I Cannot Tolerate Holding Hands During the "Our Father" at Mass?

Hello to All,

Well the subject of this post basically sums up my question. First of, I’m a kind of private guy, very introverted, and my friends jokingly call me a recluse. I do not have much to do with people I don’t know very well. I live in different places, as I travel regularly for both work and studies.

I currently happen to be in One Archdiocese, where the holding of hands is prevalent everywhere. Not only that, people get offended and give me scornful looks if I try not to hold hands, and they eventually grab my hands and hold them, during the our father. The entire congregation goes to the point of where people step out of pews to hold hands with other pews. And changing parishes won’t help, because all churches here are already overly crowded, you have to be lucky to even find a seat inside. So I cannot simply go to a corner by myself because people are just everywhere.

As I said, I don’t have much to do with anyone, (I do not trust anyone) and I actually like being alone, I hate crowds, loud noises etc, and the people at church who insist on holding hands just drives me up a wall, because I just feel that It violates my personal barriers.

As far as I know holding hands is not required, I do not want to be mean to other people by denying them what they are accustomed to, but if it violates my personal space then I’m afraid that I will have to. I would really appreciate some information on holding hands in general.

I have nothing against the peace greeting, I just find that holding hands for prolonged periods during the our father to be stressful. Should I speak to the priest about this?

Please, I would appreciate some information. Thanks

First off: :popcorn: there…I’ll settle in here.

Secondly: Me too!

Third: There is nothing I can do about it…:shrug:

I feel much the same way… I usually just keep my hands folded and close my eyes and try to focus on God and not what’s going on around me -but if someone tried to peel my hands apart, I would surely pull my hand back away from them then follow-up with giving them the “stink-eye”… :cool:

People ask this here all the time. The answer is simple. Just close your eyes, bow your head, and fold your hands *before *the hand holding starts. People will leave you to pray without you having to refuse an offered hand.

Thank you all for the replies. I was not aware that this was posted here often. I guess I’ll have to stick with Rich C’s advise.

Join the club. :slight_smile: I’m the same way too. I just keep my hands behind my back during that time, and it also helps to sit somewhere where you’re kind of out of people’s line of fire.

I know the feeling. I just sit at the end of a pew and I just keep my hands together during the whole Mass and so people are not going to be terribly surprised when I do not hold hands. After that, at the sign of the peace, I shake the hands of the people that are closest to me and I give them the warmer and loving smile that I can. I also make an effort to show kindness and warmth to people before and after Mass, especially if I do not know them, in this way they realize that I am not rejecting them but that I am exercising my preferences in my relationship with God when I worship him.


I went to Mass at Scout camp this weekend. I stood without holding hands. The man to my right reached out, so I held hands. The couple of my right did not, but folded their hands so I did not hold hands. My son in front was in the exact situation. The kids to his left were from the same family and would not hold hands. He kept trying to grab the hand until I shook him off with my head. It is a good teaching opportunity on tolerance and understanding of differences.

BTW - I gave him a hug at the sign of peace and he made it clear that he didn’t want a kiss in front of his friends.

Now, I’ll take some popcorn.

Okay, that’s fine -but what if some large fellow just assumes your being bashful and tries pulling your hands apart…? Then what are you going to do…?? You will at least give him the stink eye, for good old TEPO won’t ya’…?

Just bless him in his mind, on his lips, and in his heart.

Just make sure that the other people do not realize that you are socking him.:smiley:

I recommend Rich C’s advice, and if someone tries to take your hand anyway, say, “Please stop.” Your personal space is more important than participating against your will in a non-liturgical act.

I have never seen or heard of people actually holding hands during the Our Father - what a strange thing to do! I have seen people holding their hands out (mimiking the priest) which is also odd. I would recommend firmly clasping your and closing your eyes. I do think it would be worth discussing this with the priest to establish his take on this bizzare practice.

You are correct; holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer is simply a custom popular in some quarters of the Latin Church in the United States. It is not normative, and no one should be making you feel like you have to.

I agree with those who have said the simple, easy solution is to fold your hands, bow your head, and close your eyes before the Lord’s Prayer begins. I also agree with YoungTradCath that attempting to force someone into non-liturgical physical contact is an unacceptable violation of privacy. Perhaps you could speak to your pastor and kindly suggest that he gently counsel the people of his parish not to force this custom on everyone?

I personally do not have a problem with holding hands at all. No posture is prescribed or prohibited for the laity during the Lord’s Prayer, so people can hold hands if they want. But it is not right to force the custom on those who do not wish to do so.

None of these practices, including the madcap handshaking contest during the Sign of Peace, are in the rubrics. They are what is considered “local custom.”

One thing that works pretty well is to fold one’s hands together, close the eyes and bow the head immediately upon rising from the Great Amen. I say pretty well, because not long ago a lady in the pew in front of me turned around and started poking my folded hands with her sharp fingernail.

As far as the handshaking competition- I’ve been kneeling after the Agnus Dei for a while now. I’ll usually just give a bow and a “Pax Christi” to the persons to my right and left. I don’t turn around (this is against the rubrics). Yesterday I knelt before the Agnus Dei even started. I’ve seen other people doing this in our one diocesan EF Mass location. I think it’s old school but not disallowed, although a few years back an Orange County priest tried to kick out many of his congregation who were continuing to kneel after the Agnus Dei. Guess who won that little war?

I agree with others to just clasp your hands and close your eyes. Between me, my wife and 5 kids we do a good job of breaking the “hands across the nave” human chain.

I also find a good hacking cough or sneeze in your hands is enough to deter those interested in violating your space. :smiley:

I’d have definantly given her the stink-eye…! :cool:

It seems to me that the practice has been slowly but gradually becoming less common over the past few years.

We do the SOP with a head know vs a handshake , as well we hold our hands in the air with out touching one another . So these are modified somewhat church to church.

I almost choked on my lunch!! LOL

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