Bowing during Consecration and receiving communion?

So I see a lot of people during mass tend to bow at the time of consecration of the host and wine (usually when the priest brings down the eucharist and bows himself, so do the church participants) Is this right or wrong? Why do people do it?

Also, I’ve seen people bow right before they receive communion, actually some people even genuflect. Which one is right? And why is it done?

Thank you in advance for the answers.

This is known as showing an act of reverence for the Holy Eucharist (bowing, genuflecting, kneeling). During the Consecration, those who are attending the Holy Mass with the Priest, will kneel after the Psalm Holy, Holy, Holy, … through the Eucharistic Prayers, ending with the great Amen. Once again we kneel just prior to the dispensing of Holy Communion when the Priest turns to the people, elevating the Host and Chalice, saying “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who taketh away the sins of the world.” The people respond by saying “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst enter under my roof; but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed.” These two moments of the Holy Mass are the times that one is deeply stirred by preparing to receive Holy Communion. After receiving, one prayerfully is aware of Whom they have within and lovingly communes with Jesus, closing off any distraction and kneels or bows to their Creator for a time that is not on a clock. The manner that I have described is the 2ND best way for those who know of the BETTER posture
attending Mass, but have had to conform to differing varieties of standing. Since “kneelers” were removed during the liberal purge, those of us who cannot but kneel before God have had to hit the floor and struggle to get back up. This has given us a chance to offer up our humility and persecution as extra penance for our sins.

If you can’t kneel at the Consecration, you are to make a deep bow when the priest genuflects (GIRM 43)

As for before Communion, each Bishops Conference adopts a gesture of reverence which one is to make before receiving Communion. In the US it is a bow of the head (GIRM 160) , in England, a bow (GIRM 160), in Canada, a bow of the head (GIRM 160),

I have never seen bowing, as the faithful are supposed to be kneeling at this time. I personally do bow my head at the time that the priest genuflects after the Elevation. This is a personal sign of adoration in conjunction with the adoration that the priest is offering on our behalf.

Also, I’ve seen people bow right before they receive communion, actually some people even genuflect. Which one is right? And why is it done?

Thank you in advance for the answers.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal ( GIRM) lists a requirement for the faithful to offer a sign of reverence before the personal reception of Holy Communion.

In the United States, the Bishops have defined this sign to be a bow of the head if one is receiving standing… All the faithful should be performing this action. The genuflection, while generally praiseworthy, would not comply with the bishop’s instructions.

For other countries, I would recommend that you consult the local bishop’s conference

You make it sound as though there are no kneelers in any Catholic church. Just to be clear, especially for the new or non-Catholics among us, that is not the case. Most Catholic churches have kneelers in the pews.


As Phemie noted with a link and grotto noted with some extra editorial content, this action is prescribed for those who do not kneel. Here is the actual quote from GIRM 43:

In the dioceses of Canada, the faithful should kneel at the Consecration, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present, or for another reasonable cause. However, those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the Priest genuflects after the Consecration.

The other national English translations I’ve seen have substantially the same wording, although the American one changes the start of kneeling.

Originally Posted by grotto View Post
Since “kneelers” were removed during the liberal purge, those of us who cannot but kneel before God have had to hit the floor and struggle to get back up.

My guess is grotto meant to reference Communion rails (may not be right term) and misspoke when they said kneelers. Probably have to be late 40’s+ to remember.

The altar rails in most churches disappeared in the mid 60s but many churches had their pew kneelers removed in the 80s & 90s, so I’m pretty sure that’s what grotto was referring to. They tried to do that in my parish but I suggested they have a “referendum” to decide. Needless to say there was a resounding NO vote and the kneelers stayed.

Sounds more like kneelers to me. Maybe grotto will return and clarify.

Yes! I shall return and clarify! In the Saginaw Diocese of Michigan there was a period of about 25 years that a late Bishop set about changing the Mass, order of Sacraments, renovating the architecture of the churches - inside and out, hiding the Tabernacle, removing confessionals, statues removed, the Crucifix replaced with a statue of the Risen Lord, Baptismal Founts replaced with pools/waterfalls, Stations of the Cross removed from the walls and only put up during Lent if enough “requests” were heard. The pews were replaced with chairs. The Communion rail was the first to go - along with the altar to be replaced with an altar/table facing the people. Banners, ribbons and trees became the focal point. As the faithful resisted, prayerfully, angrily, travelling to find the Holy Mass and a parish that had the Catholic Faith practiced, things worsened in the Diocese. An organization called “Call to Action” wormed their way into the parishes encouraging “women priests”, liturgical dancing, pushing “inclusive” language in the Gospel readings, other prayers of the Mass and songs. Liturgical abuses occurred - the Precious Blood in glassware and the Consecrated Hosts (in straw baskets) were left on a table to be forgotten, poured out, and the Hosts placed in Tupperware. Next homemade bread became a “ministry” for a few that followed their own various recipes. I must emphasize that these were not isolated happenings but became common practice. Where was the priest? I really do not want to go into at least 4 priests that were assigned during these years. It wasn’t pretty. One church that we found that was a balm to our wounds was 70 miles round trip and we were happy, happy, to become parishoners. There have been three great Bishops that have had the task of repairing the damage to souls and buildings. Two churches closer to us have had the Tabernacle placed in front of the people, one has gotten the kneelers back (they must have secretly stored them) and the other is trying to get some soon. The closest church has had liturgical corrections made, Crucifix is back, stations are on the walls, Tabernacle is still stuck away in a room off the vestibule, lingering confusion over who’s the boss - the Pastoral Minister (female) or the Sacramental Minister (retired - volunteering Priest).
The half-time Priest that has two parishes, alternating Sunday Mass, devoutly says Mass and is most encouraging. Oh yes! The communion wafer returned after that matter was brought to the attention of the 1st replacing Bishop. If you find what I have had to tell you as tiresome, not worth being upset over, etc. - I will say a prayer for you and ask you to pray for me.

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