Surrounded by 8 neighbours - but which do I greet first?
Our hearts sink as we reach the point where the priest tells us to offer each other the sign of peace. The first step is to decide on the order in which we are going to harass our neighbours - during the sermon is usually a good time to make a little diagram like the one above, and prepare a batting order. Probably you should start with the lady on your left, but don't hug her too hard or she'll call you names. Then the seedy-looking chap on your right.
The nature of the physical contact allowed will depend on the church, but KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON. If you're wearing any, of course.
Be warned that the man behind you will probably thump you if you leave him too late. I'd avoid the chap with the big teeth altogether, personally.
A typical kiss of peace.
Appropriate forms of greeting:
Peace be with you! Pax tecum! Peace!
Pax, Man! - an acceptable greeting in some churches.
Inappropriate forms of greeting:
Peace off! If you wish pacific communication with me, kindly arrange it through my solicitor. After you've cut down that tree which is blocking my light. Hello, cheeky!In most churches use a simple "Peace be with you, peace be with you, peace be with you, I've done you already, haven't I?" and, for those who are too far away to reach, a "Mwah!" or a sheepish grin will do.
A pious Catholic demonstrates the Vatican-II recommended "grin of peace".