Altar Rail Puts Communicants on Right Track

In many parishes, a once-standard sanctuary staple is making a comeback: the altar rail.

Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, spoke about receiving the Holy Eucharist at Mass.

In part, he said, “Kneel down. Adore your Lord. It is logical. [T]he angels in heaven … prostrate in front of the Lamb. But we have the Lamb of God in the Host. They prostrate themselves. We’re not. Why not?”


While I have never “that I remember” attended a Mass that wasn’t “Novus Ordo” I would be MORE THAN HAPPY to see Communion rails come back. I would not mind them at all.


I don’t have a problem with it.


Is there something intrinsically more “adoring” when kneeling versus bowing/genuflecting and then receiving the Eucharist?

Does the attitude and reverence of the heart change depending on whether we kneel or bow/stand?

Archangel Gabriel said, “I am Gabriel, the one standing before God.”

And angels are always adoring, so is it not possible to adore God even if one doesn’t receive while kneeling?

I don’t mean to be disrespectful…but if God is displeased with different physical forms of reverence, how does the Church allow it at the highest official teaching authority?

Personally I think there should be unity, but does standing and receiving offend God?


Surprisingly, my parish church, wich was built long after Vatican, and since been remodeled, has never been without an altar rail. However, we do not kneel for communion.


Rituals subconsciously reinforce concepts/teachings/ideas, etc.

By kneeling, you are being reminded that the real presence is real. It also is a physical sign of what we believe.

It’s not so much for the people who do believe in the real presence, but for those who don’t.

If I’m making sense

God Bless


Mine was built in '65 and has one… the altar servers use it to receive, but thats it

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Bring altar rails back! Too many people think of the Eucharist as a wafer, when it is the body of our beloved Lord. I think an altar rail comeback would help people see- “hey this really is my God in front of me!”


This is what I was trying to say as well in my post above. Makes sense to me.


Yes there is reverence in standing while one receives, it’s perfectly fine or it would not have been allowed. No argument with that. I just personally would not mind kneeling to receive Our Lord if there was a Communion rail.

But my heart remembers & feels the scripture verse Phillipians 2:10 “… at the name of Jesus every knee should bend,of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth”.


I have no problem with standing to receive as this is the ancient discipline in the East.

My issue comes with unnecessary usage of EMHC (if they are supposed to be EXTRAOrdinary, why are they an Ordinary fixture at every single Mass?) and also with people wantonly receiving Communion without prior Confession.

I am in favor of bringing back altar rails in the Roman Rite, however.


“My issue comes with unnecessary usage of EMHC (if they are supposed to be EXTRAOrdinary, why are they an Ordinary fixture at every single Mass?) and also with people wantonly receiving Communion without prior Confession.”

There in lies the PROBLEM. EMHC are to be used ONLY when absolutely necessary in the instance of such huge crowds that the priest can’t distribute by himself, the priest’s age or infirmity prevents him from distributing or other legitimate reason. It should not be a common thing. We used to have them at our Church and this was done away with because of exactly what I stated. It became a routine but wasn’t a necessity. I am not at every Church that every person goes to so I don’t know if they are going to Confession first before they receive Communion but I do KNOW our pastor preaches about this OFTEN from the pulpit. He tells us “if you don’t want to go to confession to me FINE but GO TO CONFESSION regularly.” Many just either don’t know or don’t care. But that is between them and God.


At a Catholic high school in my Diocese, the school’s completely physically fine deacon sat while the presiding pastor and an EMHC distributed…

??? I would hope the pastor would have addressed that or that maybe the Deacon had a reason the Pastor knew about.

That’s become the normal.

Either the Church needs to come out and say EMHC are actually Ordinary Ministers of Communion, or this problem needs to be rectified.

I would like to see Rome legislate something like “unless the communicant-Ordinary Minister (ordained clergy) ratio exceeds 50:1, EMHC are not to be used.”


It’s only the tip of the iceberg in regards to liturgy in the high schools of my diocese…

We have to PRAY for our Bishops (priests as well)to STEP up and do what’s right about things like this. It has to come from the top or it doesn’t happen.


Our parish recently started using the altar rails for Communion again. I love it. It gives you an extra few moments for prayer or contemplation before receiving Communion, and it feels more reverent than standing in a line.

As an added bonus, it is also efficient–it goes as least as quickly as does a regular Communion line, yet never feels rushed. :blush:


“Crack the whip”? O, brother.

What’s next Liturgical Gestapo?

Reverence and recognition of Christ are the issues. And they begin long before Mass.


Sorry should have used better words. Bishops & priests as well need to follow the rules and make sure those serving at Mass follow the rules as well.

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