Why Do We Hold Hands during the Our Father?

By Philippart, David | U.S. Catholic, January 2004 | Go to article overview

Why Do We Hold Hands during the Our Father?


Philippart, David, U.S. Catholic


Asking how the practice, of holding hands at the Lord s Prayer began is like asking who invented kissing. We may never know for sure, but it's easy to guess. Some families and households hold hands to say grace before meals. Maybe this practice migrated to church, as the Our Father is the final "grace" that we say before sharing in the Lord's Supper.

Members of prayer groups often instinctively join hands when praying together this most basic of all of our prayers. In many parishes, the gesture began--and continues to be--spontaneous. People simply do it, without prompting. In other parishes, the priest asks people to join hands.

What does it mean to hold hands and pray the prayer that Jesus taught us? The prayer itself seems to suggest this gesture: We do not pray "my Father," but "our Father," and that makes us all sisters and brothers, united in our common Baptism, adopted children of God.

In technologically advanced and wealthy cultures, the bonds of community are often strained. Whereas in some places--or even in our own country 50 years ago or so--you might be born, live, and die all in the same village surrounded by the same people, today we move about, live far from extended family members and close friends, and communicate electronically rather than in the flesh. …

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