Kneeling and Holy Communion

In my Church, all but a couple of people receive Holy Communion standing. Recently, I’ve been thinking about kneeling to receive the Body of Christ, but is it normal or acceptable to kneel to receive the Blood of Christ aswell? I’m currently genuflecting before both.

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It is both normal and acceptable. More normal in some places than in others but always acceptable. As is receiving on the tongue.


As the previous poster said, the previous poster said, perfectly acceptable.

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While you do have the right to receive the Precious Blood kneeling, please think from a practical standpoint whether this is going to create a risk of the chalice spilling, especially if you’re trying to kneel down in a line rather than kneeling on a kneeler at some place designated for people to kneel.

You might ask your parish priest if a kneeler could be placed for people who want to receive in this way. Might make things a little easier. It reduces the distance that the chalice has to be “handed down” and also provides some leverage for your arms to balance on the top of the kneeler while you are trying to kneel while holding the chalice.

I don’t trust my own balance to kneel on the floor with no support (no kneeler, no rail) and manage a heavy chalice in my hands. I am afraid I would wobble over or spill or have some other mishap.


That’s a good point. I never consider the Precious Blood for communion. So much so I didn’t even notice it in the question.

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MiserereMeiDei and maryjk, that’s good to know, and yes I forgot to include that I do receive on the tongue.

Tis_Bearself, thank you for the reply. I had briefly given thought to the possible risk of the Chalice spilling - it’s a bit awkward because the lay member is standing on a step and so it would involve them having to bend and reach down, whilst I would be reaching up. Also, parishioners who choose not to receive the Blood of Christ would be passing by behind me; I personally think that if I were kneeling, there would be enough space between my legs and feet and the front pew for people to walk by, but it could still be a hazard I suppose. I’ll mention the issue to my Priest as you suggested.


You have the right to kneel and receive on the tongue. However, as others have said it may not be the best idea. There has been mention of the Precious Blood being spilt. There are other dangers, too. At our church the majority of the congregation are elderly. They also tend to push right up behind the person in front. If I suddenly knelt when I got to the front of the queue I can see myself being responsible for an elderly person tripping right over me and having a nasty fall.

Perhaps a word with the priest and about arranging something for those who want to kneel and when that’s arranged for it to be announced. That way the ministers of Holy Communion aren’t momentarily perplexed when the communicant in front of them drops to their knees and those in the queue don’t fall over someone they expected to remain upright.

I’d like to kneel but don’t think it practical and content myself with the knowledge it is what the Church permits. I do, however, receive on the tongue. When we recently got a new priest I introduced myself and told him that’s how I prefer to receive. I didn’t want to give him any surprises when I first went up for Communion.

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TomH1, thank you for raising valid considerations. The last thing I want to do is cause an accident for a fellow parishioner. I’m also conscious that by kneeling, I may cause some kind of offence to others within the majority of the parish who don’t kneel - they might think I’m making a pretence at holiness or something. Probably what’s important for anyone who either stands or kneels is that they try to receive Holy Communion with utmost reverence - kneeling gives a physical sign of that, but I guess you can still be completely reverent whilst standing to receive if you have the right interior disposition. I’ll pray about it and then put the situation to the Priest and see what he says.

Re-purposing my post about ‘last in line’ from a recent thread:

As you’ve mentioned, you should talk to your priest about it; he may well have direction for you. This topic has come up a lot over the years here and I can remember some people saying that their priest preferred that they be last in line if kneeling, to avoid collisions. I have noticed that some of the people in the cathedral in my town specifically set themselves up to be last in line so they can kneel.

This is a pretty polarizing topic and I’m guessing each priest has a different take and how they’d like to best accommodate it.

Recent thread:

I was actually going to mention being careful about those behind you.

It isn’t generally a problem for those that kneel. But for those that genuflect, they tend to drop down, without stepping forward. And they do it before they reach the priest. Even if someone isn’t right behind you, putting your leg back could cause problems.

