Holding hands at Mass during the Lord's Prayer

Because of listening to Catholic Answers, I am aware that this is not actually an approved position for the congregation during Mass. But while attending a Mass at a church where the congregation holds hands during the Lord’s Prayer, I noticed some individuals refuse to do so. I didn’t think that that was really the right thing to do and that there is something important about being obedient to the priest and about being in union with the congregation.

Was it wrong of me to participate in the hand holding when I had this information about it? Is it really that big of a deal? Should those people have held hands and then discussed it with the priest afterward? It just doesn’t seem right to me what they did, am I wrong?

Dear Lance,

The people who refused to hold have did nothing wrong. They are simply following the order of the Mass—as you know. It’s not easy to be different. I’m not sure that I would have refused to hold hands because it isn’t the most serious of abuses. But I would certainly not criticize them for doing so. I do think that it would have been good for them to have discussed this with the priest after Mass. Even though the priest would probably write them off as conservative fanatics, if enough people would come to him about it, he might be forced to re-evaluate the appropriateness of adding gestures not called for by the liturgical norms—and that perhaps such norms are important because they concern the most sacred actions that take place on the face of the earth!

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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