A Response to: “Should we hold hands or not at the Our Father?”

Holding hands at church

Oh, this is a perennial issue, isn’t it? And, as NCR points out, there are many reasons pro and con about whether a congregation ought hold hands. They are legion.


I recall this practice appearing at Jesuit College when I was a novice. Perhaps it was 1968 or 1969. Again, to many it seemed like the best thing since sliced bread. To others, anathema.

Here is my take on it, for those who have been waiting with bated breath for it (!).

Holding hands at the Lord’s Prayer began, I believe, from an impulse toward belonging, connection, and presence to others. It was an expression of the discovery of the horizontal dimension of liturgical praying that emerged after Vatican II.

More than that, it’s a misplaced gesture. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) directs our attention to the place in the liturgy that begs for the union of horizontal and vertical connection – the Eucharistic Prayer, number 78:

  1. Now the center and summit of the entire celebration begins: the Eucharistic Prayer, a prayer of thanksgiving and sanctification. The priest invites the people to lift up their hearts to the Lord in prayer and thanksgiving. …he unites them with himself in the prayer which, in the name of the entire community, he addresses to God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.Furthermore, the meaning of the prayer is that the entire congregation of the faithful should join itself with Christ in confessing the great things God has done and in offering the sacrifice.

Unfortunately, this is the major part of the Mass in which most of the faithful feel most disconnected. It’s the priest’s Mass. And it often feels to me, when I serve as musician, that this is the point at which father attempts to make up time for a longer than intended homily. ZIP! The speed at which many presiders take effectively rules out the prayer of thanksgiving, the calling down of the Holy Spirit, and petitions in favor of the institution narrative.

What folks have shared with me in liturgy workshops is that this is the most boring part of the Mass and that they feel, for the most part, left out.

What would it take to bring the praying of the Eucharistic Prayer back into centrality as the center and summit of the entire celebration? What could it take to allow it to become the prayer of the faithful – presider and congregation – united to one another and giving thanks to the Father with Christ in the Holy Spirit? What sort of conversion might we need?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


composer ~ author ~ educator

Perfect Chaos

The Blog of Author Steven Colborne

Gretchen McCulloch

Internet Linguist


Joy is the product of enduring faith.


AM Roselli's art & writing site

lillian the home poet

rejuvenatement - not retirement

The Feels

Feel Good News 24/7

Elihu's Corner

press on to know the lord

Under Reconstruction

Hope isn't an emotion, but a daily choice.

Timothy R. Baldwin

teacher and writer


Sharing My Love of Symbols

The Lace In My Head Mirrors the Cosmic Mind

The cosmos is also within us. We are made of star dust. We are a way that the cosmos can know itself. Carl Sagan

Disarmed by Love

A force like no other. To be known and loved.

Live the Essentials

Mishaps and adventures of Deacon Jonas Verdeflor, an Oblates of the Virgin Mary

Post it Notes from my Idiot Boss

delivered directly to my computer monitor on an all too regular basis...

Envisioning The American Dream

A visual remix of the American Dream as pictured in Mid Century Media

Before the Downbeat

Thoughts on music, creativity, imagination, and exploring the space between the notes.

%d bloggers like this: