about 50% keep their hands folded, but EVERYONE bows before receiving Eucharist.

I haven’t payed much attention to how other people receive Holy Communion.

Myself, my hands are folded.


Whenever we are praying at Mass I hold my hands in prayer position. For me it’s with my fingers clasped and not straight because my wrist doesn’t bend right since I broke it.

When I go up for communion I hold my hands in praying position because I take communion on the tongue. It’s a good indication to the priest that I will not be receiving in the hand. :slight_smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit