imposition of hands

(Latin: imponere, to place or lay)

Placing upon, or laying on, of hands. A perfectly natural gesture signifying the communication of some favor, blessing, power, or duty; mentioned in the Old Testament in connection with patriarchs blessing their children, the consecration of priests, and sacrifice. Christ used it in working miracles; the Apostles, in conferring the sacraments of Confirmation and Holy Orders. Catholic liturgy employs it in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Extreme Unction, and Holy Orders, and in many blessings. In the Mass the priest holds his hands over the bread and wine just before the consecration.

New Catholic Dictionary

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