Holding hands at the Lord's Prayer

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Veronica_Anne

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Every time the Lord’s Prayer is recited at Mass, everybody grabs the hand of the person on each side. Even the priest does this, grabbing the hand of the altar servers, who are now holding each others hands.

And if you happen to be the end person at your pew, you are under social pressure to step into the aisleway to grab the hand of the person standing at the end of the pew on their side… all while still holding the hand of the person that you’re already latched onto, having to do some kind of a Gumby stretch on their arm to pull them off the center of their gravity so you can reach across the aisle.

If you don’t do that, the person on the other side of the aisle makes it their mission to come across, themselves, to reach you. :eek:

Meantime… the Lord’s Prayer has already gotten past the first several words… to “thy kingdom come,” etc.

And I have totally been taken AWAY from the Mass by now. 😦

This goes on all the way through the doxology and the words “for thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever. Amen.”

What else – the priest often just drops the doxology altogether, blending the Lord’s Prayer that we do (only the words in the Scripture where Jesus tells us how to pray it) into the version that Protestants do that adds words to the prayer.

At that last part (“for thine is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever. Amen.”) I’ve had my hands pulled up to my shoulder level. Actually, YANKED. :eek: And sometimes, it hurts! :mad:

Is it just me??? When this happens, it feels like I’m at some kind of Protestant prayer service – NOT at the Holy sacrifice of the Mass!

I can appreciate that folks like to feel connected (remember that Hands Across America thing several years ago?).

I can appreciate that people beLIEVE that THIS is the way to express our unity.

Fact is… the way that we express our unity at Mass is by actually BEING in communion in the eating and drinking the Actual Presence of Jesus (Eucharist).

If this were a Catholic prayer group meeting… fine. BUT… this is THE MASS!

I’m not comfortable holding ANY stranger’s hand. To me, holding someone’s hand is reserved as an expression of romance.

This is ALL so distracting to me at Mass! So, I try to stay concentrated on what I’m doing in this public prayer…

These days, at the point where we are to stand to say the Lord’s Prayer, I stay kneeling and put my hands over my eyes during the entire Lord’s prayer, the doxology, and thru the end of it when I can hear people dropping each other’s hands and re-adjusting their stance to normal.

This way, I can hear everyone else reciting at the same rythm and cadence as I am reciting it… hey… listening to voices blending all together definitely gives me a sense of the community in prayer together the same way and level that we all say the words elsewhere in the Mass.

I’m sure that I’m being distracting to others by doing something DIFFERENT than they are doing.

I brought it up with my pastor, saying that the missalette does not say ANYWHERE that we are to hold hands, like it says where we are to stand, sit, and kneel. He replied that nowhere in the rubrics does it say that we are NOT to hold hands. So I am SUPPOSED to hold hands with people on either side.

Of course, I often get weird looks from the people on either side when I appear to “come to” to stand up and shake their hands at the Sign of the Peace immediately following.

Or is it just me who is struggling with this? Help!

P.S. It’s not just my own parish. Nor in just my local diocese that I’ve experienced this. But I don’t see on the Masses said by the Pope that people are grabbing each other hands like it’s some big “kumbaya” moment!
 
Veronica Anne:
Every time the Lord’s Prayer is recited at Mass, everybody grabs the hand of the person on each side. Even the priest does this, grabbing the hand of the altar servers, who are now holding each others hands.

Help!
I sympathize. I do not care for it either. This may be old information…I hope it is addressed in the new document against Abuse in the Liturgy but It is still good info I believe.

“The Holy See has not ruled directly on this issue. ie- a response to a query, however, the Holy See stated that holding hands ‘is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on a personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics’ (Notitiae II [1975] 226, Documents on the Liturgy 1502 n. R29). For this reason, no one can be required to hold hands during the Our Father.” (“Mass Confusion” pg. 161).

In the words of Karl Keating, President and Founder of Catholic Answers:

“Karl Keating” said:
]
Holding hands during the Our Father.

