Priests sitting down


So, I guess this is where this belongs.

I am just wondering if anyone else is noticing this. It seems more and more people are up and around the altar and the priest has less and less to do during mass. Many of the churches near me now have deacons and I think that is a very good thing but when you include lectors and extraordinary ministers and more the priest has less and less to do at mass and is sitting down more and more… I believe they are praying during this time but it appears as if they are appearing as though they are not too joyful over this. I don’t mean angry or sad but, maybe feeling the desire to be the one up there fullfilling this job.
I think our priests are great and are doing a wonderful job. I know how things get out of hand on this forum and posts get misunderstood, so I want to make sure people realize I am not putting down the priests or anyone else, and I am Catholic and loving it, I just wonder why priests are doing less and less at the altar and what impact it is having on the priest and those thinking of becoming a priest and has anyone else noticed this. :slight_smile:


There’s nothing wrong with the priest being seated when there’s a deacon to read the Gospel. Is your priest not distributing communion? That wouldn’t be right – priests first, then deacons, then extraordinary ministers.


I do not think they are doing less. The laity should never take on a role that is reserved for a priest. The priest should not be sitting when communion is being distributed unless he has a medical reason.


When exactly are they sitting down, OP?


We need to be careful about extrapolating our own observations to be indicative of some larger trend.

If a deacon is present, he’s supposed to be the one doing stuff while the priest sits down. That’s his role as spelled out in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal 171-186.


If there is a deacon it is his job to read the Gospel and prepare the cup (pour the wine and water), he can (not should) also preach the homily.

A lector/reader should be reading the OT reading and epistle. The cantor should be leading the responsorial psalm.

The priest should definately be distributing communion - even if there is a deacon and EMHCs.

However, the deacon can/should (not sure which) purify the vessels after communion and repose any consecrated hosts that remain.

So, the question to the OP is if the priest is sitting through communion. :confused:


This is close, if there are several priests and several deacons, as with a diocesan event, there will normally be deacons serving as Communion ministers with priests sitting. The deacon is normally the minister of the cup, so if there is a deacon and a priest left and only one station is left to fill it depends upon the species as to who SHOULD take that spot, deacon Blood & priest Body. Is this mandatory, no, but it is stated as such in the GIRM.

GIRM (I added this paragraph from the GIRM after posting.)
182. After the Priest’s Communion, the Deacon receives Communion under both kinds from the Priest himself and then assists the Priest in distributing Communion to the people. If Communion is given under both kinds, the Deacon himself administers the chalice to the communicants; and, when the distribution is over, standing at the altar, he immediately and reverently consumes all of the Blood of Christ that remains, assisted, if the case requires, by other Deacons and Priests.

And one more point on this, if the EMHC is not needed they should not serve.

The priest should stand during the proclamation of the gospel unless his health requires him to sit. Standing is the prescribed posture for the proclamation of the gospel.


I haven’t noticed the priests sitting any more than usual in the past 40 years. Like everyone says, they sit when they are supposed to, and stand when they are supposed to. And if there is no Deacon, they read the Gospel too. Ours never sit during Communion–they are distributing.

My poor Pastor, though cannot kneel or genuflect. He got down on his knees during the Mass of the Lord’s Supper to wash feet and could not get back up. The Deacons had to help him. He always makes a deep bow, though, during the parts where he should genuflect.


There is. Everyone should be standing for the Gospel.


I haven’t noticed it.


Wow, I am amazed. In the Episcopal Church, we stand for the Gospel. Don’t you Catholics do that anymore?

In my very small (building) parish, we have so little room behind the altar rail that we only have 3 or 4 people. Usually the priest and two Eucharistic ministers. Sometimes the priest and one other cleric (priest or deacon). We simply couldn’t have more than that.


Yes, we stand for the Gospel.


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