By Ferdinand Patinio

(PNA file photo)

MANILA – The faithful are allowed to either hold each other’s hands or put their hands in the air while singing the “Lord’s Prayer”.

In a circular released on Friday, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Liturgy (CBCP-ECL) said “both gestures are liturgically accepted” to accompany the prayer during Masses.

“We are, therefore, exhorted to exercise sincere respect for each other in the gesture we express during the prayer,” said the circular signed by ECL chairperson Archbishop Victor Bendico.

Based on the CBCP’s earlier statement, 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.

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

“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 was among the items discussed during the Conference’s 126th plenary assembly held in the Diocese of Kalibo over the weekend.

On the other hand, Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jose Advincula supported the ECL’s statement.

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

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

Advincula noted 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 the 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. (PNA)