Full Question

What is the significance of making the sign of the cross before and after private prayer?


The sign of the cross is closely tied to baptism. Jesus told the apostles, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that when Catholics are baptized “the sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the Redemption Christ won for us by his cross” (CCC 1235).

Thereafter, each time we make the sign of the cross we remember that we belong to Christ.

The Christian begins his day, his prayers, and his activities with the sign of the cross: “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” The baptized person dedicates the day to the glory of God and calls on the Savior’s grace which lets him act in the Spirit as a child of the Father. The sign of the cross strengthens us in temptations and difficulties. (CCC 2157)



Join the discussion 33 Comments

  • Jo says:

    In the name of the father the son the holly spirit what is the name of the holly spirit

    • Vicki Sawarin says:

      We make the sign of the Cross before & after we pray to show our obedience to God & because He commanded it through Jesus,His Son. The name of the Blessed Holy Spirit is Mathias. He came down from heaven to replace Judas, until after the crucifixion & then came down again upon the Apostles, as tongues of fire.

  • Ed Cabayao says:

    Also the sign of the cross reminds us of the sacrifice of jesus who died in the cross to save us.

  • Jorge says:

    This is not Biblical! God never in His World (The Holy Bible) He don’t commands us to do this signal. It is a Roman Catholic invention and means nothing in the spiritual world. Because it is not pleasing to God. Speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent.

    • Vicki Sawarin says:

      Jorge, you are so absolutely WRONG ! The sign of the Cross is a prayer in it self & is most pleasing to God. It certainly is a Catholic thing & should be for everyone. The Catholic Church was established by Jesus Christ & is the one & only TRUE Church. Not everything is in the Bible. Where do some of you people get your weird ideas? Gabby– a sign of the beast? Learn the truth before it is too late.

      • Annastacia kamene ngei says:

        If you know nothing about Catholics and their faith keep quite and focus on your faith, for you and how you worship your God is non of our business same to you let us worship our lord in our way for aim is one to preach the word of who is and will be and soon he is coming to take all who believes in His.Stop judging and do what is best so that he will found you ready

    • Dan says:

      God gave us brains for a reason. The first Christians didn’t even have the bible. Where is the bible does it say that everything must be found in the bible. If the Bible was the ultimate authority why can’t you rebels even agree with each other. Only the Catholic Church carries the sacred tradition of Scripture and has the actual interpretation. That’s why when protestants first came around division skyrocketed. Now you all have over 38000 groups and yet each group thinks it understands the bible. What a joke. What goofy group do you belong to Jorge? I’m positive, through common sense, that it’s a group that came around at least 1500 years into Christian history and yet you still are somehow fooled that your group is the right one… Do honest research for once. The thing that isn’t pleasing to God is your self righteous accusations and speaking out of utter ignorance.

    • Brian says:

      I am a Catholic. I don’ t listen to negitive opinions. The name of the Father, the son and the Hol Spirit AMEN.

    • innocent ndyahebwa says:

      Hahahaaa only us Catholics know what we feel when we make the sin of the cross.

    • Lexy says:

      The sign of the cross has biblical basis: The Bible clearly states: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18)

      The Bible teaches us to be proud of it; “But God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14)

      When me make the sign of the cross we proclaim the message of salvation.

  • Gabby Toledo says:

    The sign of the cross is the sign of the beast in Apocalypse 13;16~18, Apoc 14:9~11

    • Lea Leger says:

      Only God knows what is our mind. When we think God when we sign of the Cross, God is happy because we are always thinking of him. Cross is a sign of Jesus but you non Catholics, when u see Catholics do the sign of the Cross, you think God is beast,

    • Javi says:

      Gabby, you must not be comprehending what you are reading. i just read what the verse you quoted and you are incorrect, just as i figured.

    • Pete Parks says:

      People that do not understand will always find a fault to try to justify their way of false understanding.

  • It is the brief profession of your faith, acknowledging the Father, His only begotton Son, and the Holy Spirit.
    With the Holy Water at the entrance of the Church, you are also renewing your Baptism.

  • Hazel Grace says:

    I would definitely do this sign if its Biblical, but it is a Man made tradition, that is acquired from the Pagans (who never believe and mocks the real God from all their traditions and gods) So I hope everyone should do a deeper research about the origin of the “cross”. Please, we all have chance, God is always there waiting for us to repent.

    • Dodong says:

      Do pagan make sign of the cross?my gusshhh…

    • Pete Parks says:

      You are obviously not a Catholic. Why are you here? If you think that your words will turn our heads your are very wrong.

    • What if i do the sign of the cross because i always praise , worship ,and give honor to the Holy Trinity One God. Are you affected with it. Is that bad ,what you think of.

