Bishop asks parishioners to stand?

I was traveling in the US recently & before Mass the lector reminded everyone that the bishop asks everyone to stand after Communion until the priest sits - in short, no kneeling after Communion. Should I do that when I’m visiting that church? I have never heard of a bishop telling everyone to stand at a different time from what’s typically done (and, i assume, prescribed?)

Pondering a Puzzling Liturgical Posture: Standing until all have received Communion by Msgr Charles Pope January 2014. It may help you in deciding what to do when visiting these parishes.


The bishop has a right to make this request, as the rubrics here are actually quite vague and varied around the world. The bishop gets to choose what he wants to ask of people for the time referred to as the communion procession (first movement of someone receiving until the last person receives - and potentially until the altar is cleared and/or everyone back to their places).

That said, the GIRM also allows leeway for the individual (at least as interpreted and implemented in the US) to choose their own posture after receiving communion until, “Let us pray.”

The question then becomes one of: do you do what everyone else in that place is doing for the sake of uniformity in liturgy as most liturgical documents encourage, or do you do your own thing that is also perfectly acceptable and may provide you spiritual benefit?


The issue here is when is “after Communion.” We are used to thinking of it in terms of our own personal communion. Liturgically it is after everyone has received, so that in solidarity with those receiving we stand until all have received. That is the message being taught by the instruction to stand until all have finished receiving. And sing until the last person has received so that our breath, our spirits, may be joined to the Spirit of Christ.

The norm, that we stand while receiving, is not strict. You may kneel. What is important is recognizing that each of us is joined with all who receive Holy Communion. Each of us joined with all is the point of Holy Communion, since that all is founded on the Body of Christ

This is explained in a handout from the US bishops on the reception of Holy Communion though it leaves some room for interpretation. (ie it is a little vague)


Thanks, everyone! I appreciate the articles and will be ready for this if it happens again! I admit to feeling a bit frustrated by it. We have a child on the spectrum and he does not handle change to his well-loved routines well. At our home parish they kneel after communion. If we travel again to a place that requests standing I will just have to step outside with him. He will fall apart if Mass doesn’t go “the usual way” for him (ie he’s used to kneeling and would expect me and his dad to kneel also) and of course there’s no explaining it to him at his age! I wish the bishops could make one rule for the whole US. That seems more unified that each bishop doing something possibly different out of “unity.” Oh well. I understand the value of being obedient. I bet the bishop didn’t consider folks like my son though. That’s too bad.

You have the option to sit OR kneel when the priest sits. In our diocese we stand til the body of Christ is reposed. Then we may sit or kneel.

At which point you probably have about 10 seconds before the priest stands up and dismisses everyone. It’s nutty. Let the people be in communion with God kneeling if they so desire.


When in Rome, do as the Romans do.


Obey the bishop. End of story.


Okay thanks everyone. I will. But I still wish for continuity across diocese.

On another note, I’m assuming even if the bishop say we must stand, it’s still okay to sit down if I need to because I’m holding a baby? I do this during the kneeling time at my usual parish and no one has ever demanded I change to kneeling. In this case I should stand if I can but it’s be okay to sit right? Just no kneeling??

Please use common sense.
If you must sit, sit. If you can’t kneel, don’t.
No priest/Bishop is going to admonish someone for doing/not doing something they are physically unable to do.


The bishops did make one rule for the whole US. I will even go out on a limb and say concerns like yours were probably a factor in their decision. This is stated in my previous link to The Reception of Holy Communion during Mass. It is easily misunderstood.

I remember when mu parish started it. The was info in the bulletin, instruction at Mass, etc. it did not “take.” Everyone still kneels when they return from Communion. No one seems too concerned. I do not know if anyone remembers it other than me. So there are differences in custom, which can be difficult for some individuals

The General Instruction asks each country’s Conference of Bishops to determine the posture to be used for the reception of Communion and the act of reverence to be made by each person as he or she receives Communion. In the United States, the body of Bishops determined that Communion should be received standing, and that a bow is the act of reverence made by those receiving. These norms may require some adjustment on the part of those who have been used to other practices, however the significance of unity in posture and gesture as a symbol of our unity as members of the one body of Christ should be the governing factor in our own actions.

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The US bishops were pretty clear on this. There is supposed to be a common Communion posture. Just because some people choose to be disobedient doesn’t change the norm, or the reason for the norm.

Everybody doing what they want at and after Communion destroys the whole point of being in…communion with each other.

Kneeling is often done by those who think that posture is somehow superior to standing. It isn’t. The superior posture is the normative one: standing.


Yes I know. I’m just grieving that I CAN sit if I need to… but under no circumstances can I kneel because there is never a “need” to kneel.

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I thought the norm was we stand to receive? I didn’t realize it extended to standing afterwards when we’ve already received??

I doubt that a parish is going to have an usher walk over and tell your son “stand up”, so, he is free to kneel if he wishes.


Where I live, we generally kneel after communion, but I remember visiting my brother at Ohio because that’s where he lived at the time, and the church near where he lived they stood. I felt like it was really weird because I was under the impression that in the Latin church, we kneel after communion, I was aware of variations on the Liturgy, but not to that extent


We kneel----I kneel.

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I don’t understand – why does it “ruin” “being in communion” if people have a variety of postures? What’s the big deal? Why would standing be chosen by the bishops as the normative posture? Why would that be superior to kneeling after communion?


I am glad I am in a diocese without such rules. I understand the value of unity, but unity is a matter of one’s spirit. I prefer what Cardinal Arinze said after he asked if we are soldiers, and he never understood why some bishops want to regiment the people of God. I prefer a more secular view. Why try to choreograph movement in Mass? Are we dancers?

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