Orans position during Our Father [edited]

When reciting the Lord’s Prayer during the mass, what is the correct position of the arms? I see most people with arms upraised, but some of us do not do this.

The orans position, arms up in the air, is actually reserved for ordained ministers, although it became very common in the years after Vatican II. Hand holding during the Our Father at Mass is also a no-no. The sign of unity at Mass is the Eucharist. It is fine to hold hands at the Our Father outside of Mass, say at a prayer meeting. so what’s left is hands folded . usually above the waist.
Hope this helps.


Linda’s reply was very civil, but just to keep this thread from degenerating: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=299593 :wink:

If you don’t mind, I’d like to add “palms up” with arms bent at the elbow, forward: As one is offering prayers to God the Father. Or hands with palms up and cupped, with bent elbows, in front of one’s torso, a kind of modest manner. Also, when one prays for someone the hands are palmed towards the recipient of the prayer, for we are offering prayers of blessings for him or her that comes to that person from God, through ourselves.

It is actually reserved for the Priest, not even the deacon.

I was at the Catholic University in Washington DC, a priest there told me that raising the hands during the Our Father is imitating the priest, which is a no no.

The priest told me priests that allow raising the hands during the Our Father are being disobedient.

He also told me that some priests encourage holding hands so they would not raise their hands.

Actually, in his book, the Spirit of the Liturgy, Pope Benedict XVI makes a pretty good case for folks using the orans position, since it is one of the oldest prayer postures. I do not have the book in front of me. I lent it to my pastor several months ago and have not seen it again. I may just order myself another copy and let him keep it. This is not the first time I’ve lent Spirit of the Liturgy to a priest only to have it disappear. :smiley: This will have been my third copy. Oh well. Maybe the Holy Father’s words will guide my pastor. :shrug:

I think that this might be on the moratorium list of topics. Please see the sticky on the Liturgy and Sacraments page. The one dated January 2009.

Thank you all. Now, how do I tell my pastor? I doubt that he would read my question and your respomses, and if he would, I doubt he’d act on it.

Hi Margie,

Actually your Pastor holds an opinion as does each of the people who responded, but since he is your Pastor it would be best to respect his view. If you do the search you will see many responses regarding position during the Lord’s prayer.

The USCCB, which is the authority is the US, has made this response–


Q-Many Catholics are in the habit of holding their hands in the “Orans” posture during the Lord’s prayer along with the celebrant. Some do this on their own as a private devotional posture while some congregations make it a general practice for their communities.

Is this practice permissible under the current rubrics, either as a private practice not something adopted by a particular parish as a communal gesture?

R-No position is prescribed in the present Sacramentary for an assembly gesture during the Lord’s Prayer.

Email us at bcl@usccb.org
Secretariat for Divine Worship | 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194 | (202) 541-3060 © USCCB. All rights reserved.

If the USCCB chooses to stay out of this discussion, perhaps this is the best way to handle it. You choose your prayer position, and let others do the same.



The arms bent, palms up, I thought, was not like the Priest’s, as they often put them out to the side in a wide arc … compare them in your mind and they seem quite different. A look online was suggested and I found this from EWTN: I agree with the EWTN link about the orans posture, as it is rather comprehensively explained. I wonder if there are other postures like the one that I described that are actually different then the orans, or, is it just a different way of doing the orans. Thanks for the technical term!


It’s not a matter of convincing your pastor to read the responses posted here. What your pastor sould be following, and indeed all priests should be following is the General Instruction of the Roman Missal --the GIRM usccb.org/liturgy/current/revmissalisromanien.shtml

This is the teaching and liturgical laws of the Church for how the Mass is to be said. This is the source approved by the Holy See. You will find many other sources calling for “this or that” to be added to the Mass–they are all irrelevant and misleading because they do not enjoy the approval of the Holy See. One should not be looking for “what to do during the Mass” by reading web pages (unless those pages contain documents which have been approved by the Holy See).

Now I’m not criticizing the fact that you posted here, only trying to make the point that when it comes to asking what to do during the Mass, the Church has already answered that question, and answered it fully. We should all be following the directions of the Church, as approved by the Holy See and not non-authoritative sources.

Please take a moment or two to look at the GIRM. If you see where the GIRM calls for the congregation to raise their hands or hold hands during the Our Father then the congregation should do this. If you do not see such instructions in the GIRM then the congregation should not be doing this. Paragraphs 81 and 152 describe “who does what” at this time.

As for your pastor, the GIRM is printed in the opening pages of the Sacramentary. He has a copy of it readily available. If you can convince him to do this, open to the pages which describe what you are asking and hopefully he will follow the liturgical laws of the Church. That’s really all you can do–hope and pray that he will follow the laws of the Church.

Yes. This is correct.

Here is Karl Keeting the founder of Catholic Answers view on posture during the “Our Father” This is from his eletter. The section on posture during the “Our Father” is only part of the eletter.


Also here is Rome’s opinion.

Questioning the holding hands in the Eucharistic Liturgy the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome answered as follows:

QUERY: In some places there is a current practice whereby those taking part in the Mass replace the giving of the sign of peace at the deacon's (or priest's) invitation by holding hands during the singing of the Lord's Prayer. Is this acceptable? 

REPLY: The prolonged holding of hands is of itself a sign of communion rather than of peace. Further, it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the *rubrics. Nor is there any clear explanation of why the sign of peace at the invitation: “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” should be supplanted in order to bring a different gesture with less meaning into another part of the Mass: the sign of peace is filled with meaning, graciousness, and Christian inspiration. Any substitution for it must be repudiated: Notitiae 11 (1975) 226.

[Notitiae is the journal of the Congregation in which its official interpretations of the rubrics are published.]

I wish that our sign of peace was filled with “meaning, graciousness, and Christian inspiration” but it doesn’t seem that way to me at our Parish. It is more like a “have-to” which anyways, may reassure some people that we are all in it together.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.