Teased at Mass for not wanting to hold hands during Our Father

I know this subject is old. It has been talked about many times but I would like to express a request to those who choose to hold hands during the Our Father to please not be upset or force others to hold hands who may not want to. Sometimes it is for health reasons. Sometimes for devotional reasons. Sometimes there are those who more susceptible to germs. Some people because of their own personality traits are uncomfortable holding strangers hands.

Last weekend at our parish there was an elderly woman next to a middle aged man. The middle aged man reached his hand out to the elderly woman, she hesitantly held his hand. The person on the other side of her did not reach out to hold hands. She let go after the Our Father before the doxology. She then began searching through her pocket for Kleenex to blow her nose when he began looking at her intensely, smiling a lot and in a light laughter, began wiping his hands in excess on his pants. It was plain to see he was insinuating to her that she was letting go because she did not want to hold his hand and thus needed to wipe off his germs. She did not look up at him during this time but continued to look for a Kleenex and then wiped her nose. His actions were very distracting to all in the pew behind and insulting to the elderly woman. Maybe she let go because she didn’t like holding hands. Maybe she had arthritis and it was painful or maybe she just needed to blow her nose.

I know there are those who choose to hold hands during the Our Father and I am pretty much neutral on the subject. I think all would agree it is not right to force someone to hold hands when they don’t want to or to bully or tease others when they don’t want to.

The only people I allow to bully me into holding hands during the ‘Our Father’ are my own children.

I have found simply closing ones eyes and bowing during the prayer prevents most from pushing the hand holding upon me.

I’m not one for holding hands so I always fold my arms. I know it’s thought to be kind of a hostile posture, but so be it. Ii’s hard enough to give the handshake of peace. (Yes, I know I sound cranky.) :slight_smile:

I’m not bothered by that problem. I attend the EF. :thumbsup:

I bow my my head and fold my hands. Works every time

I’d rather not hold hands with everyone during the Lord’s prayer. But it’s not a big deal.

I never thought of a handshake as “hard” to perform. At some evangelical churches, folks hug when they arrive, like friends and family do. We’re supposed to be worshiping with fellow believers whom we love because God has first loved us and forgiven our sins. No?

Maybe something to pray about.

Peace to you.

Been all over the board with this one, but what you describe is very sad. Pray for the man who, to you at least, seemed to be mocking one of our treasures, the elderly woman next to him.

On the rare occasions that I am not in the choir loft, I try folding my hands to signal I’m not holding hands. One time the elderly woman next to me tapped my elbow and put out her hand to me. I immediately took her hand.

On Thanksgiving I played the organ for the choir (almost exclusively seniors) from a different mass at my parish. Just before the Our Father, the choir director hobbled (bad knees) over to the organ and took my hand. I didn’t hesitate for a moment.

Maybe it’s just the way I was raised, but respect for our seniors prompts me to smile and take their hands when asked.

Guess that’s the exact opposite of what the OP experienced. OTOH, the idea of respect and choosing one’s battles is the same. I don’t like to hold hands during the Our Father – I think it’s unnecessary and distracting. But it’s not an issue about which I’m going to lose my peace or, hopefully, display a lack of charity.

Two cents’…

God bless y’all.


Yep,I’d really rather not hold hands for a variety of reasons, but my kids like to do it, so if I’m at mass sitting next to one of them, I will.

Yes, I agree, charity to your elders is very important, too.

No one reaches for my hand. Should I be worried? :slight_smile:

is this some kind of regional thing? I have attended three different parishes in two states and have only ever seen a handful of people doing the hand holding thing. most people just bow their heads here and a few raise up their hands in a similar way to what the priest does. does everybody in the whole gongregation really hold hands? I have not really witnessed such a thing

As for the “Our Father,” I think respect for personal space and privacy of others makes the insistence on holding hands inappropriate. If the person wants to, fine, but do not insist on it if he does not want to.

As for the “Greeting of Peace,” that is less problematic, except when the person next to me gave me a hand crushing handshake. I was wearing a class ring at the time, and the pressure cause my fingers to bleed.

:rolleyes: Well… :wink:

I do like most people have mentioned: close eyes and fold hands, unless it is a senior who really wants to hold hands. :slight_smile:

Really? We’re not supposed to hold hands during the Our Father!? Where in the Missal does it say to do this?


i have a low immunity disease, so i prefer not to shake hands. we don’t seem to have the hand holding custom in this area, but i did notice it in vermont. perhaps it is regional?


Around here, some raise their hands like the priest, sometimes holding hands with those around them. I’ve seen it in many parishes though I don’t recall ever doing it really. If I ever did I was young and it was out of ignorance because everyone else did it. I’ve never otherwise felt preasured to do it and if I was I might remind the person that such actions don’t appear in the Missal.

I do not enjoy holding hands during the Our Father either.
Once I folded my hands and was bowing my head when I caught one of the deacons glaring at me. So I took it to mean he frowns upon people who do not want to hold hands.

Never works for me. I’ve had people pry my arms apart. :mad:
I even got a lecture from the Deacon “we’re a hand-holding parish, and you hurt people’s feelings”.
He was shocked to hear that it’s not in the rubrics.
His response? “BUT WE’VE ALWAYS DONE IT.”
Whatevs. :frowning:

that’s why i shop parishes.:slight_smile:

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