Do you stand or kneel after Communion?


It seems that different churches in the same diocese do things differently. Some kneel or stand in unison.

Wouldn’t it be uniform if all churches in the same diocese do or perform gestures during Mass (such as the one mentioned) in like fashion?

thanks in advance.


In every single parish that I have been to that has kneelers, the congregation kneels after receiving Communion.



  1. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the priest approaches the altar, until the end of the collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below.

They should, however, sit while the readings before the Gospel and the responsorial Psalm are proclaimed and for the homily and while the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory is taking place; and, as circumstances allow,** they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.**

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.[53]

With a view to a uniformity in gestures and postures during one and the same celebration, the faithful should follow the directions which the deacon, lay minister, or priest gives according to whatever is indicated in the Missal.


Thistle, exactly what I was looking for.


As far as uniformity, that cannot be mandated. The US bishops requested clarification from the Vatican regarding that

5 June 2003

Prot. n. 855/03/L

Dubium: In many places, the faithful are accustomed to kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places after individually received Holy Communion during Mass. Is it the intention of the Missale Romanum, editio typica tertia, to forbid this practice?

Responsum: Negative, et ad mentem. The mens is that that the prescription of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, no. 43, is intended, on one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, and on the other,** to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free**.

Francis Cardinal Arinze


Here is a little history of what happened in our Archdiocese. Following the Implementation of Redemptionis Sacramentum, which corrected many liturgical abuses, The Archdiocese of Seattle was one of the diocese in which the bishop determined, as was his right stated in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, that we were to remain standing after the Agnus Dei, and to remain standing until everyone had received Communion. However, as** Brendan** has quoted, someone in another diocese had written to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments ( CDWDS ) asking for clarification regarding coming back from Communion. Prot. n. 855/03/L mentions the intent coming from the G.I.R.M. is to ensure a certain uniformity of posture,* and on the other, “** to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free**.” *

By the time the changes coming from Redemptionis Sacramentum were being implemented in our Archdiocese, the only thing that we had to do in our parish was to change our posture to remain standing after the Angus Dei. This posture change just happened to occur at the same time the corrections were being made. And because we were made aware that the posture coming back from Communion was not rigidly set, standing was never encouraged by our pastor, in our parish. I have heard that there are some parishes in which the people do stand when coming back from Communion. I think it is appropriate to assume the posture of parish that you happen to be attending Mass in, while also noting that you do have a choice of what posture to use. I can see where this could be awkward when visiting a parish where the posture is different.


The default posture is standing. It’s been that way since 1975 but nobody seems to have noticed until the 2002 GIRM started to circulate and then the question was posed to the CDW as to whether that meant that those who knelt could no longer do so. The response was that the postured adopted was up to the person. It can’t be dictated to the community.

Sometimes I stand and sing the Communion hymn, sometimes I kneel.


FYI, the other person was Cardinal George of Chicago, then Chairman of the USSCB Committee on the Liturgy on behalf of the US Bishops. So he was writing in the name of all the US Bishops.


[quote=Phemie;11503863**]The default posture is standing

. It’s been that way since 1975 but nobody seems to have noticed until the 2002 GIRM started to circulate and then the question was posed to the CDW as to whether that meant that those who knelt could no longer do so. The response was that the postured adopted was up to the person. It can’t be dictated to the community.

Sometimes I stand and sing the Communion hymn, sometimes I kneel.

I would like to know the source of your statement.


In every parish that I’ve visited in the local diocese, the vast majority of people kneel after communion and a few sit. My mother-in-law lives in a neighboring diocese, in which the Bishop has asked everyone to remain standing after communion. It feels awkward to not kneel at this point in Mass, even though I’m used to standing after communion in the Divine liturgy.


That request should be viewed in the light of you being free to kneel or sit if desire to.


Our diosese asks that we stand to show us as one but everything in me cries to kneel!


So do so. Don’t presume that your pastor or bishop has any objection to Church teaching on the subject.

Remember, you are supposed to feel free to chose to stand, sit or kneel as you wish.

If you do not feel free, then one of the following would be true

  1. That you misunderstand what is being asked of you
  2. That the person making the request IS, in reality, violating Church teaching, either knowingly or unknowingly.


The GIRM. The posture was standing only since 1975, even if it was ignored by most parishes. It remained standing in the 2002 GIRM until Cardinal George submitted the dubium asking if that meant that kneeling was forbidden. Until then nobody had even thought to ask the question.

The answer was as posted above, that although the posture was standing it wasn’t to be so rigidly enforced that those who wanted to kneel, or sit, couldn’t do so.

The universal GIRM has standing as the posture for all of Mass except the first two readings and the homily when we are to sit and the consecration when we are to kneel, but adds that after Communion we are free to also sit or kneel. It also adds that in parishes where it has been the norm to kneel for all of the Eucharistic Prayer and after the Agnus Dei until Communion it is laudable to do so.

The US has an adaptation that says that the posture for the entire Eucharistic Prayer is kneeling as is the posture after the Agnus Dei, unless the local bishops requests that all stand after the Agnus Dei.


How interesting. Thank you for the information. I found on line the 1975 GIRM

  1. For the sake of uniformity in movement and posture, the people should follow the directions given during the celebration by the deacon, the priest, or another minister. Unless other provision is made, at every Mass the people should stand from the beginning of the entrance song or when the priest enters until the end of the opening prayer or collect; for the singing of the Alleluia before the gospel; while the gospel is proclaimed; during the profession of faith and the general intercessions; from the prayer over the gifts to the end of the Mass, except at the places indicated later in this paragraph. They should sit during the readings before the gospel and during the responsorial psalm, for the homily and the presentation of the gifts, and, if this seems helpful, during the period of silence after communion. They should kneel at the consecration unless prevented by the lack of space, the number of people present, or some other good reason.

I believe the kneeling from the Holy Holy Holy until after the great amen was in indult to the US but I could be wrong on that. If I am reading it right after communion sitting was deemed appropriate if it was helpful. I don’t understand what that meant. :shrug:


Not so much an indult as an adaptation approved by Rome. Posture is one of the things that can be decided by the national Conference of Bishops, with approval from Rome. From 1975 until the late 90s all the US had to kneel for the entire EP. Then at some point the USCCB decided to leave it up to the bishops of the various dioceses to decide what the posture during the EP would be for their own dioceses.

Canada’s CCCB, OTOH, did not seek any adaptations to the 1975 GIRM. Our GIRM still said to kneel for the Consecration, but that was the only kneeling mentioned in it. Some parishes did just that, kneeling after the Epiclesis and standing for the Memorial Acclamation. Others knelt for all the EP and others didn’t kneel at all.

As for the mention of sitting after Communion in the 1975 document, I have always taken it to mean the period after the singing of the Communion hymn, when the priest is often sitting in the presidential chair for a moment of silence before starting the Prayer after Communion.


This sounds about right . I still wonder about the helpful part.


In the US, kneeling for the entire Eucharistic Prayer is still required. We kneel after the Sanctus and rise after the Great Amen. That encompasses the entire prayer. The only part left up to the individual bishops is whether or not to kneel after the Lamb of God. The Eucharistic Prayer has concluded at this ponit.


Yes, but that is based on the 2002 GIRM. For several years before the 2002 GIRM came into effect each bishop was free to choose the posture at that time for his diocese.


What happened in the late 90s to allow each bishop to decide? The 1975 GIRM required kneeling for the entire prayer. The 2002 GIRM requires kneeling for the entire prayer. Was there some other document in the interim?

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