"The holding of hands during the Our Father is not expressly forbidden, but then actions that should not be performed are not given in a List of Forbidden Actions. That’s not the way rubrics work.

Rubrics are presecriptive. They tell you what you are to do, not what you are not to do. If something is not listed in the rubrics, then you should not do it. One example is hand holding. Since the rubrics nowhere allow hand holding, the conclusion is that one should not engage in it during Mass.

Although there is no explicit prohibition of hand holding during the Our Father (just as there is no express prohibition of singing aloud the lyrics of ‘The Music Man’ during the Consecration), the practice in effect is prohibited because there is no positive provision for it."
 
I agree with most of what you say, I do not like holding hands during this prayer and I do not do so, however I think you may want to consider Kneeling during this prayer, as it causes a problem silimar to what you are dealing with during the prayer. My wife and I fold our hands, close our eyes and bow our heads during this prayer, and when someone tries to hold our hands we politiely turn them down. When it comes time for the sign of peace, however we try to be extra warm with the ones that tried to hold our hands. This has lead to some good conversations with people and of late we have not had many holding hands.

One other thing, we as the people are not to imitate priestly movements or roles and I have found there are times where the people are doing so. Like when the Priest raises his hands to the Lord. Now we have to ask others on this because I do not see this in the GIRM but if we show this to be the Priest’s role (as I believe it is) , then the people should not be raising their hands.

The following is from the GIRM on this subject, I hope someone else can help us find where it is the Priest that is to raise this prayer to the Lord.
  1. In the Lord’s Prayer a petition is made for daily food, which for Christians means preeminently the eucharistic bread, and also for purification from sin, so that what is holy may, in fact, be given to those who are holy. The priest says the invitation to the prayer, and all the faithful say it with him; the priest alone adds the embolism, which the people conclude with a doxology. The embolism, enlarging upon the last petition of the Lord’s Prayer itself, begs deliverance from the power of evil for the entire community of the faithful.
The invitation, the Prayer itself, the embolism, and the doxology by which the people conclude these things are sung or said aloud.

God Bless
 
I might be wrong on this, but our priest indicated that there are liturgical reasons behind the standing/kneeling/sitting pieces of Mass, so if you are asked to stand, you may not wish to kneel, as he seemed to indicate that it is more appropriate as a form of worship at some points in the Mass to be standing.
 
Veronica Anne:
Every time the Lord’s Prayer is recited at Mass, everybody grabs the hand of the person on each side…
When it’s time to recite the Lord’s Prayer, simply bow your head, close your eyes, place your hands under your mouth in a 5-on-5 steeple and ignore everything except for the prayer. Really focus on the prayer as you recite it.

Practive having your eyes closed around others so you won’t be tempted to open your eyes and “give in.”
 
Holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer is an abomination. Catholics are unified in God through the Eucharist. We do not have to rely on physically grabbing one another’s hands.

This hand-holding also moves our focus from the prayer to our hands so it really should be avoided at all times.

It’s also an unapproved addition to the Mass – a huge no-no.
 
An article on ZENIT talked about this issue …
zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=44754

Some hightlights …
while there is no particular difficulty in a couple, family or a small group spontaneously holding hands during the Our Father, a problem arises when the entire assembly is expected or obliged to do so.
For all of these reasons, no one should have any qualms about not participating in this gesture if disinclined to do so.
Personally, I’ve stopped participating in this unless I personally know the person to my right/left, and feel “like family” with them, and know that they feel comfortable doing so.
Holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer is an abomination
I think calling it an “abomination” is going a bit too far. For me an abomination something like mis-using the Eucharist or something. Here, I think people have good intentions in the practice - to love more - which does not make it right, but which makes it far from abominable.
 
Veronica Anne:
Every time the Lord’s Prayer is recited at Mass, everybody grabs the hand of the person on each side.
In **Mass Confusion ** by Akin:

In a response to a query, however, the Holy See stated that holding hands “is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics” For this reason, no one can be required to hold hands during the Our Father.
 
