Proper gestures when in the church outside of mass?


#1

If one is in the church for a reason other than a Mass, what is the proper actions to take to show reverence for the sacrament in the tabernacle?


#2

[quote="DarkLight, post:1, topic:302193"]
If one is in the church for a reason other than a Mass, what is the proper actions to take to show reverence for the sacrament in the tabernacle?

[/quote]

When entering the Church before sitting in the pew one should genuflect towards the tabernacle.

If the tabernacle is in a side chapel then one should bow to the altar.

When passing in front of the altar one should bow to it, when passing in front of the tabernacle one should genuflect to it.

If one has a condition, such as bad knees, they may substitute a bow for a genuflection.


#3

I always kneel and make the sign of the cross when I walk in front of the tabernacle. I will occasionally go into the church just to spend time with our King. (not necessarily exposed in perpetual adoration).


#4

[quote="Friar_David_O.Carm, post:2, topic:302193"]
When entering the Church before sitting in the pew one should genuflect towards the tabernacle.

If the tabernacle is in a side chapel then one should bow to the altar.

When passing in front of the altar one should bow to it, when passing in front of the tabernacle one should genuflect to it.

If one has a condition, such as bad knees, they may substitute a bow for a genuflection.

[/quote]

I feel like the genuflection before entering the pew could be seen as rude or inappropriate in some cases, particularly in cases where a number of people are trying to enter or exit. Especially with those who might not expect the gesture and could trip. Would it be appropriate to go up by the tabernacle and genuflect, then return to the pew? That would prevent any accidents or confusion.

Our church sometimes has concerts and the like in the church proper, which is why I was asking.


#5

[quote="DarkLight, post:4, topic:302193"]
I feel like the genuflection before entering the pew could be seen as rude or inappropriate in some cases, particularly in cases where a number of people are trying to enter or exit. Especially with those who might not expect the gesture and could trip. Would it be appropriate to go up by the tabernacle and genuflect, then return to the pew? That would prevent any accidents or confusion.

Our church sometimes has concerts and the like in the church proper, which is why I was asking.

[/quote]

I always look for the sanctuary light before genuflecting, but if Christ is present in the tabernacle I'd rather be rude to someone following too close than to the Lord.

I know one parish where they would occasionally have interdenominational concerts would actually move the altar and repose the sacrament in a chapel away from the nave just to avoid issues of those that would be confused by someone genuflecting. If its primarily Catholics then they shouldn't be caught unaware and should expect people to genuflect upon entering or exiting the pew.


#6

[quote="DarkLight, post:4, topic:302193"]
I feel like the genuflection before entering the pew could be seen as rude or inappropriate in some cases, particularly in cases where a number of people are trying to enter or exit. Especially with those who might not expect the gesture and could trip. Would it be appropriate to go up by the tabernacle and genuflect, then return to the pew? That would prevent any accidents or confusion.

Our church sometimes has concerts and the like in the church proper, which is why I was asking.

[/quote]

You could do so but how can it be rude or inappropriate to act as a Catholic in a Catholic Church building?

Those who would take any sort of offense at the Catholic actions in a Catholic Church building are the ones who would be in the wrong, not the person doing so.


#7

I'm the music director at my church and I've pondered this question a lot since I started in my position 6 months ago.

Due to the configuration of the sanctuary, I find myself crossing back and forth a few times before Mass while I put up the numbers for the music, check the candles, etc. Though I do genuflect in front of the tabernacle and bow at the altar, I've wondered if it's excessive action on my part.

I've found that even for those brief moments, I have to stop what I'm doing for the genuflection/bow and that has at least the chance of giving me a few seconds to quiet myself and pray.


#8

[quote="Friar_David_O.Carm, post:6, topic:302193"]
You could do so but how can it be rude or inappropriate to act as a Catholic in a Catholic Church building?

Those who would take any sort of offense at the Catholic actions in a Catholic Church building are the ones who would be in the wrong, not the person doing so.

[/quote]

I'm not really worried about those taking offense. What I'm more worried about is those who might not be expecting the gesture, particularly since we have a lot of elderly folk at such events. I worry that it might cause someone to trip! I also don't want to come off as being too "showy" - I guess personal boundaries vary here, but I tend to be extra careful since I used to be the real holier-than-thou, gotta show off how spiritual I am, type.


