I have noticed that during the Sanctus prayer at mass, there will be a few Catholics (typically those that I would identify as being more “trad”) make the sign of the cross when “Benedictus” is sung. Is this supposed to be done (like when the priest says “have mercy on us” after the confiteor), or why do people do it?

  • I asked this question a few years ago with this in mind and was surprised it wasn't mentioned. And having gone to TLM for the last few years pretty consistently, I haven't seen anyone making the sign of the cross there (other than the priest a lot), except at the end. This'll go down as yet another Catholic practice I'm skeptical of until it is explicitly explained by a trustworthy priest.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented May 1 at 16:21
  • @PeterTurner I'm rarely skeptical of any of these practices (I don't think there's ever harm in making the sign of the cross). But I am always curious about their origin and why there are so many different ones that even traditionalist Catholics differ on
    – Luke Hill
    Commented May 1 at 16:50
  • that's good! This is a me problem. I didn't make the sign of the Cross coming into church for the first 18 years of my life - I'm not an easy adopter. Have you noticed people bowing to the priest when he processes into Mass?
    – Peter Turner
    Commented May 2 at 15:12
  • @PeterTurner I bow and make the sign of the cross when the priest enters. It feels appropriate.
    – Luke Hill
    Commented May 3 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


In the traditional rite, there is a sign of the Cross when the Benedictus is started.

Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth... + Benedictus qui venit

Traditional Latin Mass Hand Missal, pg. 20

It is not in the rubrics of the Novus Ordo rite, so it does not have to be done there. Why people do it would be more speculative. It is likely some mix of habit from repetition and personal piety.

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