Where should I look during the Gloria?

I’m a little confused as to where I should be looking when praying the Gloria at Mass. The priest is looking out into the congregation, should I be looking back at him? It seems a little rude to ignore his gaze, but I often look towards the tabernacle since at least part of the prayer is directed specifically to Jesus. What do you do or recommend?

Towards the tabernacle sounds good to me.


I guess what’s awkward is the priest. I’m not sure if a full return to the Latin Mass is for me, but I can definitely see some benefits with having the priest look towards the tabernacle at least during some points during the Mass such as the Gloria.

The Missal of the TLM does not say that the priest should look at the tabernacle (or anywhere else) during the Gloria. You can read the rubrics for yourself here, though; there are still a lot of misconceptions about the TLM.

You know that he was speaking about which way the priest faces. :rolleyes:

I agree, it can be awkward, especially when priests scan the crowds, to focus on prayer. Pope Benedict said that priests should have a crucifix to look at on their altar, even if not facing ad orientum. This might remedy the situation… if you could get your priest to do this :smiley: But a lot of them take any kind of correction as an insult. Such as my (OF) parish priest tried to write off a plain glass chalice as “precious…”

Anyway here’s Pope Benny and his crucifix:
http://verbumpatris.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/pxii12.jpg I wonder if he has a little one or if he looks up at that?

Usually the priests at my parish have their heads bowed with their hands in a prayerful position. I never really thought about where I should look. Usually, I look at the cantor or the altar, sometimes the tabernacle.

He can answer, but no, I didn’t read it that way. I thought he meant, literally looking at the tabernacle, which is in fact what he said. Anyway, a church need not be built with the tabernacle in any specific place (e.g., it’s located in a separate chapel in St. Peter’s, St. John Lateran, etc.), and if Mass is given in a side chapel, crypt chapel, etc., then there probably won’t be a tabernacle around at all.

If in doubt, look up, it’s as good a place as anywhere else :shrug:

My favourite movie of all time has to be ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, and I just love the scene with Tevye in his barn, talking to God like an old chum and looking up into the ceiling as if God is perched just under the rafters somewhere :smiley:

I like this answer…
In short look where you are best able to consentrate on the prayer itself. Heck I even close my eyes sometimes during prayer. No need to feel self conscience about where others might be looking.


I worship in military chapels so we do not have a visible tabernacle. This one allows a hideable crucifix, so I look up at that. My last base did not allow the crucifix & had a plain cross with a hideous tapestry behind it. In that chapel I focused my eyes to the tiny window at the ceiling & looked at the blue sky. I found that more uplifting. Another option in another church, I simply closed my eyes & focused on the words inwardly as I said the Gloria verbally.
I have a hard time during the homily. We have been sitting directly beneath the priest since our son was on crutches & cast. I feel rude staring at him but rude looking somewhere else when he is looking at me lol.

In the ceiling above our sanctuary is a stained glass of the Holy Spirit that has a light. I often look at it; if I’m not looking at the crucifix; tabernacle or the altar.

I have heard and read a number of times, that the architecture of a church is supposed to draw the eye upward. So, as many have commented, looking up would certainly seem appropriate. When I am in the congregation, I look up at a beautiful crucifix in the front of the church. When I am at the organ, I can glance up at a stained glass window, the framework of which forms a cross. At least, that is how I see it. Glory to God in the highest…

I tend to look toward the Altar or the Crucifix that is hanging above the Altar. Since the Tabernacle is off to the side in my parish it is a bit of an awkward angle to look, but at certain parts of the Gloria and Mass in general I look toward the Tabernacle in adoration.

I usually close my eyes. It’s a prayer.

this is my parish. I look up to the All seeing eye of God just below the Cross, the Cross and the Tabernacule with the crusifix.

It depends.

If we are singing the Gloria, I close my eyes. Our music leader is quite “theatrical” in her movements and I close my eyes so as not to be distracted by them.

If we are praying without singing, I tend to focus on the stained glass in the wall over and behind the altar.

My parish has a lovely mural over the altar. It shows St. Therese of Lisieux, and is called “The Little Flower in Glory.” At the top, there is a traditional representation of the Trinity, which is where I look during the Gloria.

The Church is going to take care of the question for us, at least for a while, next year when the new Mass translation begins to be used. We’ll all be looking at a book! :slight_smile:


Sorry, I wasn’t very clear. My concern was with a visual point of focus, whether that be the tabernacle, a crucifix, etc. I prefer a visual focus during prayer, but looking past the priest who is looking at me is awkward and distracting.

In the TLM the priest is required to have his eyes downcast and never make eye contact with the people. I see the wisdom of this.

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