Proper ways to receive Communion

If I have been informed correctly the proper ways allowed to receive communion are standing in hand, standing on tongue, and kneeling/tongue. My priest during sermon the other day was going over these and stating that the preferred was kneeling, then tongue, then in hand. I’m just wondering if this is his opinion(which I actually agree with) or is there a statement or something from the Pope stating such? I’ve always had the desire to kneel since my first Holy COmmunion when I was little an have been blessed to be apart of a parish that encourages it and now in my early 30’s have just begun so and I cannot tell you how just starting to have more reverence to the Eucharist has brought me so much closer to our Lord these last few years. But I have had a few bad experiences with Priests in other parishes and so have actually stopped doing it elsewhere so this subject hits a cord with me and since the Priest brought it up the other day has put it in my mind again.

Receiving on the tongue is the ordinary means. Receiving on the hand is permitted in many countries.

You haven’t filled in your location so I don’t know what country you’re in. Since the bishops of a country have a say in this matter it makes a difference.

In the US, the GIRM says:

  1. The Priest then takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants, who usually come up in procession.

It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. The norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25, 2004, no. 91).

When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

If you are in another country the norm may be different.

I’m in US. So there is no statement with a universal preference

I live in the US, and when there are very few people at Mass, my priest will use the altar rail and have everyone receive on their tongues. On a normal Sunday Mass, we are allowed to choose if we want to kneel/stand and receive on the tongue/hand.

I can no longer kneel the way I used to due to knee problems. My Church does not have a Communion rail (wish they did). Now I bow & then receive on the tongue. If I attend a Latin Mass; there is always a Communion rail supplied; I kneel as per the Rubrics.

The norm is to receive on the tongue while kneeling. However, in some places, permission has been granted by the Vatican to allow receiving in the hand. The US is one of those places. Bishops and pastors of parishes have the authority to refuse to administer in the hand if there is reason to believe that the practice will cause a decrease in reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, but if no such concern exists, the faithful have the right to receive Communion in the hand (in regions where permission has been granted). However, the faithful may never be refused if they prefer to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI would only administer Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling. And many others parts of the world will not allow receiving in the hand. So there is a norm established, and individual popes, bishops, and priests will have their preferences as well.
I have been learning about this a lot lately. I prefer to receive on the tongue, and I do agree it is the most reverent, but in many parishes, very few people do this, and some EMHCs are caught off guard by someone who desires to receive this way. So, for Americans at least, this is a difficult topic to work through.:o

I feel the same way as you. I receive Holy Communion on the tongue and sometimes I genuflect beforehand. In my opinion I feel it shows more reverence to Jesus. The way I see it is Jesus is Our King, Our Saviour and Our God and is present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity before us. Every time I go to receive Holy Communion I always get a feeling I should be kneeling aswell or genuflecting.

from the very beginning of my catholic journey I have received on my tongue kneeling, even at my RCIA baptism and first communion I was the weirdo with the veil on who kneeled and received on the tongue while everyone else received in thier hand.

But my understaning is it’s your preference some like in the hand some don’t, some stand and receive on the tongue some don’t it’s what your comfortable with really.

Receiving on the tongue is the ordinary means throughout the universal Church. Many countries allow you to receive on the hand.

If you receive on the hand, you should still do it in a way that denotes reverence, which is why the Eucharist is placed on the hand, and then you step aside to take it and eat. St Basil the Great, Doctor of the Church, described it as “holding out your hands as though making a throne with which to seat your Lord”, so if you receive in this way, I believe that is a very good imagery to keep in mind.

I’ve also been receiving on the tongue since it’s the ordinary means (although “ordinary” = / = “most common”). It’s less to think about. You’re in the States so do whichever one you’re moved towards.

I forgot to mention too when he was telling us this at Mass he was bringing it up because mainly those that take it in the hand are not doing it how he has asked them too. Making a thrown and raised to heart level. So Im assuming this is also protocol?

Many don’t know. The respect and reverence isn’t there with them which is very sad. Jesus is present in each individual host and is always wanting to give is graces if we let Him.

Here is what I found on the USCCB’s website about it

Those who receive Communion may receive either in the hand or on the tongue, and the decision should be that of the individual receiving, not of the person distributing Communion. If Communion is received in the hand, the hands should first of all be clean. If one is right handed the left hand should rest upon the right. The host will then be laid in the palm of the left hand and then taken by the right hand to the mouth. If one is left-handed this is reversed. It is not appropriate to reach out with the fingers and take the host from the person distributing.

I heard Tim Staples say one time that there was absolutely nothing wrong with receiving in the hand in the United States but that he never has and never will. When I decided to convert, I decided to follow him on this one. I love receiving on the tongue. Hopefully, I will die never having touched the host, unless Our Lord has other plans for me. :slight_smile:


The Church really doesn’t micromanage these things. The idea is to show reverence. I can tell you what that means to me, someone else can tell you what it means to him or her, but that doesn’t make it an official teaching.

Do what you can to show reverence for the Eucharist. If you’re unsure, ask your priest for guidance. Don’t worry about what others do; assume they’re doing their best to also show reverence even if they do it differently.

Also, while I generally prefer to receive kneeling and will always receive kneeling if there is an altar rail or kneeler available, it is not true in the US that kneeling is the norm for receiving communion.

Again from the same website

The General Instruction asks each country’s Conference of Bishops to determine the posture to be used for the reception of Communion and the act of reverence to be made by each person as he or she receives Communion. In the United States, the body of Bishops determined that Communion should be received standing, and that a bow is the act of reverence made by those receiving. These norms may require some adjustment on the part of those who have been used to other practices, however the significance of unity in posture and gesture as a symbol of our unity as members of the one body of Christ should be the governing factor in our own actions.

it lies with the bishop of the diocese universally speaking. But I prefer receiving on the palms. it irritates me if a minister’s finger touches my tongue. and if it is under both Species where it is forbidden to receive by hand, I’m always preoccupied and distracted by thinking whether the minister will touch my tongue. (some do make the mistake)

There’s no such order of things the way your priest described. That said, sometimes a particular priest will establish his priorities, but they are only his own. I am in a parish where the priest refuses to give anyone communion except on the tongue. I don’t know how he gets away with it, since people have the right to receive in the hand. I’ve seen visitors look confused when they put out their hands and he tells them at the communion rail “open your mouth.”

There are no national Churches, there are Particular Churches and the Universal Church. Unlike Individual Bishops, Bishops conferences are not there by Divine Right.

The universal norm is communion on the tongue.

I just thought I’d say, God killed Uzzah in anger for touching the ark of the covenant. The Eucharist is Christ Our God and is to be adored with the Worship of Latria. He is Holier and more unblemished than the Ark of the Covenant.

Please kneel to receive the King of the Universe, if he stood in front of you visibly you wouldn’t stand and if you believe in the real presence you’ll do what you’d do if you seen him visibly.

[BIBLEDRB]2 Samuel 6:6-7[/BIBLEDRB]

While you are correct it is a fact that the Universal Church has given authority to the Bishops to decide what the norms for posture during reception of the Eucharist will be for those under their care. It is also a fact that the Bishops of the United States, in accordance with the permissions granted them by the Universal Church, have decided that the norm for those in the United States is to stand while receiving the Eucharist. This does not mean it is wrong to kneel or that kneeling is forbidden or that anyone can be refused Communion because they desire to receive kneeling. What it does mean is that the norm for receiving the Eucharist in the United States is standing.

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