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NotSureWhatToDo wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • What should I say when people ask me about holding hands during the Our Father?

I know that since it's not in the rubrics, it is an abuse for a priest to advise it but that's often not the case. In addition, I have heard that it isn't a big deal for lay people to do so by their own initiative.

  • Usually I end up mentioning that I prefer not to hold hands but what if the person I'm standing next to does so?

I also mentioned that the only time it really bothers me is when I feel forced to do so. Overall, my goal is to mention that holding hands isn't the preferred posture but again I don't want to make it seem like a huge deal. There are things far worse and I don't think this topic should distract people from Mass or should become a cause for large arguments.

  • Is my method okay?
  • What should I change?


  { Do I have the proper attitude and what should I say when people ask me about holding hands? }

Mike replied:

Dear NotSureWhatToDo,

First, if you didn't see them, make sure you check out these two postings from our database:

You said:

  • Usually I end up mentioning that I prefer not to hold hands but what if the person I'm standing next to does so?
  • Is my method okay?
  • What should I change?

I believe this is one of those customs that has entered the Church though Protestants who have converted to the faith and while you are correct that holding hands is not part of the Mass's rubrics, as you said, it is not something on a doctrinal level but rather a tradition or custom that the Church has given guidelines on. (Discouraging this practice.) Both, the celebrant of the Mass and the Mass attendees, should follow these guidelines.

If you don't wish to hold hands, you don't have to. In certain family-related settings, the circumstances may be different. What you want to ask yourself is:

  • Will my actions or decisions help my family member to have a better, stronger relationship with Jesus and His Church?

If, in certain situations, it does, hold hands.

I hope this helps,


NotSureWhatToDo replied:


That makes sense.


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