Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Should We Hold Hands during the Lord's Prayer?

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Should We Hold Hands during the Lord's Prayer?

Article excerpt

One of my first memories of Sunday Mass was my mother taking my hand when we joined in the Lord's Prayer. As time went on and with the addition of three younger brothers, the family "Our Father" chain grew, expanding beyond our immediate household to the families that sat closest to us in church. Holding hands during the Lord's Prayer was taken for granted in my years of high school youth ministry, and by the time I graduated from college, pretty much everyone held hands in my home parish.

My experience likely tracks that of many Catholics through the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, as the renewal of the liturgy after the Second Vatican Council took root in Catholic parishes. For some, holding hands during the Lord's Prayer perhaps reflected the ethos of the "full, conscious, and active" participation in the liturgy promoted by the council's bishops while also promoting the recovered communal dimension of the Mass. The spread of the practice was also likely influenced by the charismatic and retreat movements, with their hunger for richer emotional expression at Mass.

No priest or other authority that I can recall, however, encouraged this practice; indeed, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal is completely silent about it, indicating only that "all the faithful say the prayer with" the priest. An answer on the U.S. bishops' website about the posture of the community during the prayer simply states, "No position is prescribed in the Roman Missal for an assembly gesture during the Lord's Prayer. …

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