Bowing during the Creed

I have been meaning to ask this for a long time, but I always forget once I get home.

Over the past 2 years at my Church during the Creed, people bow when it is mentioning that Jesus was “concieved by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and became man”.

It started out with a few people doing it, and now the whole Church does it. I have two questions.

  1. Is this proper? Or was is it like the holding hands during the “Our Father”, where it started small and became the norm?

  2. If it is correct, then what exactly are we bowing for/to? The Holy Spirit? Mary? Jesus? Or all three?

Thanks in advance :slight_smile:

Not only proper but prescribed.

  1. The profession of faith is said by the priest together with the people (see no. 44). At the words by the power of the Holy Spirit, etc., all bow; on the solemnities of the Annunciation and Christmas all kneel.

ewtn.com/library/CURIA/GIRM.HTM

In the good old times genuflection was required.

It is interesting, that the bow/genuflection is not for the crucifixion but for the incarnation.

Yes. According to the General Instruction to the Roman Missal,
137. The Creed is sung or recited by the priest together with the people (cf. above, no. 68) with everyone standing. At the words et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . became man) all make a profound bow; but on the Solemnities of the Annunciation and of the Nativity of the Lord, all genuflect.

Thanks!

I am glad then that it has come back. I will start participating now that I know that it is not an abuse :thumbsup:

What a coincidence! I was just going to ask this question :slight_smile: I still have a question regarding the bowing though. If a parish does not do it, should the pastor be notified? In other words, is it bad or illicit to refrain from bowing? Should it be addressed and corrected?

I have another question, but this regards the bells during Mass. I’ve noticed that many parishes ring bells during the consecration; it is done 6 times (3 for the Body and 3 for the Blood). Is this practice ok to skip out on too? Or should it be addressed and corrected as well?

Thank you :slight_smile:

I suppose it would be “bad” if you refrained from bowing because you didn’t want to honor the Incarnation or something, but many people simply don’t know that this is in the Mass. That’s a topic for instruction and catechesis from the priest. I don’t think he has to be “notified,” but if it concerns you then you are welcome to bring it up with him.

I have another question, but this regards the bells during Mass. I’ve noticed that many parishes ring bells during the consecration; it is done 6 times (3 for the Body and 3 for the Blood). Is this practice ok to skip out on too? Or should it be addressed and corrected as well?

Thank you :slight_smile:

The use of bells is optional.

Indeed it is illicit. Chances are that if a parish does not do it, the pastor is well aware. He either doesn’t care at all, or more likely has a number of priorities higher on his list. If you feel strongly enough about this particular issue, you should bring it to his attention - knowing that some parishioners are concerned may push it higher on his list.

Actually, a shrewd pastoral move might be to emphasize this in November when the new missal is put into use. With so many changes at once, many may just assume it’s the “new thing” they are supposed to do.

I’m I’m not mistaken, its explicitly stated in the Missals used. Unless people know the Creed by heart and don’t reference the Missal, or they just keep quiet and go along with the crowd. But anyone who references the Missal would see a bow is prescribed.

Our parish is pretty careful about orthopraxi in the mass, and some people do bow. The give away for me, when I had this same question, was that our Bishop and Priests bow, and I know that the aren’t given into doing things just because everyone else does.

So, I think that is also how people are taught that we should bow at the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. By doing it. :slight_smile: Our catechumens noticed and asked this same question not too long ago.

(BTW: Our parish sings the Creed in Latin.)

it is in the rubrics at least of every missal I have and has been as long as I can remember. What is more common is that people simply stop doing it, and need to be reminded
on the feast of the Annunciation and I think Christmas we genuflect at these words

  1. If it is correct, then what exactly are we bowing for/to? The Holy Spirit? Mary? Jesus? Or all three?

Thanks in advance

in acknowledgement of the mystery of the Incarnation, the lynchpin salvific event of all history when God becomes Man and so intiates the Paschal mystery that culminates in the Crucifixion and Resurrection

Note that what the priest does is not to be copied all the time. Its why we’re in this Orans mess at the Our Father.