My family always held hands during the “Our Father”. It was a hold over from my parents’ Marriage Encounter experience. Later, it seemed every Church I went to did this. It doesn’t bother me, in fact, I feel a good sense of community from it, but for those that don’t like it, don’t worry, when someone doesn’t want to hold my hand, I respect that. I would never forcibly take someone hand, not even a child’s. So, if you don’t want to, don’t do it 🙂

Love,
Annie
 
What I consider to be an excellent response:

Concerning holding hands in the Eucharistic Liturgy the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome responded as follows:
QUERY: In some places there is a current practice whereby those taking part in the Mass replace the giving of the sign of peace at the deacon’s invitation by holding hands during the singing of the Lord’s Prayer. Is this acceptable?

REPLY: The prolonged holding of hands is of itself a sign of communion rather than of peace. Further, it is a liturgical gesture introduced spontaneously but on personal initiative; it is not in the rubrics. Nor is there any clear explanation of why the sign of peace at the invitation: “Let us offer each other the sign of peace” should be supplanted in order to bring a different gesture with less meaning into another part of the Mass: the sign of peace is filled with meaning, graciousness, and Christian inspiration. Any substitution for it must be repudiated: Notitiae 11 (1975) 226. Notitiae is the journal of the Congregation in which its official interpretations of the rubrics are published.]
While this addresses the holding of hands at the Sign of Peace the reasons given apply also elsewhere in the Mass, including at the Our Father.
  1. It is an inappropriate “sign,” since Communion is the sign of intimacy. Thus, a gesture of intimacy is introduced both before the sign of reconciliation (the Sign of Peace), but more importantly, before Holy Communion, the sacramental sign of communion/intimacy within the People of God.
  2. It is introduced on personal initiative. The Holy See has authority over the liturgy according to Vatican II’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” #22 and canon 838 of the Code of Canon Law.
This gesture has come into widespread use, often leaving bishops and pastors at a loss as to how to reverse the situation. For individuals, I would recommend closed eyes and a prayerful posture as sufficient response, rather than belligerence. Most laity, and probably many priests, are blind to the liturgical significance of interrupting the flow of the Mass in this way. It is not necessary to lose one’s peace over this or be an irritation to others. Some proportion is required. If asked why you don’t participate, simply, plainly and charitably tell the questioner of your discovery. If some chance of changing the practice is possible talk to the pastor or work with other laity through the parish council. You can also write the bishop, as is your right in the case of any liturgical abuse not resolved at the parish level. If your judgment is that no change is possible then I believe you are excused from further fraternal correction.

Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL from www.ewtn.com
 
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AnnieM:
My family always held hands during the “Our Father”. It was a hold over from my parents’ Marriage Encounter experience. Later, it seemed every Church I went to did this. It doesn’t bother me, in fact, I feel a good sense of community from it, but for those that don’t like it, don’t worry, when someone doesn’t want to hold my hand, I respect that. I would never forcibly take someone hand, not even a child’s. So, if you don’t want to, don’t do it 🙂

Love,
Annie
The focus of the Mass is the Paschal Mystery – most specifically the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and not “community.”

Holding hands diverts our attention away from Jesus Christ and onto our neighbors.
 
I’ve read those Donovan quotes before, as this is an issue that our family has dealt with ever since returning to America after five years in Asia back in 1997. The qoute from Fr. Donovan that Crusader left was the primary reason my wife and I decided that our family would not hold hands during the Our Father. Interestingly, we at least have never had a problem with “keeping our hands to ourselves”. No one ever forces us to hold hands, though most around us do, and no one has even commented on it.
 
In America, we shake hands with one another at the sign of peace. In Japan parishioners bow to one another. In other countries there may be other conventions.

