To genuflect or not to genuflect?

I’m currently the coordinator for The Ministry of the Word at my parish. The pastor has announced plans to move the tabernacle back to the center of the Sanctuary, from its current place at the side of the Sanctuary. I’m overjoyed with this decision, however I want to find out if it is appropriate for readers to genuflect as they enter the Sanctuary to make their way toward the Ambo. I was taught that the attention during mass was always toward the altar, and it is proper to bow in reverence to the altar, and that we as readers when going forward should not genuflect when passing the tabernacle but focus our attention to the altar of sacrifice. I usually genuflect before entering my pew, because the aisle is directly facing the tabernacle, but I don’t do it as I’m approaching the Sanctuary. I feel a bit uneasy not showing reverence to Our Lord’s real presence, and when I attend the Extraordinary Form Mass, I see all the altar servers genuflect every time they pass the center of the Sanctuary. I don’t want to continue in error, if we are lacking reverence for The Eucharist, and I want to train my readers properly. The pastor told me that during the procession we should all bow in unison with him as he approaches but I just want to be sure we are okay. Thanks

General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

  1. …If, however, the tabernacle with the Most Blessed Sacrament is present in the sanctuary, the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers genuflect when they approach the altar and when they depart from it, but not during the celebration of Mass itself.

The GIRM only calls for genuflecting towards the tabernacle in the sanctuary at the very beginning and end of Mass. During the Mass itself the ministers bow to the altar when passing in or out of the area.

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