Are we to stand after receiving the Eucharist until all the congregation has received?

After receiving Communion are we to kneel or stand until the rest of the congregation has received? In our diocese, I have seen both and heard different opinions from priests.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

  1. …they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.

Standing would not seem to be an option. However, if a community has that particular tradition I don’t think its a big deal. Even still, the Church does not have a hard and fast rule on what posture everyone must have following communion.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments addressed this on June 5, 2003 (Prot. N. 855/03/L):

Dubium: In many places, the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after having individually received Holy Communion during Mass. Is it the intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to forbid this practice?

Responsum: Negative, et ad mensum [No, for this reason]. The mens [reasoning] is that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on the one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.

After communion the faithful are free to sit or kneel as they see fit. If the community has a tradition of standing, that’s not the end of the world but it does not override the right of the individual to sit or kneel if he or she so chooses.

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