Choir and altar servers exempt from kneeling?

I attended Mass awhile back in a church that had been completed redone. Kneelers were missing in the old church, so the bishop required that kneelers be installed. Well, the choir was moved to the front of the church and they all sit in chairs - with no kneelers (they’re not on risers, but the floor is ‘stepped’ - plenty of room to place kneelers for them - or to have incorporated kneelers into the design). They stand when everyone else kneels. The altar servers and cantor also stand when everyone ie kneeling.

Is there an ‘exception’ on kneeling if you are in the choir or serving a role such as altar server, cantor? Every other parish I’ve been too has padded kneelers for these people to kneel on - or they just kneel on the floor. This parish seems to have specifically omitted kneelers for these people (I heard the priest didn’t like being required to have his parish kneel, so I’m wondering if he found an exception to support his preference.)

I don’t know if there is a rule covering this, but singing while kneeling is difficult (although the choir is not generally singing during the Consecration, except for the Memorial Acclamation).

In my choir loft, the seats are arranged in stepped rows, and one would probably have to be shorter than four feet tall to have enough room to kneel in (the loft was not built with kneelers – church is over 100 years old). We generally stand through most of the Mass (except for the first and second readings, and the homily).

Our altar servers do kneel when the rest of the congregation kneels (most of them will be sitting in seats that have kneelers; the others kneel on the floor). As far as the cantors are concerned, they kneel on the floor, if they are physically able.

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I guess I’m talking specifically during the Consecration and after the Agnus Dei, when they are not singing.

Or choir, also located upfront, have individual chairs that has a fold down kneeler attached to the back of each chair. When it is time to kneel, they fold down the kneeler and kneel. I could not find a specific reference in the GIRM requiring the choir to kneel or not kneel. It seems obvious that they do if not singing.

Most of the choir members at my church kneel on the riser floor. I sit during these parts of the Mass because of knee injuries and arthritis. I can’t genuflect either, because I wouldn’t be able to get up again.

We have several elderly lectors a priest who just had hip replacement, so they don’t kneel, but every able-bodied choir member kneels, even though it’s uncomfortable and difficult for them…especially the really tall ones.

Pax vobiscum!

At my home parish, the altar servers kneel on a marble floor with no kneelers. The choir remains standing, though. At the church I normally attend now (since I moved), the altar servers all kneel as well. I don’t know what the choir does at this church because they are in the choir loft.

In Christ,
Rand

Singing while kneeling is not, in fact, particularly difficult if you are singing a Memorial Acclamation according to a Gregorian melody. And that’s not so much of an innovation as some people might think! The whole “Mysterium Fideii” chant comes from the old Holy Friday liturgy. It’s pitched very low, and has this really solemn aura about it. Lovely stuff.

The Gregorian Schola at Gonzaga sang within the confines of the Sanctuary, men on one side, women on the other. After the Sanctus we knelt, and made a full prostration at the consecrations of both species. We stood for the Pater Noster, knelt after the Agnus Dei, and only stood again to get in line to receive Holy Communion. Then we stood to sing the communion chant or motet.

I think that choirs who are visible up front have an even GREATER need to kneel than those back in lofts. One of the purposes of the choir is to foster devotion, right? So let’s foster devotion to Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist! Then again, most of the songs in modern hymnals sorta reduce Him to being psychedlic bread and wine… oy.

As a chorister and a person in charge of the altar servers of my parish I can tell you with accuracy that there is no exception given to the choir. The only thing that they would possibly sing while kneeling is the Memorial Acclimation and the Great Amen. They would be standing for all the other music. Also, just from experience singing while kneeling is not that difficult.

Altar Servers are not exempt from any of the rules concerning kneeling. The rules for kneeling do not assume kneelers but rather they don’t assume anything. The exception given in the GIRM has nothing to do with not having kneelers.

