Hand-Holding Explained


When hand-holding/hand-raising was introduced to your local parish, what sorts of explanations were given? How did you react? Did the practice continue?


What is this in the church context? I only know holding hands from couples …?


I’m guessing he means holding hands during the Our Father…


I think there’s a misconception that Father stood up one day and said, “We’re all going to start doing ___ now.”

In most parishes, that didn’t happen. Instead, one or two small groups started; then a few more caught on. Next thing you know, many are. Of course, there may have been places where instructions were given, just like there are places where it never really took off, and places where instructions against it have been given (or it’s organically died off).


I think it was imported from 12 step programs, whose members generally hold hands during the Serenity Prayer.


I remember first seeing it in the 90’s. The priest said, “Let us all join hands together and pray as Jesus taught…” Or something like that.


Always been there, never explained.

IMO, it’s dying now. I usually never do it.


My impression is that there’s roughly a fifty-fifty split between handholding parishes and others, and that in both cases the parishioners are simply going along with the pastor’s wishes. If a new pastor takes over and reverses his predecessor’s expressed preference, the parishioners readily follow his lead, in whichever direction.

About the doxology

I’ve never experienced it. As a buttoned up Englishwoman, I am profoundly grateful for this providence.


Never, ever, left s mass discoursged or fearsome because of the holding of hands at the our father, not kneeling st the consecration, flashing the peace sign of peace, people not genuflectinh or bowing at the proper time…none has made the sacrifice invalid…im content more in worship and thanksgiving than keeping a liturgical scorecard.


Happy birthday, alice24!


Hand holding during Our Father has always been around with some people clear back to the 1970s. A handful of parishes have everyone doing it, most parishes just have a few pepole doing it who have large families or know each other. No one looks askance at you if you refrain.

I don’t remember any explanation for it. I remember a priest once asking everybody to do it at the Easter vigil at a church where people didn’t normally hold hands. That’s the extent of my memories of its being referenced.

As for hand-raising, all I know is most of the people in one geographical area where I spend time do it; when I go o the next state over, most people don’t, so I assumed it was taught one place and not the other. Most of the people in place A bow before receiving Communion also, whereas most people in place B do not and the kids are not taught to do so for their first Communion.


Thank you very much :blush:

I only saw this hand raisong once when I attended a protestant service in the parish where my mum was.


I think it was just something some started and it took off and was considered the norm. But it really never was.


Reasons I’ve heard were that it’s a “sign of unity” – but the Eucharist is the ultimate sign of unity and the focus should be on that. In my opinion it’s just one of many “innovations” people have tried to bring to the mass that aren’t in the rubrics in order to make things “congregation centered” rather than keeping the focus on the Eucharist where it should be. I’m not going to lose sleep over a husband and wife that want to hold hands or the occasional few people that are doing it when nobody else is, but as far as the congregation being invited to do it, I personally find it really cheesy and too touchy-feely of an evangelical style for my liking.

It’s common in the U.S. and an influence from evangelicalism, but they don’t do it in Europe at all.


I never saw it when I was younger. I only noticed it when I came back to the faith.

My reaction :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

But wait, do people hold hands with people they don’t know? I’ve only seen couples or families hold hands.


It probably depends on the parish, but in some places the entire congregation will hold hands during the Our Father, where everyone even joins across the aisle so they are all holding hands, even with people they don’t know – the whole shebang. Even if someone isn’t comfortable with it, it’s not uncommon for someone to practically flap their hand over into your personal space expecting you to grab it. :joy:

I live overseas but whenever I am visiting my family in the U.S. and have to attend one of the local parishes I usually see it and just groan to myself “oh brother” – almost always I’m sitting with my family and I don’t want any drama from them for keeping my hands to myself so I politely hold their hands and tolerate it.


Actually, it came in via the Charismatic Movement.


After I returned to Church after a long absence, I started holding hands with a friend there. She was doing it long before I did. I also raised my other hand in the Oren’s posture (or whatever it’s called). When my friend wasn’t there, I prayed the Our Father with both hands raised.
I’ve since changed the way I say the prayer by folding my own hands and praying that way.
My friend once told me that she wants to hold hands.


That really is reserved for the Priest alone.

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