how do I receive Communion on the tongue?


Another stupid question I guess, but I need to ask because I haven’t received on the tongue for many years and the new parish I joined offers both by hands or on the tongue and I’d prefer to receive on the tongue. However, I’m scared to because, well, I don’t want to just stick my tongue out at the priest. I know how silly this question sounds but I’m really worried about receiving Communion on the tongue with dignity. (Plus part of all my troubles comes from anxiety from the mental illness I have…)

Any thoughts?

Your question is not stupid!

Nevertheless, that is what you do. Be not afraid. :hug3:

I was also taught to tip my head back slightly. How slightly depends upon the height of the priest.

As a side note, I have never heard of a parish that doesn’t allow COTT, which I understand to be the universal norm…?

Hi crenfro,

Aww, you’re not stupid, nor do you have a stupid question, either. No one should ever feel bad for anything they ask about.

Please try not to feel nervous about it. I am sure that you will be fine. :slight_smile:

I always try and receive on the tongue, too. That is my preference.

I do like UpUpandAway does, and just gently tip my head back to the height of the priest or Eucharist Minister, and open my mouth and gently put my tongue out for them.

You are not stupid at all!

They are right. Tip your head gently back, and gently put your tongue out (without closing your lips on it – the mouth is open) after saying “Amen”. In addition, I was taught to “dry my tongue and mouth out” before opening my mouth. You know what I mean. That way your tongue is not all wet with saliva. That is what I was taught. Sorry if it sounds . . . gross.

Luz Maria

I strongly encourage you in switching to receiving on the tongue. I switched about a year ago myself. When I receive I take my turn in line and instead of bowing fall to my knees and open my mouth and stick my tongue out. I find kneeling is more reverent, more traditional, and makes it easier for the minister of communion to give me the Body of the Lord. Ideally, the parish would provide an altar rail or at least a kneeler for those who desire to receive this way, but kneeling on the floor for a couple seconds really isn’t that uncomfortable.

God bless! :thumbsup:

There’s nothing to do but to do it. :stuck_out_tongue:

Try not to be too self conscious about it (which can be hard at first). You want to open your mouth wide enough and stick your tongue out far enough, without opening your mouth overly wide or sticking your tongue out overly far. :wink:

Really, though, when I was an EMHC, they always taught us that a dry host sticks remarkably well to a wet tongue. So there’s no need for the person distributing Communion to get the host all the way into your mouth. Once the host touches the tongue, the rest is pretty much automatic.

Priests are generally pretty adept at distributing Communion on the tongue. The EMHC’s can be hit or miss depending on the parish (some parishes don’t have many people receive that way and thus the EMHC has very little practice distributing that way). But priests know what they are doing.

I always go to a priest for my own reasons, but a good reason to do so is because they’re usually quite good at putting it on your tongue without getting their hand all up in there.

Not a stupid question at all!

I receive kneeling. Tilt your head back some (depends on your height and the height of the priest. Open your mouth wide enough to extend your tongue out a little beyond the lower lip, and then a bit more open (think like you’re trying to catch snowflakes on your tongue, looking up towards the sky, with your mouth open). The Host will stick very well to your tongue. It might be a bit awkward the first couple of times because you’re not sure how “open is open enough”, etc., so it’s okay to err on the side of caution and open up a bit more than you really think you need to.

Check out youtube to see if there’s any videos of First Holy Communions, weddings, etc. where you might watch someone receiving on the tongue.

I’m so glad this thread is here. I recently began receiving on the tongue after the birth of my second child, more because my hands are simply too full than because of a preference. I have been uncomfortable at times because the EMHC’s in my parish seem deeply uncomfortable with doing this. I have taken to going in the line with our pastor and that has resolved the issue. I just wanted to throw that into the mix here so that you don’t feel alone, OP.

As a side note, I have found receiving on the tongue to genuinely feel more reverent, even though that was not my initial cause for making the change. :thumbsup:

As a double side note, I still think receiving with one’s hands is perfectly reverent and equally acceptable. I had to put that out there also. :slight_smile:

I was taught to close my eyes in addition to what everyone else has said (mouth wide open, tongue out just past lip). I think it makes the priest slightly uncomfortable to be staring at him, it also helps to have your eyes closed because you won’t be trying to adjust your head, which will probably just make it harder for the priest.