Well, as I said, our priests at our parish are “normal”. :smiley: I’ve never seen any of them do anything where I’m wondering what in the world is going on. Can’t say that for some of our other parishes though.

I know it’s listed in our Missal. It’s listed right by the phrase “conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and became man”. If I remember right at the bottom of the page it mentions that on Christmas and the Feast of the Ascension we genuflect instead of bow. I believe I have those two right. I know there are 2 holy days we are supposed to genuflect instead of bow at those words. Yes, our parish, Father included, does this.

Redratfish,

If you haven’t already you might check one of the missals at your parish, I bet it’s in there.

In the older mass we always knelt at that point. When the mass was revised, that was changed to a bow, with kneeling for Christmas and the Annunciation.

    • and promptly forgotten by all. :frowning:

It seems to be gradually coming back.

Note that Adoremus has a guide to the gestures of mass.

[FONT=Times New Roman, Times, Arial][size=3]“Gestures and Postures of the Congregation at Mass”[/size], which originally appeared in the February 2010 Adoremus Bulletin, is now available in PDF format, or go to google document, especially formatted for printing on standard 8.5 x 11 paper (2 sides).[/FONT] [LEFT][FONT=Times New Roman, Times, Arial][size=3]Permission is granted to reproduce this file for personal or parish use. For all other uses, please contact us.[/size][/FONT]
[/LEFT]

However, they do not make clear which are mandatory and which are just preferred practice. I try to follow them all.

After attending Catholic Mass for almost 15 years (as an Anglican) I never once noticed anyone bow or genuflect. It was never mentioned by the priest.

I converted at an FSSP parish. Unlike the OF, at the EF we always used the Nicene Creed. (In Canada the Apostles Creed is almost always used.)
What really struck me was the fact that the whole congregation KNELT (as per the instructions in the 1962 Missal) for the Incarnation. Even though I had a strong Christian faith going back decades, I somehow never realized until that time the actual importance of the Incarnation. To kneel for Christ’s suffering and death I would have understood, but this was new to me. :blush:
Upon reflection I thought of what great teaching there can be just by following the rubrics of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. (Especially in the EF – for me at least.)

One other thing:
I have yet to see any mention in the Missals we use (Our Daily Bread perhaps??) that we are to bow or anything, although last Christmas our priest told us to during the Nicene Creed.

Oh, the Orans is perfectly normal and right for the Priest and Bishop. Not sure if a Deacon is supposed to do it in the Roman Rite, but they do so in the Byzantine Rite.

I wish there’s a layperson on the first row that everyone should follow. Sometimes even the choir is unreliable as they stand to sing when others should be sitting or kneeling.

My priest taught on it about a year ago and still only a few people bow. It is great if you have a whole church doing it.

I got a very strange look… actually a mean look one day at Mass. Ordinary Form Mass at a parish I was visiting. I was ill, and didn’t go to my regular Sunday Mass, but felt better later and went to a 7 pm Mass.

Anyway, as the procession passed, as always, I genuflected and crossed myself for the passing of the crucifix, and I bowed as the priest passed.

After I rose from bowing, a woman in the pew in front of me just stared at me as if I was the devil himself lol. Anyhow, I was near the back and I didn’t see anyone else genuflect or bow for the procession in the pews ahead of me, so I suppose it looked out of place when I did it. Who knows what she was thinking :shrug:

The Mass was reverent and many bowed during the Creed.

All you have to do is look in the Missalette…the ones used by our parish (by J.S. Paluch) have that part set aside with the notation in italics that all bow when those words are said. I don’t have a missalette with me, but it looks something like this.

…For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven

All bow during these two lines.

by the power of the Holy Spirit
he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man

For our sake…

My St. Joseph Sunday missal has a similar notation.

At the EF I often assist at there are enough altar boys (and deacons too) to follow. Most of us use them as a guide.

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