Questions Kids Ask: Why do people make the sign of the cross when passing by a church?

Mary the Queen Parish Church Greenhills San JuanA church is sandwiched between the schools of my 2 kids.  Every single day that we pass through it we make the sign of the cross.  Every time we notice a church, we do the sign of the cross.

While going through the motion, my daughter asked, " Why do people make the sign of the cross when passing by a church?"  I was weighing whether to go the theological way and launch an explanation of the significance of the sign of the Cross in relation to the Blessed Sacrament present in the church or do it the simpler route.  I took the simpler route.

So I explained it to her in the simplest manner I could.

Imagine you see your friend on the road.  Would you just pass her by and not manage to say a quick nod or hello?  Jesus is the Church.  When you see a church you see Jesus.  Would you just pass by without saying a quick hello?  You say hello by doing the sign of the cross.

Of course as she grows older,  I would have to explain to her the deeper and wonderful meaning of the sign of the cross.  According to Bert Ghezzi, author of the book "Sign of the Cross: Recovering the Power of the Ancient Prayer," it means six things: a confession of faith; a renewal of baptism; a mark of discipleship; an acceptance of suffering; a defense against the devil; and a victory over self-indulgence.

For now,  the simple explanation will do.  Like all friendships,  friendship with God,  begins with those small gestures of hello.

This is a re-post.  First written and published by thegomom Jan 20, 2014.

With you in this Happy Chaos called Parenting,

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  1. when you pass by a cemetery why make the sign

    • Hi Crusch! I suppose we make a sign of the cross when we passby a cemetery for 2 reasons, one is to pray for the dead that they are resting in peace with God. Second, is to ward off evil:-)

  2. I just discovered your blog today when I was looking for worksheets for my kid. I love your article here. When my kid asked me why we make the sign of the cross, I told him the Church reminds us to connect with God/Jesus so we pray, and we start by making a sign of the cross. But yours is a good explanation!! Maybe when another little one comes along and asks me the same question, I would give him/her this answer.

    • Thanks Jay! I try my best to answer the kids in the simplest way I could whenever they ask me questions. Someday though I would have to give them a more concrete answer. For now, that would do:-)

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