Is it common in most parishes during the liturgy

for people to not strike their breast during the penitential rite or to bow during the “by the power of the holy spirit, he was born of the virgin mary and became man” part of the nicene creed?

is this something i should do on my own accord or is it no longer done?

i was reading a book that had the order of the mass and their were notations for doing these.

we had a guest celebrant that did bow but no one else did.

You are correct. You should bow at that time of the Creed, even if the priest isn’t. He should be.

Someone will surely correct me if I’m wrong, but I am quite sure that striking of the breast is optional in the NO Mass, but should be done during a TLM.


Both of these actions are required by the rubrics of the Mass.

As for the penitential rite, since the words “through my own fault” currently are said only one time, one should only do the gesture one time (though 3 would not be wrong).

However, when the corrected translation of the Mass in English is finally published (expected sometime before the Second Coming) the Confiteor will again have that phrase 3 times (as it has always had in the original) and presumably we will do the striking-of-the-breast 3 times as well.

(And please note the OP that the priest did bow during the Creed)

but our regular priest doesn’t. the guest one did.

All I can realy say is that the rubrics do require both of the gestures that you asked about.

Whether or not your regular priest does them, well…not much I can say about that which wouldn’t be obvious.

In my previous parish, everyone bowed during the Creed, but only a few people would strike their chest.

In my new parish, I haven’t seen anyone else do either (including the priest). I think it depends on what parish you attend.

Personally, I do both even at my new parish.

It is common I think. The NO I used to attend no one bowed or struck their breast.

I don’t think you were asked. :cool:


As you should, and I do as well. Don’t worry about sticking out - you might get some people to follow the rubrics as well! Worry only about God watching, not others.

I attend a NO Mass and I always bow and strike my breast.

That was uncalled for.

It had fallen out of practice in our parish. Then our new pastor quietly reinstituted it, quite correctly. He quietly instructed the parish and we got all the altar servers to strike their breast and bow at the appropriate time to set the example. Slowly people started doing it again, but I would say it is still only about 30-40% that do.


I’d never seen anyone else do it until I started attending Mass in Spanish, everyone strikes 3 times and bows.

The Missal directs the people to strike their breast once during the Confiteor of the Penitential Rite, and to make a profound bow (of the body, not just the head) during the Creed at the words you mentioned. Just because most people (and even priests) don’t is no excuse to abandon the practice.

(Also, on the Solemnity of the Annunciation – coming up on March 25th – and on the Solemnity of the Nativity – you know, December 25 – the proper posture during those words of the Creed is to genuflect, rather than simply to make a profound bow.)

You should do these things. Perhaps by you doing them, other people will see them and do them too. Better yet, perhaps they’ll ask you first why you’re doing them – and hopefully you know WHY you do them – and you can catechize them briefly and then their active participation in the Mass will be enriched.

Both a bow of the body and two bows of the head are required during the Creed.

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from :
“275. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.
a. A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at
the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor
Mass is being celebrated.
b. A bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow, … in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man);”

In the USA I think the full line is currently translated as: “by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” So the bow of the body is directed. And the bow of the head for the naming of the “Virgin Mary”.

Another bow of the head will be required near the beginning: “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ”. For the naming of “Jesus”.

He was correct, it has always been required.

Of course, as japhy noted, the genuflection during the lines that you quoted comes on March 25th for the Solemnity of the Annunciation and on December 25th, the Nativity of the Lord, comes into play. To the OP, as others have noted, even though your fellow pewmates may not do this, they might begin following your example.

Are you sure the bow of the body (which is “profound”) doesn’t negate the necessity of a bow of the head when saying Mary’s name?

That would be an interesting posture. :shrug:

When I was growing up (the 1970s and 80s), I learned to also strike my breast at:

*]“Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us” during the Gloria;

*]and three times when you say “have mercy on us” and “grant us peace” during the Agnus Dei.

It was the combination of our parish having an older pastor who still did some of the gestures of the TLM and having a mother who went to Catholic schools in the 1950s.

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