So glad you going to receive our Lord as he wants you to :thumbsup:

Just open your mouth, no need to let your tongue out, if you touch the priest hand with your lips or teethes don’t worry about it, they are used to that.

Mother Teresa addressed this topic specifically of receiving Communion in the hand.

As reported by Fr. George Rutler in his Good Friday sermon at St. Agnes Church, New York in 1989, when Mother Teresa of Calcutta was asked by Fr. Rutler, “What do you think is the worst problem in the world today?”

She more than anyone could name any number of candidates: famine, plague, disease, the breakdown of the family, rebellion against God, the corruption of the media, world debt, nuclear threat and so on. “Without pausing a second she said, ‘Wherever I go in the whole world, the thing that makes me the saddest is watching people receive Communion in the hand.’”

(note: Fr. Emerson of the Fraternity of St. Peter was also a witness to this statement by Mother Teresa).

Edit: Also remember the Eucharistical fasting. 1 hour.

When the Eucharist was instituted, I don’t recall Jesus telling the apostles he wants them to receive on the tongue or in the hand.:shrug:

Let’s see, how do I do this?

Ummmm…I bow slowly then I come up and take two steps forward then say “Amen!” and open my mouth and try no to stick my tongue out too far for the EMOHC or the Priest may get the wrong idea! Then hurry back to my pew so I can have some alone time with my Jesus! Some time it seems like it’s been so long since I’ve last “seen” Him this way I can’t wait to start “talking.” Oh dear! We had a lovely “conversation” just this morning.

Good luck. Piety is a gift from the Holy Spirit and to receive Him on the tongue is a change for the better if you ask me. But that is just my opinion and opinions are like belly buttons - we all have one!


The Catholic Church is based on 2 things: The Holy Bible and the Holy Tradition, derived from the Bible. This is a dogma.

Aren’t you aware that in that little white circle, God is present? Dont be tricked by the senses, we are not worthy of touching the Lord with our hands.

Do you really think that Jesus, God-Incarnate, wants us to treat Him as the lepers of Jesus’s day were treated?

Jesus said, “I call you friend”, why don’t we believe Him?

This makes no sense. You don’t touch the Lord because you’re not worthy, not because you think he’s disgusting and unclean. We’re not even worthy to receive him in Communion, let alone touch him!

Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord, Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but let it, through Thy mercy, become a safeguard and remedy, both for soul and body; Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

The only people who are consecrated to touch the Lord are the priests. In the EF the priest makes sure to never even separate his fingers after consecration unless over something that will catch the particles. This was always a big deal for centuries upon centuries. Today, lay people put the Lord in their hand and flip him up into their mouth like it doesn’t matter. We’ve had way too many topics on this point to even want to argue with it.

On a side note, I went to an EF Mass yesterday, there was a person who must have been going to her first EF Mass. She kneels for Communion and puts her hands up. The priest puts it in front of her mouth until she complies and then she takes it on her tongue. I had a slight bit of satisfaction seeing this as wrong as that is.

I agree with Green.

This is a respect, worthy matter.

Just as John said:

“He is the one who comes after me, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.”
John 1:27

This supposed opinion from Blessed Mother Teresa was much quoted a few years ago on these boards.

Then somebody pointed out that her order’s own website had a disclaimer, saying that she said no such thing.

I don’t know whether the website still contains this disclaimer.

I was relieved when they pointed out that she did not say this, as given the miseries she must have seen in her work, it seemed extraordinarily hardhearted.

exactly my thought:o having been Catholic for a fraction of my life I have never witnessed anyone receiving the Eucharist on the tongue.I feel like I am not missing out on much? if one is faithful does it really matter?

Right you are:

As someone who’s associated part-time with the local Missionaries of Charity, I knew this quote was bogus from the moment I saw it. :wink:

But this sort of thing is common. A Catholic school in the town I now live in has the Prayer of St. Francis painted on its walls (“LORD, make me an instrument of your peace…”), and attributed to Mother Teresa. :stuck_out_tongue:

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