Covering your face after communion

Covering your face with your hands after receiving communion.

Can someone please explain where this came from. If you have any church documents that say we should do this please include those.

Thanks!

Covering your face with your hands? Do you mean directly after receiving (as in ‘body of christ’ ‘amen’, consume host, cover face with hands) or simply whilst praying in the pew once they’ve returned to their spot?

It’s actually a relatively common prayer gesture to cover the face with the hands. One might, for example, be crying and not want anyone else to see, or might want to block out the people around you so as to better concentrate on your own thoughts and prayers.

It’s just a personal gesture–no requirement to do or not to do.

You must see a lot people covering their faces in order to be wondering if there was a church document on it!

I suppose covering the face is a method to block out distractions, but I think it’s a better idea to just close the eyes. Covering the face seems to denote sorrow or stress, which is certainly not a common feeling after Holy Communion!

Maria

Covering your face with your hands after receiving communion.

Can someone please explain where this came from. If you have any church documents that say we should do this please include those.

Thanks!

There was a thread on this not too long ago; I searched and didn’t find it.

I pray using this posture. It aids in prayer especially after communion. People going up and coming back from communion can be a huge distraction for me. The church I go to is lacks iconography so sheilding my eyes keeps the empy walls from being a distraction, too.

I don’t know if this posture comes from anyplace specific and I’m unaware of any documents addressing this. As for the the history/background and existance of documents you could Ask an Apologist. I’m curious what they might know of but I would be surprised if there is anything formal out there about this.

A good question. The first time I saw it being encouraged was at my Godson’s First Communion. the First Communicants upon returning to their seats were to kneel down and cover their faces in prayer. I asked his mom about this after and she said that she was told it was to help them pray and avoid distraction.

I know I do it, or more accurately since I have glasses I will kneel and then rest my backside on the pew behind me so I can put my head between my arms with my hands folded in prayer - it is to avoid the distraction of those going to and coming back from Communion (we do have nice statues etc. at my Parish and Mission Chapel so that isn’t a problem).

As far as Church documents on this? I don’t think there are any, it is just as others have said, a way to avoid distraction when in private prayer of thanksgiving after Communion.

Brenda V.

Yes.

It’s actually a relatively common prayer gesture to cover the face with the hands. One might, for example, be crying and not want anyone else to see, or might want to block out the people around you so as to better concentrate on your own thoughts and prayers.

Thank you for the explanation.

I’ve always done that after receiving Holy Communion. I cover my face till I’ve swallowed the host. I was born in 1954 so I guess I had my First Communion pre-Vatican II and I must have been taught that way, although I don’t remember any specific instructions.

I do remember, however, being told that I shouldn’t chew the host (so I don’t). By the sounds of it, I don’t think people are taught that anymore.

:stuck_out_tongue:

My younger sister is your age and no, most definitely we were taught not to chew the host.

I don’t cover my face but I do shut my eyes so that I am not distracted.

I cover my face after receiving as well. To block out distraction, but mostly because I am so humbled by Christ’s sacrifice that I just feel like I want to curl up and hide and be very small when I have Him with me. Sounds silly, but it’s the only way I can describe it. I think I’ve always prayed like this. I also cover my face during the Eucharistic Prayer - I find the level of intimacy between the priest and the Body and Blood of Christ too much to endure sometimes, and so I don’t/can’t watch. It is a deep moment of prayer for me, and I don’t want to be the least bit distracted.

I was born in '64 and I do not chew either, rather I allow the Body of Christ to dissolve and then swallow quietly. I don’t like the idea of having Christ stuck in my teeth.

~Liza

I was taught this way as well, and I was born in '86…then again, I think my mom was the one who taught me that one. I don’t remember the issue being touched upon during ccd, but then again, that was such a very long time ago.

I do, however, have to chew when I attend our University’s local Newman Center. They use an “approved recipe” for “Eucharistic bread cubes” (for lack of a better term). I really dislike the fact that I am forced to chew the Body of Our Lord and am especially unnerved by having to sweep Jesus down my throat with my tongue whilst I’m praying after I return to my pew from communion.

And speaking about being taught to receive communion…The other big problem with using these “Eucharistic bread cubes” for communion is that, well, they’re very crumbly, and I see many who receive on the hand simply brush the crumbs out of their hand on their pants on their way back to their pew. It bothers me that may people attending this parish have such an irreverent attitude toward the Eucharist.

first post btw, woot.

That’s just shocking! :eek: I can’t believe they would use elements that would result in this. Wow. <shaking head in total aghastness (yep, it’s a word today)>

~Liza

If you raise your joined palms and drop your elbow, you get that. But it has nothing to do with any official directives and isn’t really about covering your face per se. I suppose it’s connected to privacy as, while the whole of the people in church are uniting to praise God, reception of Holy Communion feels very private to some people, myself included. Others may perhaps experience more unity with the other people and hence no need for privacy.

“Covering your face after communion”

I used to do this quite frequently.

Reception of the Body and Blood of Christ was an intensly spiritual experience. I would meditate on it as the Sacred Species would dissolve and the Infinite God and I would be drawn together.

When I was young we were taught not to chew. That might still be the case for many but for those who chew the process of absorbing the Host is accelerated, and so (I speculate) one might be less inclined to meditate.

Michael

Doesn’t manducate mean chew? But I remember even the seemingly anticlerical people telling kids off for chewing.

I cover my face after communion to have total undisturbed, undistracted intimacy with my Lord. I shut off the outside world and turn inwardly to be with Him alone.

I used to say my petition prayers but not anymore. I simply thank Him and be with Him. That moment of union, I in Him, and He in me, is the most precious moment in life.
It is heaven on earth, it is my union with my Lord!

I can never thank Him enough!

Closing the eyes is just as effective for shutting out distractions as covering the face with the hands. Really.

Maria

Hey! After you lick the host off your hand you have to wipe the spittle somewhere. I don’t really think they are brushing crumbs. As for covering one’s face after communion it is just onen ofn those personal things people do to pray, you know, like the orans position during the Pater Noster.:slight_smile:

Born in '83, also taught not the chew, but also by my mother. She said it was to avoid (as best you can) getting particles stuck to your teeth - these might get mingled with profane substances later or simply lead to a neglect of Christ’s presence because you are unaware He is still there. I don’t know if those are the traditional rationales or not. I’ve never “chewed,” then, in the sense of crushing the host with my teeth, but I do work it against the roof of my mouth with my tongue - I guess I’ve always been a wonderful legalist. Just in order to stay on topic, I’ll mention that, while I don’t know if she does so any more, my childhood memories of mom receiving Communion all include her covering her face in the pew.

For you maybe. If I cover my face I can keep my eyes slightly open which is more comfortable. If I just close my eyes I find they want to pop open. I don’t know if it’s because I wear contact lenses or what.

If someone is going to think I’m upset because my face is covered perhaps they should cover their face thus blocking out the distraction that is me and not be so concerned with my posture during prayer. :nerd:

A thought to ponder:

Jesus at the last supper.

The bread that was used was bread not the wafer pieces we get these days or the paper thin wafers pre-vatican 2.

How do you think the apostles ate the bread?

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