Prayer shawls

Why do Catholic men not wear prayer shawls?

They can, but most don’t (most don’t wear scapulars or pray the rosary either)

Lap, prayer shawls?

I think they’re really cool, not to mention historically part of our faith. Jesus was buried in one right? So if Jesus wore one why shouldn’t we. Say “yeah” if you with me!

Isn’t that very Jewish? I have seen Jewish men wearing them but Christians never>

Are you speaking of a traditional Jewish prayer shawl, a tallit? I don’t think Catholic men would be familiar with them. What I thought of when i saw the subject line was a knitted or crocheted prayer shawl made as a gift of comfort to be presented to ill or grieving parish members.

Perhaps because they are not Jewish men?

My wife heads up a “prayer shawl” group at a local OF parish. Yes, men are sometimes the recipiants of these shawls. So far everyone that has been given a shawl has been most thankful for the prayers that have gone into the making of them. Our local Catholic priest Blesses them before the ladies give them away.

I think that the OP was referring to the prayer shawl (tallit) that dates from ancient times, and is worn by some Jewish men during prayer.

I think the shawls that you refer to are often made by church groups to give to someone who is ill, to someone who is bereaved, or to mark a special occasion. It’s a lovely idea.

You’re so smart that you ought to have your own blog!!!

Anyway, Jesus surly wore one, and if the Catholic Church claims to be founded by Jesus Christ, should we not model him in our worship. And yes I am referring to the Jewish head covering called a Tallit used during prayer.:thumbsup:

It’s never culturally been part of the Christian heritage so far as I know, but I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be. Looks like a beautiful custom to me.

Yes - perhaps Jesus did wear one, as he was an observant Jew. He is said in the Bible to be so. However, it has not been a custom of the Catholic Christian to do so. That is not out of a lack of reverence on our part, but rather it could be seen as honoring the Jewish faith in that we do not try to imitate their worship rituals.

What one wears is not as important as what is believed. If we are “imitating” Jesus (in all ways, as you seem to suggest) then men should wear a long “gown” and sandals, and grow a beard!

Rather, what we must imitate is what Jesus taught, lived and prayed. It is His inner life we must imitate to be called sons and daughters of God.

That being said, if you feel “called” to cover your head during prayer, as a sign of honor and committment to the Lord, I think that is wonderful. Go for it!

BTW: Were you trying to be funny or sarcastic with your opening statement? I do not feel sarcastic statements are helpful nor well received. Please understand we who answer are simply trying to help posters who have questions. Sometimes the OP’s questions need clarification. God bless you.

The Old Believers in Russia do that, at least as far as wearing a beard. I don’t really think it’s as crazy as all that. There is something dignified in wearing a beard - it emphasizes the natural priesthood of the faithful, or at least the potentiality in a man to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders, to be a father.

Rather, what we must imitate is what Jesus taught, lived and prayed. It is His inner life we must imitate to be called sons and daughters of God.

That’s much more important.

I didn’t mean to convey that wearing a beard in imitation of Christ was “crazy”. I just feel that the idea that in order to be believers and true followers of Jesus, we should adopt all of His appearance…But I know you know that.

BTW: My DH has worn a beard since 1978…I love beards. I think it makes the man look more “manly”, as long as it is kept clean and groomed, that is! :wink:

I am slogging my way through the 38 volumes of the Church Fathers, and I am into volume 3 (Tertullian). In everything I’ve read so far, I have yet to see a reference to Christian men wearing prayer shawls. So it was not part of the Christian heritage, at least as far as about 200 A.D.


This is what I thought of as well. We have a few in our home. (From baptisms, past illness etc.).

To continue the strain that we’re not called to imitate the outward forms of Christ or the Jews, we can look at circumcision and the laws concerning food.
Jesus was circumcised and followed, as far as we know, all other Jewish customs, but it is already made clear in Acts that believers who come to the faith from other religions than Judaismdo not have to follow these commands.

How does one go about becoming a recipient of one of these types of prayer shawls?


To answer your question; the group receives requests from various folks on the prayer chain at the parish. Our priest also includes names. The names are usually those who are sick, dying or have experienced a recent tragedy. The ladies then meet every other week and pray while they knit or crochet the shawl or lap-ghans. The ladies try to use very soft yarns so that they feel very warm and enveloping. As they get a shawl done our priest Blesses them and one of the ladies presents them to the recipiant. The group has made their own cards to go with the prayer shawl, so it is a very personalized thing.

I have always been a skeptic and wary of this sort of thing so I asked both our OF priest and our EF priest how they viewed these “prayer shawl” groups as they seemed kind of protestant to me. Much to my wife’s delight both priest highly approved them.

So much for being a skeptic!

I follow Jesus and so I follow his Church … I don’t try to figure out, bypassing the Church, how to worship based on my own historical interpretations of 1st century Judaism.

So I have no interest in the Tallit. I wear a scapular, carry a rosary. Sometimes carry a chotki. I wear cassock and surplice when serving at Mass. What would I need a Tallit for?

(The prayer shawls discussed elsewhere in this thread I have no problem with, since the motivation seems entirely different … to give comfort to those who are grieving, rather than establishing Jewish modes of worship in a Christian context even when those Jewish customs have not been preserved in our worship through the centuries).

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