Couples in line for communion, ladies first?

When Catholic couples attend mass together, I’ve noticed that husbands and boyfriends typically step back to let the woman receive the Eucharist before them.

What is the tradition or significance behind this? Is it really just “Ladies first”?

I’d like to fully understand before applying it to my developing dating relationship.

Just a courtesy like opening doors. No religious significance.

Regarding its application to your own relationships, if you’re courteous and considerate outside of church wouldn’t you be courteous and considerate inside church as well?

My father, in his late 70’s, has always stepped back to allow my mother into the pew first and again to allow her to precede him in line for Communion. They’re lovely toward one another. :love:

To me it all depends on how you return to your pew. If you re-enter the pew from the same side you exited, then it makes sense to allow those behind you to go up first. But if, as in most place I’ve been, you re-enter the pew from the other side, then just keep walking when you exit - that allows the return to the pew to be in the proper order. But that’s just my anal, orderly mind. :stuck_out_tongue:

I notice that most husbands let their wives go in front of them. Even my dad does that for my mother, and he seldom goes to Mass with the exception of Christmas Eve and Easter. I think it is a nice thing to do but not required.

My husband does this because he’s a gentleman, just like opening the door for me.

There’s a variation on this in many parishes in India:

Men and women sit separately (with rare exceptions for families). All the women receive Communion first, followed by the men.

In urban areas, this isn’t followed strictly; because of large numbers, there are several lines, with no gender preference.

Mostly the men do step back and allow any women they are accompanying to go into the communion line first. I attend Mass alone (my husband is Lutheran,) and frequently men who are seated next to me will exit the pew, step back, allow me to exit and get in line, and then fall in behind me. Most of the time, I don’t know them from Adam! I think, in the US anyways, it’s just a matter of “ladies first,” or maybe they’re deferring to my age (I’m middle aged.)

I don’t think the three seconds this takes to do slows things down appreciably: After all, a communion line isn’t exactly a trampling horde!

I am not a woman, but people of both genders have stopped and indicated for me to go before them many times, in the communion line.

My husband and I are converts to Catholicism from evangelical Protestantism. We were received into the Church in 2004.

From the very beginning, I have deliberately stepped aside in the aisle and indicated that my HUSBAND should go first, and I follow him.

He is the head of our house, and my act is a way of recognizing this and telling him that I accept his headship over our household.

This is also my way of telling God that I respect HIS authority and the earthly authorities that He has placed over me, mainly His Church.

I never worry that my husband will misuse his God-granted authority. Here’s why:

HE was the first of us to be “ready” to become Catholic, and I told him back then to go ahead and get confirmed and hopefully someday I would be ready.

He said, “No.” He would not enter the Church alone, but would wait for me to be ready and we would go in together.

This kindness and sacrifice on his part was a major factor in helping me to be ready to convert to Catholicism and commit to Christ’s Church.

I know that some women wear head-coverings to demonstrate their submissiveness. For me, it’s following my husband to Communion.

I always let my wife go first. It just seems like “ladies first” and being polite are the right things to do.

Certainly not a “requirement” of the faith/church at all… but definitely a common act of courtesy… I think it’s romantic.

Ever since I can remember, my father steped aside and let the whole family ahead of him in the Communion line, it gave us the feeling that he was putting his family first, even at Mass. After he converted, my husband started doing it for me.

My husband always steps back for me as well.:wink:

It seems so chivalrous to me when men do this. I secretly have wished my husband would do this for me, though it’s not a huge deal. He’s chivalrous and romantic in all sorts of other ways. But he grew up going to Mass with only his dad, so I guess he just missed out on that bit.

This also means that Dad is in the position where he can keep an eye on everyone, rather than have anyone he is protective of behind him. Mom does not have to be concerned with whether the stranger behind her has access to her purse.

(Does anyone believe thieves never go to church? Our pastor had to warn the women to take their purses to communion with them. There had been thefts at Mass, presumably during communion, and he reminded us it is wrong to confront others with a near occasion of sin.)

A story:
I was not raised in a household that was Catholic or that would do this sort of thing but I started doing it when talking with a friend about being a good man and husband. There is a mother and son who go to our parish who came up to me and told me that her son started doing this for his mom because he saw me do it for my wife. It is one of the most memorable times I have had. I have watched this boy grow in our youth program and his respect and love for his mother is amazing.
Being romantic or chivalrous does not come natural to me so I take great pride in letting my wife and daughters go first. It is routine now but I still catch my wife smiling every once in a while and it makes me happy that it makes her happy.

This is interesting to me because my husband does not do this. He and I both are focused upon an arrangement that allows for maximum control of rambunctious children, which usually includes one or both of us holding a youngster in the procession. Added to that, our oldest is preparing for her first communion, so we are getting her used to walking forward solemnly and reverently. It is quite a feat to accomplish all of this without incident, while still being able to receive Communion ourselves. :stuck_out_tongue:
That being said, I cannot imagine caring one way or the other on the occasions that wrangling babies is no longer a consideration. I would probably wonder what in the world he was waiting for! :smiley:

Us too! Sometimes we don’t even sit together. DH takes the little one to the other side of the Church. Little guy is great if siblings are not near him.

We otherwise go in pew order.

This works, too.

Dh has done this for me in the past, but not every time. I appreciate the courtesy and i understand that for me it is a loving gesture, and for others it is an expression of their natural chivalry, but I prefer that he doesn’t do it. We are usually seated a certain way in the pew for a good reason, and if he goes to the trouble to step out of the way for me, then when we return to the pew, I have to go to the trouble to step back out of the way for him, if I want to end up in our original positions (which I usually do). It’s a bit of a pain, and a distraction for me. I’d rather just file out of the pew without having to worry about chivalry, my dh’s love for me, or any of that, and just keep my mind focused as much as possible on the Eucharist. I get distracted easily as it is.

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