To stay standing or to sit?


Greetings. It’s been a while since I’ve been in this forum but I know where to come when I need a Catholic question answered correctly. So today in my Cursillio group we, got in a bit of a discussion. During weekday Mass, all of the congregants remain standing after Deacon finishes the Gospel which is on one side of the Altar, then Father walks from the other side, passes in front of the main Altar and when he passes the Tabernacle that’s when we all sit down. My question to all of you is, what do you all do? Is this a Latin Rite sign of respect for Our Lord or is this just something our church started? We asked our priest and he’s been ordained 8 years now and he’s never seen or heard of people doing such a thing, but he thinks it’s a lovely sign of respect and reverence for Our Lord. Now I will say, we do have a discalced Carmelite nun that’s our head sacristan at our parish and she told me that the only Mass that they celebrated was the Latin Rite, so I’m guessing that it did originate from that Mass. Please help because I want to be educated on what I’m doing, but I will say, I will always be reverent when it comes to My Lord. Thank you.


Are you referring to sitting for the homily? There’s no specific timing to this. You stand for the gospel, sit for the homily. Everything else is up for the local pastor’s input, but there’s no ruling.


you’re overthinking this.

Just sitting down is absolutely no sign of disrespect. People with disabilities do what they can, sit or stand, etc. You may help someone who needs to sit down but doesn’t want to be doing it alone.

Don’t overthink this.


I’ve been a Catholic since out of the womb so I know when to sit before the homily, this is just somethin that has started within the past few years since we started the Latin Masses and I wasn’t sure if standing until the priest passed the Tabernacle was something we were all supposed to do. Like I said, everyone waits during weekday Mass, but the weekend it seems to go away.


I appreciate your answers, I am just looking for a definitive answer on this. I’m going to do it regardless, even being a disabled person myself. I just like to have the right answer so when someone asks me why I do this, I can tell them if it’s church law or something I just do out of reverence. Thank you again.


I hardly think anyone will seriously question you on this.

You are concerned about respect for priests and rules. There is no book on respect for priests except the Bible. Could any book possibly surpass the Bible? I doubt it – love your neighbor as yourself. /that isn’t enough?

Rules? see my previous comment.

God love you.
p.s. Fr John Riccardo on EWTN radio says the most sacred thing next to the Eucharist is the person sitting next to you – created in the image of God.


This is beautiful


Thank you for your response. I found out it was started at the Latin Mass and it somehow carried over to our Masses. Even though it’s not a Cannon Law doctrine, I think it’s a beautiful way to show reverence to Our Lord and our priest and I will to continue to do it. I love Our Lord and will do anything to show reverence and humility before Him. I knew I would get help from this forum and I thank all of you who responded.
Pax Christi


When in Rome…

If you Parish waits, that’s cool.

At the Cathedral, when the Deacon processes back from from the Ambo, we stay standing until he and his incense bearers & torchbearers return and we don’t sit until the Archbishop is ready for his Homily.

Sounds like you are just following a more formal protocol

God Bless


Your question is very dependent on the physical layout of your church and the fact that you have a deacon reading the Gospel.

At other churches, there may or may not be a deacon reading; often the priest reads and if so he just stays standing at the lectern/ pulpit and proceeds with the homily or whatever.
Not all churches have the priest’s chair on the opposite side of the sanctuary from where the Gospel is read, nor do they all have the tabernacle in the front and center.

So in many churches, there will never be a situation where the priest is walking past the tabernacle after the Gospel.

It sounds like this is some local custom that’s started up in your particular church in view of the layout of the sanctuary and the fact that you have a deacon reading while the priest sits. I don’t see anything wrong with it, but don’t be surprised if you see a totally different scenario at some other Catholic church.

Edited to add, I agree that you shouldn’t be judgmental about whether other people sit down or stand. There are a lot of people who, for some physical reason that might not be visibly apparent, need to sit. It’s not a big disrespect to sit.


When or if we sit is definitely a matter of respect. These rules were a part of our culture until recently. For instance men should not sit until women have been seated. A guest should not sit until his host has sat. So this same idea would naturally be applied to the Mass. In fact this is why there is so much standing at Mass. At Mass your timing of when to sit would give respect to God and also the clergy.

I’m not sure I exactly understand your question. But it seems like what you are doing is not immediately plopping down once the Gospel is read. That would seem to be in the right spirit of respect.


Not at all ashamed to admit I have a priest-crush on this wonderful man. I have a notebook full of notes that I’ve taken while listening to Fr. Riccardo’s “Christ is the Answer” series and other Podcasts. His mother just passed away this week and I cried listening to the homily!

Now back to the original topic…to which I have no comment :wink:


At episcopal Masses I have attended, all remain standing after the deacon finishes proclaiming. At that time he bears the Book of the Gospels to the bishop who reverences it, then uses it to bless us in the congregation. Then we sit, while his excellency proceeds to the place where he will preach, be it the ambo, elsewhere in the sanctuary, or in the nave.


Thank you everyone for your responses. Not only did I learn that this topic I’m asking about came from the Latin Rite Mass, it’s also a from the code of rubrics. Another friend of mine who’s a nun informed me of this, but regardless, I will always love and respect the Eucharist and the priest. Thank you all again.
Pax Christi


From the Ceremonial of Bishops:

“141 …. Finally the deacon and the other ministers return to their places. The Book of the Gospels is take to a side table or some other suitable place.

142 Then, all sit and the bishop gives the homily.”

From the General Instruction of the Roman Missal:

“42. … A common bodily posture, to be observed by all those taking part, is a sign of unity of the members of the Christian community gathered together for the Sacred Liturgy, for it expresses the intentions and spiritual attitude of the participants and also fosters them.”

So I think a good time for everyone to sit is when the deacon and other ministers have returned to their places.

[Exerpts from the Ceremonial of Bishops © 1989 and from the Roman Missal © 2010, International Committee on English in the Liturgy Inc. (ICEL). All rights reserved.]


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