#9

Is it OK if I add a second question to the OP's question? A lot of Churches in my area have what we Brits call a "porch", or ante-room, than you walk through before entering the main body of the Church. (Not sure if you call it this or something different in the US.) I've noticed that most people I know don't act as though they're "in Church" as they pass through this porch/ante-room, but a few do - they will keep talking to a minimum, genuflect to the tabernacle, etc. I've even heard of a priest - in a Church where the sacristy/vestry was behind the High Altar - who would even genuflect in the sacristy when he passed the Tabernacle on the other side of the dividing wall between sacristy and Church. Just interested in hearing other people's views or opinions? Do you do the same?


#10

[quote="DarkLight, post:1, topic:302193"]
If one is in the church for a reason other than a Mass, what is the proper actions to take to show reverence for the sacrament in the tabernacle?

[/quote]

Genuflect to the tabernacle. Bow if a disability prevents you from genuflecting.

Bow to altars and crucifixes. After the Liturgy of the Passion on Good Friday until just before the Paschal Vigil, we should genuflect to a crucifix.

I do not know whether this is a requirment: I bow to statues, especially those of our Lord or our Lady.


#11

First off, on the topic, two-kneed genuflecting. When going to adoration, it's polite (although I don't think it's required, feel free to correct me) to genuflect on both knees.

Also, just remember that Jesus lives in the Tabernacle. We don't genuflect because we're going to Mass; we genuflect out of respect for the Real Presence of Christ. An odd story with that– Once I went to my cousin's Protestant confirmation. Protestants don't believe in transubstantiation, so there's no need for a Tabernacle and we don't need to genuflect. However, their church was going through hard financial times and the building was bought by a Chaldean Catholic church. Catholic. They're in full communion with Rome, so we both agree Jesus is in that Tabernacle they added, and I genuflected because of it.


#12

Darklight, you can genuflect at the tabernacle and then return to your pew. Or genuflect upon entering the nave (church proper, not narthex/foyer) and then proceed to your seat.

I expect you'll find that plenty of other people are genuflecting when entering their pews and that everyone is accustomed to that.

Are the concerts open to the public and attended by many non-Catholics? In that case, you are right that some may be suprised, but you shouldn't feel 'show-offy' when making a normal Catholic gesture, as a Catholic, in a Catholic church.

You can also check with your priest or the parish office to find out in the Blessed Sacrament is moved during these concerts - which may be the case if many non-Catholic are present.


#13

[quote="Mrs_Sally, post:12, topic:302193"]
Darklight, you can genuflect at the tabernacle and then return to your pew. Or genuflect upon entering the nave (church proper, not narthex/foyer) and then proceed to your seat.

I expect you'll find that plenty of other people are genuflecting when entering their pews and that everyone is accustomed to that.

Are the concerts open to the public and attended by many non-Catholics? In that case, you are right that some may be suprised, but you shouldn't feel 'show-offy' when making a normal Catholic gesture, as a Catholic, in a Catholic church.

You can also check with your priest or the parish office to find out in the Blessed Sacrament is moved during these concerts - which may be the case if many non-Catholic are present.

[/quote]

They are open to the public - I don't know what the Catholic/non-Catholic ratio is, but I have never seen anyone genuflect at them, and I know the tabernacle candle was lit. Then again given the typical attendees I'm not sure how many of them could genuflect.


#14

[quote="Razanir, post:11, topic:302193"]
First off, on the topic, two-kneed genuflecting. When going to adoration, it's polite (although I don't think it's required, feel free to correct me) to genuflect on both knees.

[/quote]

It is my understanding that genuflecting on two knees used to be the norm in the U.S., but that norm has since changed -- a genuflection on one knee is the norm. (At the moment, I don't have the document that states this, though.) This doesn't mean that a genuflection on two knees is inappropriate or forbidden, though. But, on the other hand, it doesn't mean that such a genuflection is 'polite' (and, by implication, that a genuflection on one knee is 'impolite'), either...


#15

[quote="Razanir, post:11, topic:302193"]
First off, on the topic, two-kneed genuflecting. When going to adoration, it's polite (although I don't think it's required, feel free to correct me) to genuflect on both knees.

[/quote]

The double genuflection was required before the exposed Blessed Sacrament in the past. Nowadays it is not required; however, it is not prohibited. You may still see older people doing it.


#16

And me, who just went to adoration for the first time in April


#17

[quote="Razanir, post:16, topic:302193"]
And me, who just went to adoration for the first time in April

[/quote]

Me as well, at the old age of 22 :)


#18

I never understand why people have to pick on the most minor details. For what it’s worth I do the double genuflection, too. That doesn’t alter the fact that it’s more common among the older generation.


#19

I have genuflected to altars in churches under construction. Propreity must be observed :)


#20

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