At the sign of peace we’re saying “I’m at peace with you” or “I feel reconciled to you.” We convey that through words (“The peace of Christ be with you”) and through an action that is friendly but not intimate or intrusive (since most of those around us likely will be strangers).

This act of demonstrating reconciliation is undermined by holding hands at the Our Father. That prayer comes immediately before the sign of peace. In those parishes where people hold hands during that prayer, they are engaging in an action that is much more intimate than a handshake.

If we hold hands during the Our Father, it undercuts the significance of the following act, since holding hands trumps shaking hands. The sign of peace withers. A prescribed part of the liturgy (the sign of peace) loses much of its significance (much of its “sign value”) when parishioners hold hands at the Our Father.

(It’s good to say “I love you” to your spouse, but if you say that to everyone you meet on the street, your spouse will feel your words have been devalued.)

Another point: In our culture, hand-holding is approved of when adults hold the hands of young children, when boyfriend and girlfriend hold hands, and when married couples hold hands (though this commonly stops a few weeks after the honeymoon 😉 ).

We do not hold hands with strangers to whom we are introduced. We shake hands instead. Holding hands in such a situation would be perceived as too intimate. And in some cases, holding hands even suggests something unsavory, as when we see two men holding hands as they walk down the sidewalk.

Can anyone think of any situation, other than at the Our Father during Mass, in which people commonly hold hands with strangers? I can’t, and I think there is a reason: Hand holding is a sign of a certain intimacy. It’s not something we take lightly.

To hold hands with strangers at Mass strikes me as artificial, and it has become a detriment to a proper appreciation of the liturgy. Yes, it is easy enough to avoid, but I think it remains a problem. It is one kind of problem for those who don’t wish to hold hands, and it is another kind of problem (the problem of not understanding the role of signs in the Mass) for those who like the practice.
 
I really think it should be restricted to families and not the whole congregation. I don’t know how it “undermines” the sign of peace, because during the handshake you are looking the person square in the eye. You don’t look a person square in the eye during the Our Father. I do have a problem when people run across the aisles to hold someone’s hand, this just seems childish to me, and it forces strangers that may be in your pew to shift over as well.
 
Can anyone think of any situation, other than at the Our Father during Mass, in which people commonly hold hands with strangers? I can’t, and I think there is a reason:
The real reason, Karl , is that you’ve never been to an AA meeting. The tradition there has been to hold hands during the Our Father at the end of the meeting. I believe the AA tradition preceded the tradition of some churches to hold hands during this prayer.
 
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Fullsizesedan:
The real reason, Karl , is that you’ve never been to an AA meeting. The tradition there has been to hold hands during the Our Father at the end of the meeting. I believe the AA tradition preceded the tradition of some churches to hold hands during this prayer.
I don’t think the recent custom at Mass came from AA meetings. More likely it came through the charismatic movement.
 
I don’t think the recent custom at Mass came from AA meetings. More likely it came through the charismatic movement.
You may well be right on this, I don’t know anything about charismatics. My guess was based on the idea that there are a lot more alcoholics out there than charismatics.
 
My family always holds hands when we pray other than when we are praying the rosary as our hands our otherwise occupied 😉 I grew up holding hands with my family during the “Our Father” at Mass. Eventually, it seemed the whole congregation started holding hands. As a teen/young adult it solidified the message that my brothers in sisters in Christ that were sitting with me at Mass were, in fact, my Church family. I resent the implication that I don’t understand the Mass because I have a different opinion about hand-holding during the “Our Father.” It does not minimize the peace greeting for me. The peace greeting is more intimate because of the greeting and the eye contact. If I went to a Church where there was no hand holding during the “Our Father”, my family would just hold each other’s hands, and that would be that.

Love,
Annie
 
another protestant menstration let into the CHURCH CHRIST founded…but why??? hmm Vatican II and the spirit of ecumencism…have that ice cream social with the fundamental who thinks the Pope is the anti-christ. Its OK per Catholic Apologists…

Listen to what the Spirit has to say…Who are you and why have you come?
 
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