    • noel says:

      hazel grace, there’s nothing to repent when i make a sign of the cross which i dedicate to One God, The Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. tradition of the Catholic Church completes our belief in God and of Jesus Christ who redeemed us through the cross. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen & Amen…

  • peta waqa says:

    If you do not believe, that is fine, but please do not try and shake the faith of those who do with your derogatory comments ….we Catholics do not owe you an explanation, you owe it to yourself to find out the truth ….with all due respect, we do hope you accept the TRUTH when met with it ….always in our prayers in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit <3

  • Robert Rotich says:

    sign of cross signifies our belongsness to God whether someone tries make other justifications we are
    not interested

  • Ally says:

    I am Catholic and I am unfazed by those who don’t believe. Even though I think I should respect their opinions, I find their explanations silly or funny at least where this matter is concerned. No offense intended. I don’t grasp or follow the ‘not in the bible’ or ‘it’s not biblical’ concept. If you present this to me as a reason or excuse not to believe, then I find your words meaningless. Christians prayed, served, and worshiped God way before the bible as we know it came into being. And you can definitely take that to the bank!

  • In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen

  • DIDAS KAMYA says:

    The sign of the cross is a dedication and a prayer at the same time to indicate that every action that is to follow after the sign of the cross is intended to GIVE GLORY TO GOD with the faith received at Baptism. IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON ,AND OF THE HOLLY SPIRIT. ALMIGHTY guidance is guaranteed. Ilove being catholic

  • Catholic Soldier says:

    Why do we make sign of the cross?
    We make sign of the cross – first, to put us in mind of the Blessed Trinity; and secondly, to remind us that God the Son died for us on the cross.
    Sign of the cross. We make sign – (1) to show that we are Christians, or followers of Christ; (2) to ask God’s help in all that we do; (3) to arm ourselves against temptation. The cross is the sign of our Redemption.

  • Dan says:

    Why are protestants here? Accusers. Your churches are fake. None of them existed before 1517 except for the churches of the early schisms. The Catholic Church is the only true Church of Jesus Christ. That’s why it’s called Catholic, meaning universal and total. One, holy, catholic and apostolic. Which is why the apostles replaced Judas. Jesus didn’t come down and replace him. They did. This is the first example of apostolic succession. Jesus said He is the Way, not ways, The truth, not truths. He said to Peter, My Church, not churches. Church was only used in plural to address the one church in different areas or otherwise to address the church in different situations, such as the beginning of Revelation with the seven letters. The Bible was not even first formed until St Jerome, which wasn’t even completely right even then. Then it took centuries longer with many councils reaffirming the 73 volumes of sacred scripture again and again because they took it far more serious than Luther and the reformers. Nowhere in the bible does it say that everything must be found in the bible. The bible is a tangible thing that contains the inspired Word of God. What all of you protestants say is just like the Pharisees. Jesus said the Law wasn’t dead stone but living. I think the same message applies to all of you. The Word of God is Jesus Christ, not dead pages. You worship a book you don’t even understand and feel the need to run around accusing like Satan in order to feel righteous. You clearly can’t understand the Scriptures which is why you all have over 38000 denominations. Christianity broken and divided, completely against the wishes of Christ whose final prayer before His Passion was a prayer of unity. Rebellion begets rebellion. If you honestly believed that the bible was the ultimate authority on earth then why can’t you protestants even agree with each other? You all make it mean whatever you want. There was always a tradition in understanding scripture. Always. Even back to when the first scriptures were written in the old covenant. You all left that tradition and you all make a mess of the bible as a result. If anyone can read the bible and understand it that why so many divisions? The rotten fruit of division from the reformation is all the proof needed. I also notice how you protestants never name the group you yourselves belong to. Probably because you subconsciously know that we know the dates when your groups first came around which was long long after Jesus Christ. I’ll listen more patiently with protestants when all of you unite and can agree first with each other. God always had a hierarchy of earthly authority on earth in His covenants. For this very reason.

    • Chello Galima says:

      Indeed! God bless Dan.
      When we pray and meditate, we are actually receiving God’s wisdom. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  • odo chukwuemeka emmanuel says:

    In the name of father, and of the son,and of the holy ghost,Amen. My first christains faith

    • Vicki Sawarin says:

      Dan, you are so right. All the comments I have read, no one ever mentions Judas, & everyone believes him to be a traitor. He was far from that. He was Jesus’ best friend & Jesus asked him to do what was required for the fulfillment of the crucifixion, for payment for the sins of the world.

  • Cindy says:

    Some of the replies to this post have been made out of utter ignorance. We Catholics know what we believe and why we make the sign of the cross.

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