Sign of Peace


Do you think the sign of peace in the Mass is appropriate at that time of the Mass? I have met a priest who excludes it, and it seems to me his intentions are pious and out of reverence for the Body and Blood of Christ. I’m personally not sure at this time.


I have seen both: elimination of the sign of peace during Mass, and the sign of peace before the Lamb of God. The concept seems fine, but the implementation is often out of whack. I have seen churches where it becomes a veritable brouhaha. The Priest leaves the alter and parades around the church shaking with everyone (I believe that practice is illicit). I find that the sign of peace often turns into a big ruckus that really disrupts the Mass. Many people use it as a moment of socialization, which I don’t believe is appropriate during Mass or in the Church.


I am not an authority on this in any circle, but IMO, the sign of piece at its location in Mass is a great way to remember that the Church is a community and that after receiving Christ, we are more of a community than we were previously. The sign of piece signifies our will to be one people, harboring no hatred, and instead, manifesting goodwill to our neighbor. I’ve seen people who refused to shake people’s hands because they were mad at that person… Obviously, this person does not want to be part of the Body of Christ.

The sign of peace is a precursor to a Sacramental reality. While priests sometimes abuse this part of the Mass, and while some people don’t maintain reverance during this part of the Mass, that doesn’t mean that the sign of peace should be excluded.

We’re not just a bunch of individuals going up to receive God. We are a community. And to accept our neighbor is to accept Christ into our hearts.


I am OK with passing the sign of Peace to others during the Liturgy, though I find it cumbersome where it is located. In my church, the pastor parades down the center aisle of the church, and then across the front of the church, shaking hands and greeting, and the folks in the pews mill about…feels like a political rally!

During Mass, I am working my way through the Eucharistic prayer, preparing myself for Communion, and then the bottom falls out of the works. I know that we are all in communion as we gather as Church for Mass, but sure would like to see the passing of the Peace at the opening of the Liturgy, perhaps at the end of the Penitential Rite.

Perhaps it is just me…my powers of concentration have grown less and less over the years!


It has turned into a goofy hug-fest where your train of thought is completely sidetracked. One moment you are meditating on receiving the Eucharist and preparing yourself for such an awesome encounter, the next moment you are forced to cordially shake everyone’s hands (including the stranger who’s hand you were holding for a good minute during the Our Father, hoping they wouldn’t think you were holding too tight, too light, too limp, too clammy, did they get just your fingers or the whole palm of the hand, are they the same gender and think it’s wierd, are they the opposite gender and think you’re weird, did they see you wipe your nose on your hand earlier, did you see them wipe their nose on their hand earlier,etc… even though holding hands isn’t even called for). After all this, you are, somehow, supposed to jump right back into contemplative mode and resume preparation for receiving the Sacrament.

It has a basis - in the Tridentine Mass the clergy exchanged the “Kiss of Peace”. However, it doesn’t have a liturgical ethos to it anymore because of how culture and custom have reduced it to a “social break” from Mass. It can end up reducing reverence to the Blessed Sacrament if it is overdone.

The Sign of Peace is optional, too. It doesn’t have to be done. I’d prefer it if we follow the example of the Sisters of Charity: a silent bow to your neighbor with hands folded in prayer. St. Theresa of Calcutta had a great idea with that one. :thumbsup:


God forbid that we come to worship as a community of friends rather than a community of strangers. :rolleyes:



I would like to see it happen before the offertory, as in the Anglican tradition. That way, you can make peace with your brother before you bring your gift to the altar.


I personally do not see the sign of peace all that distracting from the mass. :shrug: In this day and age there are alot more things being done at mass in certain areas of the country or certain parishes that are far worse. I guess it’s all relative. My way of thinking is that we need to rid Holy Mass with blatant abuses first before tackling the little things. First things first.


Interesting topic because I have never honestly payed that much attention to it. I always give peace to my family and whoever is in front of me and behind me; but it’s quick, so I’ll have to pay attention this week and see…



Not to take away any credit from Bl. Theresa, :slight_smile: but it wasn’t really her idea. Such is practiced all over India.A good idea, because its quick and quiet.


At my old parish the Sign of Peace was a real train wreck with the priest coming down from the altar to circulate and people walking around the church to say hi to their friends – the whole thing usually took five minutes before everything settled back down.

Finally somebody must have twigged how inappropriate this was but rather than cut it out they moved the SofP to after the prayers of the faithful, which actually isn’t a bad place for it.

If you think the Sign is a symbol of community then having it after the prayers of the faithful puts it at the head of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. If, like me, you’re not crazy about the Sign having it at the beginning gets it out of the way.

Qy: If it’s such an all-fired symbol of community, why not make it part of the introductory rites? Following the confetior, maybe?


I am fine with the priest offering peace to the people, but I don’t like the community passing of the sign of peace to each other. It becomes to disruptive, and I believe it disturbs the flow and solemnity of the Mass. Our new parish eliminates the public expression of the sign of peace (fully within the priest’s rights to do so), and I really like that, and I don’t miss it a bit.



I would like to see it happen before the offertory, as in the Anglican tradition. That way, you can make peace with your brother before you bring your gift to the altar.

Me too. We don’t have too much ruckus at our parish with the sign of peace, but I’d like to move it.


While I like the timing, I do think folks get carried away & it lasts too long sometimes :o


As far as I understand, the sign of peace is not just an extra, thrown in for good measure; but is in fact, part of the Sacrament of the Mass. A beautifully given part of the liturgy where we, as Christians, can offer each other Christ’s peace, through each other, in His presence; and indeed we can receive His peace from each other (that is if we are open to receive it in faith).

:twocents: Personally I think that when it is done reverently, and in the true spirit of the Sacrament, it is a beautiful gesture, where Jesus makes up- where we lack- to perfect His peace in us through the Sacrament.


Not quite true. We do not offer Christ’s Peace to one another. We, as laity, do not have that authority.

Rather, it is the Priest who offers it to us, and then we share the sign\symbol of that Peace.

The Peace itself has already been given and recieved. We just signifity that that such an exchange has already occured.

This is why it is an optional part of the Liturgy. The priest, acting in persona Christi, has already given us the peace. We posses it and those next to us cannot add to it in anyway. They might only signify what we already know. That the Peace was given.


Seems like some parishes I’ve been at have two–one at the start of Mass where they shake hands an introduce themselves and again at the regular time after the Our Father.


Pope Benedict, in his last Apostolic Exhortation in Feb., said that it should be moved to before the Preparation of the Gifts. He mentioned some scripture but they slipped from my mind. Go to the Vatican website and read it. It calls for changes to the NO, which I am hopeful for.


My Humblest apologies if my earlier post was wrong. :blushing: I had no intention of leading people astray, it was just my poor interpretation of the following:

From the General instruction on the Roman Missal

The Rite of Peace
#82. As for the sign of peace to be given, the manner is to be established by the conference of bishops, in accordance with the culture and customs of the peoples. It is, however, appropriate that each person offer the sign of peace only to those who are nearest and in a sober manner.

From the introduction to the order of the Mass (on the sign of peace)

“The biblical concept of peace includes total well-being, a life in harmony with God and ourselves, with our neighbours, and with the whole of creation. Such peace can only be the pure gift of god. It is won for us by the risen Christ present in the midst of those gathered, and so it is the peace of Christ that is exchanged.”

I still think that it is a beautiful part of the mass when done properly! :hug3:


I agree. I am always reminded of Jesus greeting his disciples when he appeared after the crucifixion and the joy that is found when we recognise Him.

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