Receiving the host on your tongue?Silly Q.


My whole life I have received the Eucharist in my hands. I wasn’t even aware you could receive on your tongue until I visited another parish. With my new found respect for the Eucharist, and a peaked interested in traditional Catholicism I would like to begin receiving it on the tongue, but I don’t how? Do I simply approach the minister and stick out my tongue? I’m a tall guy (6’6), should I bend over for the minister? Two silly questions, but I honestly don’t know.

I know they’re silly questions, and I wasn’t too sure of where I should post it, but I figured the guys in this forum would have the answer to my questions.


oh another quick question, while on the subject. I’ve always noticed that some make the sign of the cross before and after doing their prayers after receiving the Eucharist. Again, I’m not too sure but should I make the sign of the cross before saying my prayers?


6’6? OK, I’d say you’d have to bend down a bit, otherwise the minister might have to be jumping up to reach your mouth? Sort of like trying to make a basket? I would get in the line with the Priest - I am certain he has experience with this even if you don’t.

God Bless,

p.s. I only make the sign of the cross after my prayers - except when I pray the rosary.


The weather?..
“spitting” (splat)… hehe, I kid, but that was my favorite response when I was youngling.

Anyway, yeah I just asked because I had the silly idea that it may be disrespectful or something, thought I would ask anyway to get rid of the silly thought.
(I had a bad experience at a Divine Liturgy (UGCC) one time, Otecht was quick to hit for an old guy)

But receiving the Eucharist on the tongue… do I honestly just stick it out like I was teasing someone, then let the minister place it on? Is it as simple as I think it is?


I’m tall, too, and yes, sometimes I do have to do a sort of “squat” for a shorter priest or EMHC. I approach with my hands folded low at my waist and open my mouth very wide, with my tongue extended past my lips. (Practice this in the mirror at home, so you know what it feels like.)

Bending over has the disadvantage of tipping your mouth forward, so there is more of a chance of the blessed sacrament falling out of your mouth or not being inserted properly b/c of the angle.

I’m sure others will come along with different opinions, but I think you can feel free to make the sign of the cross at any time.


Yep, silly question…tee-hee…:wink: Really it’s not.

I think the absence of putting up your hands to receive the Eucharist is an adequate “hint” as to how you wish to receive the sacrament. Sometimes I’m holding my children’s hands, but usually I have my arms down and hands folded together. And yes, some stooping is probably required on your part. I’m really not sure if I do anything else specific besides opening my mouth and sticking my tongue out just a tad so that the Host doesn’t fall on the floor and the priest can lay the host on my tongue without having to touch it - I’m sure I position my head and mouth in such a way to avoid that - which is another “hint.” I’m not nearly as tall, but I’m sure I bend or lean appropriately. It feels a bit ackward at first - I agree with practicing in a mirror so you know what it feels like.


I’ve moved this thread to Liturgy and Sacraments where it more properly belongs.


I had the same concern to since the retreat I was on did it on the tongue. The only differences were that I was kneeling and they used intinction. I was surprised that I had no problem.


Just so you know…that was not even slightly a silly question. I commend you for seeking advice on how to do it.



I have been told that it is generally easier to “hit the target” if it is at or below the minister’s eye level (which is why priests never seemed to have a problem when the normative posture was to kneel).

I’m 6’1’’ and, unless the minister is similarly heighted, usually stoop a bit when receiving – I bend at the knees and try to keep my back straight, to avoid the disadvantage described by StephanieC. Such posture does not always move the mark below eye level (especially while keeping it reverent), but even a couple of inches seems to help.



Open your mouth wide enough and stick your tongue out so the priest or EMHC won’t have to tried to “feed a coin in the slot”. And the priest may have more experience with folks recieving on the tongue and will place it on the tongue rather than almost tossing it like I’ve had some EMCHs do.

And make sure your tongue is moist (but not slobbery). The moisture will help the host stick to the tongue minimizing (only minimizing) errent hosts.

As others have said: Practice.


Wow, thanks for the replies everyone I really appreciate it. I guess this Sunday will be the day to give it a go.

Again, thanks a lot.


You also might want to look around the church and see if the priest, deacon or EMHC’s are tall or short, and get in line for the tallest person who is distributing Holy Communion.


It is customary to make a sign of reverence before receiving either the Host or the Chalice. This can take several forms. Some like to cross themselves, some genuflect and cross themselves, some just bow slightly from the waist. It is easiest to bow when the person in front of you is receiving, and remember, you are bowing to the Host, not to this person’s back.

In receiving the Host on the tongue, approach the priest or EMHC with your hands folded, not crossed across your chest. This indicates to them that you just want a blessing not Communion. They will hold up the Host and say “The Body of Christ”. You say “Amen”, open your mouth fairly wide and extend your tongue. It should be slightly flattened not rounded like when you stick your tongue out at someone to make it easier for the priest (or EMHC) to place the Host on your tongue. It is still licit to recieve kneeling so if you are very tall, it might be easier if you did kneel.

If you also receive the Blood, you should make the same sign of reverence before receiving. The priest or EMHC says, “The Blood of Christ”, you say “Amen”, then take the chalice in your hands, take a small sip and hand it back to the minister.

If you still have questions about it, ask your priest. I’m sure he can advise you what would be the best practice for you.


Pax vobiscum!

What I normally do (if I’m at a parish that doesn’t use a Communion rail) is genuflect and then bend down a little to the priest or EMHC to recieve on the tongue (I’m 6’3"). Then I cross myself afterwards.

In Christ,


Yes but your mouth should be open when you do it, just stick it out and allow the priest to place in on your tongue.


As someone who only receives on the tongue now (used to receive in the hand for years, but felt moved to go back to receiving on the tongue) I would like to add to the advice you have been given.

Don’t just open your mouth and stick out your tongue. Practice by looking in the mirror. Open your mouth (the lower jaw will drop, right? Then push your tongue forward so that it is resting on your lower lip. This way, it is steady, and supported, not just sticking out in the air :stuck_out_tongue:

This tongue position makes it easy for the person giving you the host (priest or lay person) to rest it on your tongue, without touching your lips or tongue.

Or course, some of the less well trained EMHCs will toss it into your mouth, as if you were a strange dog they were trying to feed a treat! :eek: I wish every parish would train the EMHCs to place the Host on the tongue properly.


Let me add a couple of things that our priest talked to us about a couple of months back. Slowly, retract your tongue and then close your mouth. I know it sounds elementary, but apparently it is a problem. One other thing he stressed is to close your eyes when receiving. He said many people jerk back when his fingers approach the mouth.

Good luck, it’s a lot easier than you probably think right now.


no question is silly. thanks for asking.

the main criterion for me is reverence for the Eucharist. as some responders have pointed out, a tall layperson trying to receive the Precious Body from a short Eucharistic Minister, whether priest or lay, can create a moment of irreverence, even frivolity, despite their best intentions, simply because of the difference in heights. i have seen laypeople trying to receive on the tongue from a blind priest, and the scene disturbed and diminished the reverence of the offering of the Precious Body. just imagine this scene in your mind’s eye!

in these cases it seems to me that all involved can maintain greater reverence by receiving in the hand.


Forgive me, but my mind’s eye cannot imagine either scene.



Try receiving while on one knee. It has the height advantage of kneeling on 2 knees, with a reduced time-delay factor.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit