Nobody folds their hands at mass anymore?


This is something I never actually noticed or paid any attention to until a friend made a casual remark that Catholics don’t seem to even fold their hands during mass.

Typically during Mass I try my best to focus on the service and never notice this kind of stuff but after my friend made this comment I couldn’t help but notice how few people do actually fold their hands? My friend was right? Didn’t seem to matter what part of the mass either but people had their arms crossed, hands in their pockets, or just at their sides but not many actually fold them?

Not sure what this means or if it’s right or wrong but shouldn’t we as Catholics have our hands folded in prayer during the Mass? At the very least during the consecration or going to receive communion?


I don’t clasp my hands together in prayer, most of the time, I leave them open.

If you think of prayer is “giving & receiving” how can you give or receive anything if your hands are tightly clasped?

I think you & your friend should not worry about what other people do or don’t do,
but that’s just my :twocents:


I also have noticed that at most OF masses I attend occasionally.


I also have noticed that people hold onto the chair/pew in front of them, hold their hands below their waists, etc… I also know that many of them (whom I know personally) are very devout Catholics. As for myself, I was taught very young (under 4 years old) to place my palms together at chest height when at Mass, during prayer, and especially during the Consecration and during the distribution of the Holy Eucharist or when receiving the Holy Eucharist. It’s a habit I’ve maintained for over 65 years now. The only ones who used to do the same during Mass were the Priest and Altar Servers. Now I’ve noticed a few other women doing the same, who can see me during the Mass. I don’t do this to “look holy” or to make any impression, it’s just how I was taught, and I would feel very awkward doing anything else. My husband (of blessed memory) was Protestant when we married, but had already decided to become Catholic prior to our marriage. He had always done the same (and got quite a bit of criticism for it in his Baptist Church!), but never stopped doing so. I notice that the men, more than women seem to not know what to do with their hands during the Mass. (wonder why?)

Doesn’t really bother me anymore, although due to my early training, it seems “disrespectful” to me, that’s my problem, not theirs!. I figure that the state of their soul is more important than the state of their hands! Be gentle, and forgiving of them. If they see you doing this (folding your hands), perhaps it will gradually spread through your congregation. I’ve noticed that people seem to imitate those they see around them at Mass. Here’s your opportunity to spread it around!


There is no official teaching/rule on this. I used to ask about things like this but was told by a brother, at Mass, feel free to do with your body as you wish (as long as it’s not being used do something uncharitable or offensive). And feel free to allow others to do with their body at Mass as they wish.


I still fold my hands in prayer as the nuns taught me. I guess I’m old school…


Much of the postures during mass are learner from the people around us… Good and Bad.
Since A I’m not comfortable with extented my hands in pray I fold my hands. I don’t normally take the cup( when. I reverted it wasn’t offered and I don’t drink) When I walk by the cup at my current parish I bow. This gesture is being copied by others.


I always fold my hands in prayer at Mass.


I notice that most people fold their hands when they go up to receive the Eucharist. I do not fold my hands in the pews, but then again, I am usually holding a baby. :wink: I was not taught to do any particular posture while in the pews at Mass, except to mimic when others were sitting, standing, and kneeling (I’m an adult convert.)

Most people also seem to fold their hands while they are kneeling, but I really don’t really notice at any other time.


is no official teaching/rule on this. I used to ask about things like this but was told by a brother, at Mass, feel free to do with your body as you wish (as long as it’s not being used do something uncharitable or offensive). And feel free to allow others to do with their body at Mass as they wish.

:thumbsup:  AMEN!


Gus: Thank you for bowing to the Chalice of the Precious Blood! I often serve the Chalice at Mass, and although everyone bows prior to receiving the Host, even tho’ those who do receive from the Chalice often don’t bow, and quite a few don’t even say “Amen” when offered the “Blood of Christ” (which is also the Eucharist!) As for not receiving from the Chalice, that’s your choice.

Just as an aside: a thought for you. My husband converted to Catholicism, and he not only couldn’t drink wine at all (made him ill), he could hardly stand the smell of it either, and I was accustomed to having a glass of wine about once a week, which sometimes bothered him, due to smelling it. However, when he went to his First Communion, he also received from the Chalice (which surprised me no end!) and told me afterward with a look of absolute wonder on his face that it not only tasted like fruit juice to him, that he couldn’t smell the wine at all!!! This continued his whole life! And he still could smell it anytime outside of Mass and still hated the smell!

Thank you for being respectful toward the Chalice!! As an EMHC, I very much appreciate this attitude!:thumbsup:


Religious congregations and orders that wear a scapular are known for lacing their hands underneath the scapular during Mass. They taught these gestures to the faithful.

Why anyone in the world would care that someone else’s hands at Mass weren’t folded “properly” is beyond me.


What a wonderful gift from God for your husband


Challenge accepted. I just saw my first communion pictures, and I can’t remember when I stopped folding my hands in front of my chest. I guess other people can’t remember either. I love the idea of doing this again, and hopefully others can also remember this gesture and folding the hands as well. More than the gesture, it brings back memories and teachings of the days of baptism/first communion/confirmation when I would feel kind of ‘holy’ and ready to live a virtuous and charismatic life.


How can your friend possibly believe that “nobody” folds their hands at Mass anymore by looking around at people in ONE church out of how many thousands in the country?

I assure you, folded hands are alive and well in my parish.

Besides which, folded hands really means nothing when it comes to determining who is praying or not. That is a routine pious position that people can automatically take while their minds are a million miles away. It does not mean someone is actually praying.

I learned that while in grade school with Sister policing us at Mass. :slight_smile:


I just noticed that… mmmmmmmmmm


I keep my hands clasped together during mass, especially during the Eucharistic Prayer - it helps me pray and it keeps them from being grabbed during the Our Father.


I do whatever is necessary to stay warm, or to keep from teetering. Fold arms, or hold on to pew in front of me. In this way I can concentrate on the Mass as I offer thanksgiving and praise to The Lord. I do not pay attention to others as they worship.


Very few people fold their hands at Mass in my parish. If I were to fold my hands during Mass, my brother (who is the parish’s only altar server) would likely think I was crazy or trying to look holier. He was somewhat concerned when I decided not to hold hands with my sister during the Our Father a couple weeks ago…


I often pray with my hands on the pew in front of me.

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