French custom ? making of the cross as processional cross passes by

I’ve looked at a couple TLM mass videos by FSSP and SSPX that were recorded in different parts of France. I’ve noticed that the faithful make the sign of the cross as the processional cross passes by both during the entrance and sortie. I was wondering, if there are any French catholics here, or live/ have lived in France. These were are TLM masses, but at my parish, we dont do that. I understand it is appropriate to make the sign of the cross when a bishop is processing by, since he is blessing the faithful. I’m not sure if they do this in Novus Ordo masses in France.

Is this a general French custom? Do the Italians, Hispanics, Poles do this? For those TLM-goers, do you do this?


When I’m not serving in the TLM, I do this. :slight_smile:

I don’t know about that so much, but I know in my previous denomination we were instructed to bow as the cross processed past us. Some people would make the sign of the cross at that point.

I can’t say I noticed anyone doing that during the couple of TLM’s I’ve attended or at the Novus Ordo I attended in France.

I bow and so do the other members of my family. We are not French LOL. We attend the Pauline Mass at our local parish.

I bow at the cross, at the bible, and at the holy orders when they pass next to me. (NO Mass)

You’re a former Anglican perhaps? We made a profound bow (some crossed themselves) when the cross passed, and a shallow bow when the Priest passed (in honor of his priesthood); when the Bishop came in procession, blessing the faithful all the way out, we genuflected as he passed and made the sign of the cross.

YAY! Me too.

Well, I am of French ancestry and here in Louisiana we make the sign of the cross as it is processed. But all of us do it down here no matter the ethnicity. Genuflect upon being sprinkled with holy water too.


I’m a former Episcopalian & I bow as the cross goes by, I just can’t help it. It was drilled into me as a child and I can’t imagine it could be interpreted as disrespectful or irreverent

And I never clap in church, even tho’ many do. It just seems too irreverent.

I bow to the passing crucifix and I spent 5 years as an Episcopalian. But they had to have gotten it from us during the Oxford movement, don’t you think?

In the East we always bow to the cross. You might enjoy this explanation from the Melkite Church

Maybe this is a European custom, or a custom in places where the European influence is great. We lived in Cuba between 2003 and 2005. At every Mass that we attended the people would make the sign of the cross when the cross was carried by in procession. They did this both when the priest processed in and when he processed out. All of the Masses were Novus Ordo. It is a nice custom, I think.

Hi, I have dual nationality British and French.
** making of the cross as processional cross passes by**
This isn’t particularly French as it is done in Britain and also in Russia.But talking of differences… The French stand far more during the Mass, whereas Russians and Brits would kneel e.g at the consecration.
Also one thing that really shocks me in France is at the end of the Mass. When the priest says"Go the Mass has ended" the French take him at his word and go, or start conversations with their neighbours.They don’t even wait for him to leave the alter! This is not done in Russia or in Britain and I don’t think it happens in Poland because one of our priests is Polish and he is very surprised at the French attitude!

This almost certainly would not have happened 50 years ago.

Every now and then we get French tour groups who attend Mass at my parish on Sunday. They do indeed stand during the consecration - to the chagrin of all the rest of us who are kneeling.
This begs the question. I am of French ancestry. My fellow parishoners are of French ancestry. What happened? Are we following a more archaic style?

Archaic, no. It is still widely in use. Ancient, yes.

It is a practice of the Christian East to stand throughout the anaphora (Eucharistic prayers) and was actually mandated in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea for the entire church. As Pani Rose said above, it is also a custom of the ancient Church to bow to the Cross.

And on the day called Sunday, all…gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits. Then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs and exhorts…Then we all rise together and pray…then bread and wine are brought…
(St. Justin Martyr, 160, [in his youth, Justin knew people who had seen and heard Christ])

We consider it forbidden to pray on bended knees on the Lord’s Day. (Tertullian, 210)

There are many other observances in the Church which, though due to tradition, have acquired the authority of the written law, as, for instance, the practice of not praying on bended knees on Sunday. (St. Jerome, 330)

Since there are some communities that still bend their knees on the Lord’s Day and on the days of Pentecost, this Holy Council decrees that the common prayers (i.e., at Liturgy) are to be rendered to God standing.
(Canon 20 of the First Ecumenical Council, Nicaea, 325)

I do the same.

I might add that I began doing this very soon after I started assisting at a very solemn N.O. at Assumption Grotto. I wasn’t “doing in Rome like the Romans” because I was too engrossed in the Mass already to notice. It just seemed natural.

O my gosh! I literally bursted out in laughter, o my gosh, and I thought leaving before the priest has gone back to the sacristy or processed out was bad, i’ve seen people leave after communion just to avoid the long wait in the parking lot.

I am a roman and when I go back to Italy I do not see people doing that. I did not see people bowing at the reference to the incarnation during the Credo either. It is not a good idea to always do what Romans do even if you are in Rome. I come from there and I developed better habits in my parish here in Texas.

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