I definitely don’t stand right behind someone, but twice I’ve had people shoot their leg between mine and cause me to stumble. Once I would have gone down but my son was behind me to catch me.

So if you are going to genuflect or kneel, make sure to step foward.

On the rare occasion I attend parishes where kneeling is not the norm, I try to be last in line to avoid this problem. Works out every time.

That’s not really a problem though. You are there to receive our Lord and giving reverence to Him. Their opinions are their problem. I speak as one having had the same concern in the past. Further, kneeling can inspire others to reconsider standing. Outward signs of devotion are important too.


I would suggest kneeling when receiving the Host, and then don’t receive the Precious Blood, for reasons already cited here. Also watch what the others who already kneel do when receiving.


We have a Polish mass late Saturday evening and they use a kneeler that everyone must use and the dish under the neck.

I see a couple of older people at my Mass kneel, there isn’t a huge amount of room when two are giving the Body of Christ.

Yes, of course, we can.

The way I think it is Eastern (Catholic and Orthodox) Christians do not kneel for Communion. In fact, they kneel very little. They are certainly very reverent.

I only bow before Holy Communion when at the Novus Ordo Mass, but I see and respect a few people who kneel.
I kneel when it’s a Latin Mass. (At the Latin Mass’ Communion kneeler, there is no other option.)

In my diocese, the faithful have been told to bow before receiving Holy Communion. In my parish, people make the act of reverence while the person ahead is receiving the Sacred Host. I love the new rule.

I would talk to your priest about kneeling. I too genuflect when at NO Mass, but have at times been bumped forward by the person behind me (wasn’t a gentle bump forward either - most unholy experience stumbling forward to receive Our Lord). Depending on how situational aware the person behind you is; will depend on your experience with receiving communion .

In my case at NO Mass I wouldn’t knee because knowing my luck my legs would be stood on or tripped and go splat on the floor - which is even worse! If you go with your family and the priest is okay with you kneeling for communion then perhaps have your family member behind you so that your are protected from others.

Kinda funny to write and read but not funny at the time and a little while after.

Thank you for all the replies to my thread. I havn’t been on Catholic forums for a few days so just had a chance to read them.

Wampa - Thanks for the link. Setting oneself as last in line could be a good idea, but in my experience the Chalice containing the Blood of Christ has usually run dry by that time.

maryjk - You’re right about the possible dangers of genuflecting - I have been stepping forward as I’m aware that parishioners tend to stand close behind in line.

MiserereMeiDei - Thank you for the encouraging words!

OldCAFMember - That’s one idea but I really desire to receive the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ aswell.

Gripper - A kneeler and a dish - good to know there are Churches who practice this kind of reverence to our Lord.

TomH1 - Yes, I suppose it’s what’s in your heart as you receive that’s most important.

1cthlctrth - That’s interesting. I’m going to pray about whether I should also ask my Parish Priest if he could conduct a Latin Mass sometime.

njlisa - Yes, I’ve seen some people bow before receiving Holy Communion aswell.

TheHolyTrinity - Sorry to hear you’ve been bumped into when genuflecting before receiving Our Lord, hope it doesn’t happen again. That’s a very good idea about having a family member behind you.

Thank you again for the replies. Much food for thought. May God bless you all.

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I don’t like doing that. I would feel like I am bowing to the person in front of me, or bowing just to “get it over with.” :confused: I bow when it is my turn, it literally only takes a couple of seconds. :slightly_smiling_face:


I bow before I get up there because otherwise there is a good chance my head will collide with the priest’s or EMHC’s hand holding the host or the cup. Some of them will be reaching out to you and not expecting a bow. Better to do it while one is well back.

I can’t help but feel that this whole “stand up and receive in a line” thing was not well thought out. The communion rail was much more foolproof. Nobody accidentally colliding with the priest, or each other. Everybody at relatively the same height. Nobody moving around, people weren’t all doing different things like bowing at different moments or some kneeling down, some standing up, some putting out their tongue, some holding out their hand. Everybody did the same thing and the priest just went up and down the row.

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