Covering your face after communion

You see by my initiating this thread my ignorance on the matter. I appreciate the answers given. It is something people do to focus themselves in prayer. Most people here who do this are from pre-vatican 2 days or learned from someone from pre-vatican 2.

My next question is how peer pressure plays into this. If I am at church where there are several respectable and very faithful people doing this I might be drawn to do this to. The only thing is I don’t understand why they are doing this.

The more people doing it, the more likely I may conform even though I have no clue.

So of all the people I see covering their faces, how many really know what they are doing? How much does peer pressure play into this?

My final thought is that communion is a community thing. We are a family at church are we not? :smiley: We all come to the altar to receive our Lord. When we cover our faces we are not living out the word communion, are we? Shouldn’t we be singing the communion song?

Pre-vatican 2 the congregation did not sing much, so it made sense to cover your face while communion went on because there was all this commotion to distract you. Now we have a song that is our prayer, hopefully is it is well selected, for the first part of our prayer. We sing as a community to our Lord.

We don’t need to cover our faces because that deep prayer is intended during the silence after communion that should be provided. There is not motion so covering hands as to not get distracted is mute.

Is there anything wrong with covering your hands, I would say not. As long as we remember that we are a community coming to our Lord. “We are one body, one body in Christ.”

:slight_smile:

Nobody is obliged to sing along with anything. Full active participation in the Mass consists of throwing yourself into the prayer of the Mass, not of any particular action. (Otherwise, mute and hoarse people would be excluded from full participation, wouldn’t they? And so would people who are paralyzed, or…)

Songs at Communion time are designed to be sung as an accompaniment to Communion (as an encouragement to people to pay close attention to the Real Presence) or as thanksgiving after Communion (as an encouragement to people to consider the importance of what has just occurred). People who are visibly busy praying and meditating, therefore, are doing exactly what the song is intended to get them to do. All the others are usually doing the same thing – just less visibly.

If I sing without meditating at the same time on the occasion for it – well, I am not doing anything wrong, but I am missing out.

Covering your face during prayer, at any time, is a beautiful and childlike action of faith. If people have any added rationale for what they’re doing, they are welcome to have it.

You don’t have to think about it one way or another, and frankly, it’s not your business. So if I were you, I wouldn’t worry about other people’s prayer postures. Worry about the posture of your heart and soul in God’s sight, if you have to worry. Which you don’t. :slight_smile:

And if other people are distracting you so much, feel free to keep your eyes strictly on the hymnal, close your eyes, or cover your face and pray. :slight_smile:

We live out the word communion to the fullest extent when we all receive the same Jesus in Holy Communion. Everything else, including posture and song, is only an outward expression of that communion. So in other words, even if we were all silent and covering our faces while praying to Jesus in secret, we would all be united in the most profound way for the precise reason of our unity with Jesus in the Eucharist. He is the reason for our communion.

Maria

I think you may taking something that is an aid in prayer and making it an act of piety. I don’t know if that gives perspective or not because I don’t understand the perspective that “peer pressure” or conformity is involved.

My final thought is that communion is a community thing. We are a family at church are we not? :smiley: We all come to the altar to receive our Lord. When we cover our faces we are not living out the word communion, are we? Shouldn’t we be singing the communion song?

Pre-vatican 2 the congregation did not sing much, so it made sense to cover your face while communion went on because there was all this commotion to distract you. Now we have a song that is our prayer, hopefully is it is well selected, for the first part of our prayer. We sing as a community to our Lord.

We don’t need to cover our faces because that deep prayer is intended during the silence after communion that should be provided. There is not motion so covering hands as to not get distracted is mute.

Is there anything wrong with covering your hands, I would say not. As long as we remember that we are a community coming to our Lord. “We are one body, one body in Christ.”

:slight_smile:

Regarding communion and community, MTD said it well in her post above.

I am not provided with silence after communion so in my situation I don’t think the point is moot. I should acknowledge that the time after communion is a touchy subject for me. This goes back to about 2002 (I think) when the diocesan liturgist visited parishes to instruct us on the “new” postures and gestures prescribed by the GIRM.

It was during this meeting that we were instructed that we would be standing through communion until the last person received (as a sign of “unity”). Sister made a comment about the time after Communion being “me-and-Jesus time” (rather condescendingly, I thought) when it should be a time of communion and community.

Unity schmunity. I’m keeping my “me-and-Jesus time” any way I can and if anyone has a problem with it they are cordially invited to step off.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.