CBCP liturgy body clarifies hand posture during ‘Lord’s Prayer’

July 17, 2023 - 6:13 PM
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Catholic bishops celebrate Mass during their retreat in Kalibo, Aklan on July 5, 2023. (CBCP News)

Should people hold hands or put their hands in the air during the “Lord’s Prayer”?

The liturgical commission of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has clarified that “both gestures are liturgically accepted” to accompany the prayer during Mass.

RELATED: Bishop forbids faithful from raising hands during the ‘Lord’s Prayer’

“We are, therefore, exhorted to exercise sincere respect for each other in the gesture we express during the prayer,” Archbishop Victor Bendico, chairman of the CBC Episcopal Commission on Liturgy, said in a circular released Friday.

He reiterated the CBCP’s previous statement that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) “neither forbids nor prescribes” raising hands or holding hands while praying the Lord’s Prayer during Mass.

And since the GIRM is “silent” on the matter, either forbidding or prescribing it runs counter to the intent of the Instruction, he said.

“The faithful can recite or sing it with a gesture that can best help them to experience and express themselves as God’s children,” said Bendico, who is also the archbishop of Capiz.

“For many of the faithful, it is in raising their hands in an orans posture that they can express the filial love and reverence contained in the prayer.”

“Nothing in the Scriptures nor in the Christian tradition of worship forbids them from doing so,” he added.

The issue of the proper gesture during the Lord’s Prayer at Mass was among the agenda items discussed during the CBCP’s plenary assembly, which took place in the Diocese of Kalibo over the weekend.

In a separate statement, Cardinal Jose Advincula of Manila concurred with the statement of the ECL.

“Let us respect the decision of the faithful on the gestures they take, whether raised or joined hands or holding each other’s hands,” Advincula said.

“This should be done in harmony with the nature of the prayer and in deference to others who are present in the celebration,” he said.

The cardinal also emphasized that the Lord’s Prayer “is not only a prayer formula but a program of the Christian life founded on the Good News that Jesus proclaimed, lived, and died for.”

“This, therefore, demands from us conversion of life that makes the will of the Father the foundation of our life. The fruit of this is our love of our brothers and sisters,” he said.

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