Update please:1-Holding hands during OF, 2-extending hands/Orans

Hi my friends on the forums.

Can anyone give an update about whether or not the laity is supposed to hold hands during the Our Father, and/or what about the laity extending hands in the air at that time or other times when the congregation is praying aloud during the Mass?

Please if you can, show rulings if possible, as there are so many opinions on this. I’ve sponsored a recent convert through RCIA and we both try our best to follow the rules/rubrics, etc. I’m a fairly new adult convert myself (since 2004) so I want to do the correct thing. Thank you!

Here are some differing opinions I’ve seen so far:

-The laity is not to hold hands during the Our Father. Ever.

-The laity is not to extend hands in the air while praying because that is for the Priest only. Even the Deacon does not extend his hands.

Opposite opinions I’ve seen:

-The Laity is free to either hold hands or not during the Our Father because there is no specific ruling on this.

-The Laity is free to extend their hands in the air during the Our Father to show unity.

-The Our Father is not the time for the laity to hold hands with others, OR extend their hands. The proper position is for the individual to have his/her hands held in prayer.

Other opinions-That vary widely:

-It is wrong for the laity to hold hands during the Our Father. That’s a custom that started in basement meetings of AA meetings in the 60’s. No one ever did this before.

-It depends, it’s colloquial, OK if everyone else is doing it, don’'t worry.

-The rules are unclear. Just follow the local Bishop’s ruling.

-Holding hands and extending hands is not Catholic, but Pentecostal. Don’t do it.

-Extending hands in the air is sacred, correct, and the traditional way of showing supplication and should be encouraged. Early Church approved of it.

-There’s no ruling on either of these either way.

-We should do everything as they do it Rome, including Receiving only on the tongue.

Please help on these to help alleviate the confusion!

Talk with, or contact, your Bishop. He is the authority in this area.

There is no prescribed posture for the laity in the GIRM.

The best advice is what you got above- contact the Department of Liturgy for your diocese. They will tell you want is the ‘norm’ for you diocese.

A priest cannot “add” anything to the Mass, therefore, it would be wrong for him to instruct hand-holding, but, in the grand scheme of things, I really would not worry about this. do what makes you feel the most comfortable.

And, FWIW, GIRM stand for ***“General Instructions of the Roman Missal”,***the Chruch is not in the habit of “micro-managing” the faithful!

This again. And again. And again. Oh well, I guess it’s better than another COTH vs. CITH thread. :rolleyes: I’m at lunch so I’ll play:

Holding hands during the Our Father:

  • The GIRM does not instruct the Priest to have the congregation hold hands, therefore no parish following the GIRM should be making this a part of the Mass by having Father ask folks to do so.
  • The GIRM does not regulate all of our posture during Mass (it especially does not tell us how to hold our hands), so as a private devotion holding hands is the same as holding my rosary or the missal or my daughter and her formula bottle, i.e. it is not forbidden by the rubrics and is no one’s business but my own.
  • I should not be doing anything at the Mass that will be a cause for anyone to be distracted from the Mass (not in the GIRM but just plain old common sense). Holding hands with my family = ok ; reaching over and forcing you to hold my hand = not ok. Holding my rosary = ok ; holding my rosary and reciting the Hail Mary at the top of my lungs = not ok. Having my daughter at Mass = ok ; allowing her to run up and down the aisle = not ok.

Extending Hands/Orans:

  • Not really sure what you mean by extending hands, but the GIRM does prohibit the laity from assuming the positions of the celebrant during the Mass (essentially you can’t mimic the Priest if I recall) so I think orans is specifically more problematic.
  • If by extending hands you mean someone who raises their arms when they pray as a devotion to God but does not mimic the orans posture of the Priest, see my thoughts above and substitute “extended hands” for “holding hands”.


Your original post covers the spectrum of opinions on this subject. And they are merely opinions, there is no case here of “Roma locutus est” I am not quite sure of why we need to rehash this every single week here in the same forum, but have at it.


IMHO I equate the people who pray with the palms of their hands raised up, with those who exaggurate their actions with other members of the congregation after the Our Father…and sing louder than anyone else! LOOK AT ME! :rolleyes:

I don’t do it and don’t see the point. We are already united by going to Mass and as Catholics. Holding hands only during the OF seems to display that we are united while holding hands only and not before or after.

IMHO your judging. :slight_smile:

Will you sing quietly in heaven? When I sing I do tend to sing loudly. But not because I want to attract the glory. I am simply not timid nor afraid.

I have been asked by my family to sing solo at Mass - so lo that only God can hear me :D.

Seriously, I think the point Bill Martin is getting to is intent. If the intent is to worship God and not to knowingly distract anyone you are fine. If the intent is to direct attention to yourself there is an issue.

I pray with palms of my hands raised and am really not noted for exaggerative behavior and barely sing because I have a weak voice . And I never even think of other people looking at me–I hate that.

Just who do you think you are, judging people like that anyway?

I am not judging, merely observing. One can go to any Mass, in any Church and see people who are obviously calling attention to themselves with these actions. This is nothing new, in fact, Christ himself remarked on this very thing appropos the Pharasees.
For those who are sincere in these actions, I apologise.

I think hand-holding is done during the Our Father, not to send the message that only through it we are united, but that we are doing it because we are united, and a great time to display that unity is while we are all saying together the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray to our common Father. (I think it would be quite silly to be holding hands with one another for the whole Mass… as if our unity depended on it!)

This topic has been addressed numerous times, so I am closing the thread. The linked video gives a good answer. Thanks to all who participated.

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