Proper behavior after Communion has been served

When should one sit after Holy Communion? After the ciborium (?) is placed in the tabernacle and the door is closed? or when the celebrant sits? Or do you kneel until the celebrant says the Prayers after Mass?

I don’t think it matters. My personal custom is to remain kneeling until the celebrant stands for the final prayer, at which point I also stand. But I know lots of people who kneel only as long as it takes them to pray their post-communion prayers, and then they sit and wait for the celebrant to stand.

When asked this question, Francis Cardinal Arinze, the former Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (the Holy See’s Curial office that oversees the liturgy), he had this to say:

So, after people have received Communion, they can stand, they can kneel, they can sit. But a bishop in his diocese or bishops in a country could say that they recommend standing or kneeling. They could. It is not a law from Rome. They could – but not impose it. Perhaps they could propose. But those who want to sit or kneel or stand should be left reasonable freedom.

The usual posture is to kneel for a reasonable amount of time. Some remain kneeling after the Tabernacle door has been closed. Others will sit when the celebrant sit, although, there are times when, after he replaces the ciborrium into the Tabernacle, the celebrant will launch into the post-Communion prayer.

I usually follow the lead of the priest. When he sits, I sit.

After I return to my pew, I kneel in prayer until the remaining Hosts are placed in the tabernacle and it is closed. Then I sit.

I agree with you Japhy. :thumbsup: I find it more respectful while host is out to remain kneeling.

I thought after one receives Communion, one should run out the door as quick as possible??? (just kidding).

I too am with Japhy and LadyFerg, kneel until the Host has been put in the tabernacle, then sit. The priest at my church stands until the Host is put back in the tabernacle and then sits.

Thats what most of us here do too.

I kneel usually until the priest sits. If the priest doesn’t personally put the ciborium back in the Tabernacle and sits before this is done, then I keep kneeling.

In our diocese, the norm is to remain standing after the Agnus Dei. At our parish, most people generally interpret this to mean that, in the absence of infirmity, they remain standing until the last person has received Holy Communion, and only then kneel or sit. A few people remain standing until the tabernacle door closes. At other parishes nearby, people remain standing only until they personally have received, and then kneel or sit when they return to their pew. Some also go from kneeling to sitting immediately after the tabernacle is closed.

I think Cardinal Arinze made it clear that even a bishop could only propose a preferred posture. There is no reason to say that there is anything wrong with any of the three postures, and he left no pretext open for inventing one. I don’t think there is much excuse for taking a posture that one finds less prayerful than another that is available, but which of the three postures one finds most suitable for the prayer demanded by that moment will depend on the person, IMHO. It is like wondering whether we “should” have our eyes open or closed. It just depends.

There are no “shoulds” prescribed by the Church, so it’s purely a matter of personal/local preference.


However, is not the norm in the United States to kneel after the Agnus Dei? Thus, the bishop could propose, but the norm for kneeling should be followed.

My old Paulist parish tried to keep us standing. I refused because I believed (and still do) that there is a purpose for kneeling. Pope Benedict’s writing on the subject clearly affirmed what I held (and still maintain).

I am curious now that Cardinal Arinze has been replaced (and, don’t get me wrong, I like him very much), if the new Prefect, Cardinal Loera, will take a harder stance. He has already been affirming Pope Benedict’s preferred posture for receiving Holy Communion at Masses the Holy Father celebrates.

Hey, bennegal! Just replied to your message.
How are you?:smiley:

I have always thought we as Americans generally do not give the Eucharist all the respect He deserves. I believe we should stand while waiting to recieve, and be allowed to kneel afterward. Many churches like mine have taken out their kneelers, and that is unfortunate. Blessings to all!

The US edition of the GIRM gives Bishops the permission to dispense from the norm: “The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.” (GIRM 43)

The Bishop cannot control our posture after Communion, but the Bishop does appear to have the authority to determine our posture after the Agnus Dei. I don’t know if this is another one of those “the universal norm is X, the local norm is Y but only if X is still permitted” situations.

Thanks for the clarification. It is a shame, though, that there are some who would want us to stand, rather than kneel during the Agnus Dei. :shrug:

My understanding is that the posture after the Agnus Dei is indeed determined by the bishop; that is, if he determines standing to be the norm, then kneeling is not permitted unless reasons exist to make an exception for a particular individual or congregation.

When the reasons really are valid and the exception is equally reverent–as kneeling after the Agnus Dei clearly is–I don’t see our archbishop objecting to that. Yes, he cares whether people follow the norms, but he has too many real abuses to contend with to try to squeeze fish into the pan that don’t urgently need frying. If we had some big bunch of people in our parish kneeling after the Agnus Dei, I would leave that to our pastor…assuming that this was not some weird campaign of rebellion someone was spearheading. I would not dream of contacting the archbishop about it otherwise. I fully believe he would thank me for that, just as he would thank me for notifying him of a violation of norm not being addressed by our pastor that was a really abusive of the Mass.

With all due respect to your sense of piety, which I do admire, I must object to this statement. Even though your comment is clearly well-meant, I believe it does more harm than good. The word “shame” does not apply here, and is out of place.

Though you may not understand Archbishop Vlazny’s thinking on the matter, please defer to it fully, out of respect for his episcopal office. It is better that we submit to the archbishop’s directions as to how our liturgies should be conducted in his archdiocese than to your opinions on the matter. He is the chief liturgist for our archdiocese, and no one else. He is within the authority given to him by God and recognized by the Holy See. Please do not encourage us or anyone else to adopt an attitude towards his rightful authority that is even remotely rebellious or judgemental, when it is humble obedience that is called for.

It is customary in my parish to kneel until it’s your pew’s turn to get in line and to remain kneeling after Communion until the priest sits down.

I usually kneel until my knees start to hurt too much.

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