Postures/gestures during OF Mass


Once I started attending the EF I saw others doing these and adopted them as well. I carried these gestures over to the OF. But I’m not actually sure what’s correct? Please let me know if any of these is “wrong”:

-sign of cross after absolution (…may Almighty God have mercy on us…)
-sign of cross during the last line of the Gloria (…in the glory of God the Father, Amen)
-sign of cross during the last line of the Credo (…I look forward to the resurrection of the dead…)
-sign of the cross during the Eucharistic prayer (…so that they become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ…)
-strike breast during “Lord, i am not worthy…”

Thank you!



Concerning making signs-of-the-cross:


These are hardly major or disruptive gestures and have become strongly entrenched in Catholic piety for a long time; it is only natural that these habits carried over into the reform of the Mass.

They are not prescribed or anything, but the rubrics don’t really prohibit what individual laity do, within reason of course. I would say there is no reason to try and stop these.


Whenever we prayed the Eucharistic Prayer I, I would cross myself when the priest came to the part…

Almighty God,
we pray that Your angel
may take this sacrifice
to your altar in Heaven.
Then, as we receive from this altar
the Sacred Body and Blood of Your Son,
let us be filled
with every grace and blessing.
[Through Christ our Lord]

I haven’t done it lately, of course, since the revision of that particular prayer in 2011. Now I just bow my head slightly after the words "Through Christ our Lord.


Actually if you follow along in the missal, all the Eucharistic prayers have the symbol for making the sign of the cross at the words “body and blood.” Now, I’m not sure if that’s just for the priest or not. In my missal for the EF there are lots of crosses but I assumed most were directions for the priest. :shrug:


Those crosses represent blessings, not necessarily done on one’s own forehead, heart and shoulders. You’re right, in the 62 Missal there are plenty of them in the Eucharistic Prayer, or the Roman Canon. I believe the interim missal of 1967 eliminated most of those crosses, bows, and genuflections. On the new communion formula issued in 1964, the sign of cross made with the Host for the communicant was also eliminated


They are only for the priest.


The strikes at the mea culpa are in the rubrics. It seems that the bows are not so common but are in the GIRM.

*GIRM 50, 124, 134, 167, and 275 are interesting:
*50. When the Entrance Chant is concluded, the Priest stands at the chair and, together with the whole gathering, signs himself with the Sign of the Cross. Then by means of the Greeting he signifies the presence of the Lord to the assembled community. By this greeting and the people’s response, the mystery of the Church gathered together is made manifest.

[Before the Penitential Act]
124. Once all this has been done, the Priest goes to the chair. When the Entrance Chant is concluded, with everybody standing, the Priest and faithful sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross. The Priest says: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The people reply, Amen. Then, facing the people and extending his hands, the Priest greets the people, using one of the formulas indicated. The Priest himself or some other minister may also very briefly introduce the faithful to the Mass of the day.
134. At the ambo, the Priest opens the book and, with hands joined, says, The Lord be with you, to which the people reply, And with your spirit. Then he says, A reading from the holy Gospel, making the Sign of the Cross with his thumb on the book and on his forehead, mouth, and breast, which everyone else does as well. The people acclaim, Glory to you, O Lord. The Priest incenses the book, if incense is being used (cf. nos. 276-277). Then he proclaims the Gospel and at the end pronounces the acclamation The Gospel of the Lord, to which all reply, Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. The Priest kisses the book, saying quietly the formula Per evangelica dicta (Through the words of the Gospel).

  1. Then the Priest, extending his hands, greets the people, saying, The Lord be with you. They reply, And with your spirit. The Priest, joining his hands again and then immediately placing his left hand on his breast, raises his right hand and adds, May almighty God bless you and, as he makes the Sign of the Cross over the people, he continues, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. All reply, Amen. On certain days and occasions this blessing, in accordance with the rubrics, is expanded and expressed by a Prayer over the People or another more solemn formula. A Bishop blesses the people with the appropriate formula, making the Sign of the Cross three times over the people.[98]

  2. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bow: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.[INDENT]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, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (With humble spirit); in the Creed at the words et incarnatus est (and by the Holy Spirit . . . and became man); in the Roman Canon at the Supplices te rogamus (In humble prayer we ask you, almighty God). The same kind of bow is made by the Deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the Priest bows slightly as he pronounces the words of the Lord at the Consecration.


The first sign of the cross you mention is not during the Misereatur (May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins,…) but during the Indulgentiam which is only in the EF. Since the Indulgentiam was eliminated in the OF Mass, there is no sign of the cross at that part of the OF Mass.

The Gloria and Credo no longer retain a Sign of the Cross in the OF Mass but still do in the EF.

When the priest says"…so that they become the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ…", the “cross” indicated in the missal is the SotC the priest is making over the host and chalice, not a SotC he makes for himself or we make for ourselves.

During the “Domine, non sum dingus” in the EF you do strike your breast as a sign of penance, in the OF you are free to but it is not mandated by the rubrics.


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