"Is the peace hand shake at Mass a mandated ritual or just a pious devotion?"

By Paul Dion, STL
January 20, 2008

Last week we asked you if it was appropriate to hold hands during the recitation or the singing of the "Our Father", the "Lord's Prayer" during the Holy Mass. This question was brought to us by one of you and we appreciate it very much. We have to admit that it made us think of a related question that we decided to challenge you with this week.

Close upon the heels of the "Lord's Prayer" is the invitation to share with one another some sign of peace. Some of you more "experienced" Catholics will remember the kiss of peace that took place during a "Solemn High Mass" which had three priests in the sanctuary. The Celebrant, the Deacon and the Sub-Deacon. Remember that?

If you remember that then you remember that after the "Pater Noster" there was a moment when the three of them exchanged gentle hugs. Through the years, this "kiss of peace" migrated to the congregation of the faithful outside the sanctuary. It is expressed as it is these days and as we experience it at every single celebration of the Holy Mass.

Here in the United States there are many ways of expressing this wish for the Lord's Peace to one another. The most common seems to be the hand shake.

The Burning Question is: How do you feel about this ritual? Does this part of the Mass touch you in a special way? Is this a mandated ritual during the Mass or is it, like the hand-holding during the "Our Father" nothing but a pious devotion?

Post your comments below.

Or CLICK HERE to view the answer to this Burning Question.