General questions about conduct in Mass

  1. Before you enter a pew… do you genuflect AND cross yourself? Or just genuflect?

  2. When the Gospel is about to be read, I see others in Mass doing a gesture that looks like the Sign of the Cross. What is it?

  3. In the beginning of the Mass, during the procession, I see others cross themselves as the Crucifix pass them by. Is this normal/expected?

  4. Ah-men or A-men? Do all prayers end with an Amen? I have a prayer book, and many prayers do no end with an Amen?

  5. Not necessarily for Mass: Do all prayers begin with the Sign of the Cross? Or do they end with the Sign of the Cross? Or both? I know that prayers can be said pretty much in any way the person wants, but what is the traditional Catholic way?

I do both, but I don’t think most others in my parish do.

  1. When the Gospel is about to be read, I see others in Mass doing a gesture that looks like the Sign of the Cross. What is it?

I don’t know if there’s a proper name for it, but with your thumb you make a small cross on your forehead, then on your lips, then on your heart.

  1. In the beginning of the Mass, during the procession, I see others cross themselves as the Crucifix pass them by. Is this normal/expected?

I don’t, and have no idea if others do–since we’re singing a hymn, my eyes are on the book.

  1. Ah-men or A-men? Do all prayers end with an Amen? I have a prayer book, and many prayers do no end with an Amen?

I had to think about that one! Generally, I say Ah-men at the end of a hymn, A-men at the end of a prayer.

  1. Not necessarily for Mass: Do all prayers begin with the Sign of the Cross? Or do they end with the Sign of the Cross? Or both? I know that prayers can be said pretty much in any way the person wants, but what is the traditional Catholic way?

I don’t know if it’s traditional, but I always cross myself before and after. :slight_smile:

Miz

Just genuflect. I already made the sign of the cross at the entrace with Holy Water

You’re crossing your mind (“Glory” cross on the forehead), your lips (“to you” cross your lips), and your heart “Lord” cross your chest by the heart)

It is saying we confess the Gospel of the Lord with our minds, lips and hearts.

Its not expected but a nice gesture. We usually cross whenever the Trinity is mentioned

Ah-men I heard is closer to the Aramaic which is the origin of the term.

Most people will sign only at the beginning. But I was taught to sign at the beginning and end of a prayer.

Adoremus has a guide to Gestures and Postures of the Congregation at Mass which I find quite good. Note that Adoremus is on the conservative side. I would regard their directions as suggestions rather than mandatory rules unless they are confirmed in an official document. However, one wil not go wrong in following them.

Watch the Priest right before he begins the Gospel, he will take his thumb and make a BIG cross on the Bible from which he is reading the gospel at which time, the attendants in the church make the sign of the cross using their thumbs on their forehead, lips, and heart repeating this prayer silently “May the words of Jesus Christ be IN my mind, ON my lips and IN my heart”. Which means you will mediate, teach and love the words of JESUS.

The answer to question #5 can be found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2157.

The reason I ask is because, like you, I also do both, but it seems a bit much. I cross myself when I enter, before I enter my pew, when I kneel to pray, and after I pray, when Mass begins, and when Mass ends. Wow! And now I am seeing that people cross themselves when the crucifix passes them by at the beginning AND at the end of Mass!!!

I don’t know if there’s a proper name for it, but with your thumb you make a small cross on your forehead, then on your lips, then on your heart.

This is what I’ve seen. My dad, however, does it a completely different way, and I think it may be more traditional. Do you have any idea what it is???

Right, this is what I have seen, and what I have been doing, but my dad does something much, much different. Do you have any idea what he may be doing - maybe an earlier custom that may be more traditional?

I think you’re right. It’s just that, as I said before, I cross myself so many times, and I wonder if I am overdoing it!

You’re crossing your mind (“Glory” cross on the forehead), your lips (“to you” cross your lips), and your heart “Lord” cross your chest by the heart)

As I mentioned to others, do you know of any other gesture? My dad does something completely different, and I am trying to find out if it has basis in an earlier tradition.

The genuflect-ing is not for the pew, although a lot of people do it as they enter the pew. We are asked to genuflect, and make the Sign of the Cross, whenever we pass before the Tabernacle. :thumbsup:

That is because the Tabernacle houses the Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When there is no Tabernacle (as it should be, but some churches do not have the Tabernacle in the main church for architectural reasons), you don’t need to genuflect or cross yourself.

If genuflecting and crossing yourself before you enter the pew is something you choose to do out of reverance for where you are and why you are there, go for it! But it’s not required.

I don’t know what it is called. It causes me drama, because I see it as a prayer. “My the Word of the Lord be in my mouth, on my lips and in my heart” as I make crosses on those three places. :slight_smile:

I can’t pray that as I say, ‘The Word of the Lord’ in response to the priest or deacon saying which Gospel we are reading from. Because I do the two prayers separately, I am often still crossing when the Reading is starting.

I’m not as familiar with the GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the text that describes what is supposed to happen, when and how) as I would like to be, but I believe that it’s one of those things that people do as an act of reverance… Just a good habit, imo.

That doesn’t matter. It often depends on if it’s in song, or being recited. Some of the songs were from latin or from contemporary arrangements, and that would make it change. Ah- or A- seems to depend on you. All prayers do end with Amen (no matter the pronunciation), but many times, in print, they do not put that after, since it’s understood.

Sort of like saying, does your meal end with you getting up from the table. Sure it does. But you don’t always belch after you eat.

Traditional Catholic Way: At the start and end. And if some one else is leading the prayers, and they end with ‘Amen’, you don’t need to do the Sign of the Cross (Do we really need to say ‘Amen. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen’?) :frowning:

@Julian0404: He reads it from the Book of the Gospels (or the Lectionary), not a bible.

#1: I don’t know if it is prescribed one way or the other. However, it is customary to genuflect when the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is present (as in behind/on the altar, or in the sanctuary), and to bow when only the altar is present. As a rule of thumb, it is customary to bow whenever you cross in front of the altar, and to genuflect when you cross in front of the tabernacle. If you must pass between the altar and tabernacle, outside of Holy Mass it is proper to genuflect to the tabernacle. During Holy Mass it is proper to bow to the altar, as that is where the focus is directed during the Sacrifice.

#2: Note that this is not prescribed in the Rubrics of the 2002 Missal. It IS prescribed in the 1962 Rubrics. It is a pious devotion which is nearly universal, but not prescribed. Such actions as bowing the head at the Names of Jesus and Mary, or when all Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity are mentioned together, ARE prescribed, but much less seen. Reading the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (available at vatican.va) is very much worth your time. Read it in the Latin if you can!

#4: I use a long a, (AH-men), because that’s how the Latin is pronounced. Not all prayers end with an amen, but often people add one!

#5: Remember that the Sign of the Cross (Signum Crucis) is a powerful prayer in itself! It is customary to begin and end prayer with the Signum Crucis, however.

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