Just wondering who they are and why?

At communion, there are always a group of women who appear from the back of the church and line up for communion first, and only once they’ve taken communion, and gone back to the back of the church, (I presume, I’m always facing forward) does everyone else start queuing up. Who are they, and what is the reason they go first? Don’t have a problem with it just curious.

without knowing the layout of your church it is hard to speculate, are they choir members?

Hi mccloud,

My parish church has a choir loft. The members of the choir come down and receive Holy Communion first. When the last choir member passes the first pew, the one that is closest to the sanctuary, the people in the first pew step out into the Communion line and the rest of us follow.

Also, my parish has several Masses on Sunday, but the choir sings only at the 10:30 AM Mass. The organist plays at all of the Masses; he receives Communion at the first Mass, so he continues to play while the choir is receiving Communion. The choir then goes back to the loft and sings the Communion hymn (usually a Latin hymn! :)).

The fact that the organist is playing while the choir receives Communion can cause people who are not familiar with our parish to wonder who are these people who receive Communion first.

Even if your parish does not have an actual choir loft, if the choir is in the back of the church, then the people receiving Communion first could be the members of the choir.


They could be nuns too (not all nuns wear habits).

The nuns at our church (when I was a kid) used to take communion first but they sat in the first row or two of the pews at the front of the church.

Actually, the Communion antiphon, or, in the case of most parishes, the hymn, should begin the moment the celebrant consumes the Body of Christ. This is according to the GIRM. Thus, the choir should either split up, where half receive first and the rest last, or wait until later. The singing must occur at the point of the priest’s reception.

Well, if you attend my church, I could tell you that it’s the choir. We have an all-women group but a male director/pseudo-cantor. He remains in the choir loft and chants the Communion antiphon (this is a Tridentine Mass) while we go downstairs and kneel at the Communion rail before the congregation does so that we receive first. This allows us to get back upstairs and sing while y’all are receiving the Eucharist. :wink: \

(I should add that our director cantors at another church, and so has already attended 3-4 Masses by the time he gets to ours; ergo, yes, he has received already.)

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