this probably doesn’t belong in this thread but here goes…The Parish that I belonged to, for all of my life, was closed about three years ago. Three catholic churches in town and we needed to close one for financial reasons. Much pain was associated with this closing, as you can imagine. We are now in the process of building a new school at the largest of the two catholic churches in town, so the third church has been up for sale since it’s closing. The hope is that we will be able to sell the church and attached school and rectory to raise money to help with the expenditures of building a new school. I grew up across the street from this church, and happened to be visiting my mother yesterday when I noticed that the back door of the church was propped open. Without thought I threw on my shoes and ran across the street, I just had to get inside that building, when I stepped inside overwhelming emotions took over. The pews and kneelers were gone, I was fairly devastated to see a church that was at one time full of life now reduced to an empty, echoing room. I almost yelled out to the men who were working on emptying out a few things from the back of the church, then thought twice about it and quietly asked “where have the pews gone”, here was the answer… We donated them to a church down south, that could not afford to replace the folding chairs in their church, they had no kneelers or pews, nor pews in their choir loft. There is now a church somewhere that holds these beautifully hand crafted (by a local carpenter who also made the altar and ambo) pews and kneelers. Even their choir has kneelers now. May those that have received this gift, use them to worship our Lord as lovingly as the people who knelt on them for the first 40 years. Thanks for letting me share.

From the 2002 General Introduction to the Roman Missal (GIRM) which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :

“42. … A common posture, to be observed by all participants, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the Sacred Liturgy: it both expresses and fosters the intention and spiritual attitude of the participants.”

But in many countries the people are now required to kneel when the priest is standing.

For the deacon, the 2002 GIRM has: “179. During the Eucharistic Prayer, the deacon stands near the priest but slightly behind him, so that when needed he may assist the priest with the chalice or the Missal. From the epiclesis until the priest shows the chalice, the deacon normally remains kneeling.”

The USA’s GIRM has in n. 43:
“In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.”

It seems there are plenty of good reasons these days…

Maybe we’ll get to try it some day. :slight_smile: We have no trouble whatsoever singing in Latin, so the language is no excuse.

At least we’re not visible to the congregation – we’re in the back, up in the loft – all the way up – so high that there is a lag between the choir and the cantor due to the slow speed of sound. :wink: Seeing us clearly would require binoculars!

It’s impossible to kneel in the loft, anyway. It’s hard to describe the seats up there, but they aren’t very “tall” – the part we sit on is not attached to the floor at the same level as the place where we put our feet. Unless you are a child or a Little Person, there’s really no place to put your legs. Kneeling would require a 90 degree turn to kneel sideways, and only the very skinny would fit that way.

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Ohhhh yeah I know what kind of seating you’re dealing with. You guys definitely fall into that whole “lack of space” clause. Just bow when the priest genuflects :smiley:

Yeah - like, "we’ll gut and redo our entire church and put in kneelers because the bishop told us to, but oh darn, we were so excited about the choir being up front now that we forgot they had to kneel too, and we already put in these expensive new chairs and a riser floor, and the architect just didn’t allow enough room for kneelers, so well, okay, the choir can stand while EVERYONE ELSE in the building is kneeling.". Geesh.

This would exempt the Choir from kneeling. The question is: “Who determines whether or not there is a lack of space, or if there is some other good reason to exempt them?”

IMHO, that would fall to the parish pastor.

We always kneel, but stand to sing the Acclamation, then kneel untilt the Amen. I have the added quirk of kneeling on one knee, being as I have a guitar. We also never stand even a little until after the priest kneels at the consecration of the Blood of Christ. I didn’t know that there is any rule, but common sense goes a long way.

Servers are required ti kneel and usually don’t have kneelers, at least in most churches I’ve been to.

One church in our town has the altar servers sitting/standing in the front pew unless they’re “doing something” so they have access to kneelers (the priest doesn’t want them kneeling on the floor and he doesn’t like the look of kneelers or kneeling pads in the sanctuary). Is this appropraite, or are altar servers supposed to stay in the sanctuary?

I am a choir member and i am happy that we don’t have kneelers on our place. We just kneel on the floor and i can kneel and bow reverently on consecration. Without kneelers i can feel a bit pain in my knees which for me a reminder of pain that Jesus felt in Calvary though my pain is nothing compared to jesus’ pain…

I have sung in more than one choir, and in a large majority of cases we have been directed not to kneel, but are typically standing when most are kneeling. This is a judgement call on the part of the pastor. Rarely is there enough room for kneeling to be done comfortably in the choir area - instead everyone is packed as tightly as possible. I’d still rather kneel, but my preference in this matter is overruled by obedience to my director & pastor.

While in the choir, I follow all instructions of my director as well as I am able, whether or not I agree. When I am unable to do so, I will not be in the choir.

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