Weebles wobble in Communion line

Since I was taught to go to Communion when I was small, (kneeling and COTT btw,) I’ve noticed a troubling trend in the way people get in line to approach the Eucharist.

This thread is not any sort of attempt at sarcasm, irony, or satire. I actually get distracted by this, even though I don’t try to. It’s right there in front of my face so unless I close my eyes, hello! :eek:

Here it is. When I was taught to receive Holy Communion, the nuns made a huge deal out of the way we walked. We were to remain straight and rigid, moving forward gently but precisely when it came time to move forward. When they looked at us second graders from either the front or the back, everyone’s head was in a straight line, as we stayed perfectly lined up at all moments. :slight_smile:

Now, I cannot get that same experience. When I am in a Communion line, people waddle from side to side more than they move forward. The result is that there is a disorganized movement of heads back and forth which looks, to people with training like what I had, as very careless and sloppy. Instead of Catholics lined up as soldiers to receive their spiritual meal, they look like fish circling or something :frowning:

I’m not judging their internals, and I don’t think there should be a church rule about it. I just wish more parish priests would speak up, and/or people would take it more seriously to begin with. I’m not even sure if my kids were taught to keep their head from bobbing side-to-side in preparation for First Communion, but they all know my opinion about it and I hold them to a higher standard. :wink:


All I can say is that if people wobbling in the Communion line is the biggest problem at your parish, just count your blessings and go with it.

I personally have problems with my knee. After kneeling through the Eucharistic prayer and then again after the Agnus Dei, when I get up I either wobble or have pain. I think I’ll wobble. You wouldn’t think I have issues by looking at me, especially since I am relatively young. Cut your fellow Catholics some slack and let them walk as they choose. They could be dancing, after all.

Lk 18: 9-14

Thank you; I really like your reply. Yes, I can indeed count my blessings, because compared to the past and maybe even compared to others I have very few perceived problems while at Mass.

Thank you also for reminding me it isn’t always carelessness or lack of training that causes the wobbling, but that we each have our own reasons. :o

I love your idea that they could be dancing. In some of my more “extreme” moments I have definitely felt like the solemn choreography in church is actually a form of dancing.


Different parishes, different cultures, different attitudes. I was also trained by sisters, not drill sergeants, back in the days of altar rails and kneeling. There was no clean, procession, it was a rush forward – you still find that in other cultures. Now it’s a line, in some places controlled by ushers – a ridiculous practice IMO, as though people can’t be expected to know when to go to Communion and one which sometimes forces people to go ahead before they are ready simply because the usher is there saying ‘It’s your turn’. As long as it is respectful, it’s not a problem. Imposing a rigid, artificial way of walking, like the stupid step, stop brides use walking down the aisle, puts the emphasis on the wrong thing.

I have often thought it is a good thing I do not drink. If I ever got stopped and was asked to walk a straight line, I could not do it, even stone cold sober. I have had back issues, and I can never tell when one side will “sieze” up, or when another feels weaker, so I am constantly wobbling and going from side to side, just to maintain my balance! I am relatively young (40s), so I can only imagine what I will be walking like when I am old! Also, I sometimes find that the kneeling will partially put one of my legs to sleep, depending on how I am kneeling. So imagine, if you will, me, trying to stay rigid while walking with a seizing back and partially sleeping leg…

Do not be so quick to judge. You have NO IDEA what some people put up with on a daily basis or are going through.

(off topic, but relating to my last statement…The day after my husband died, I had to go shopping for funeral clothes. The cashier was a very perky, upbeat, cheerful young woman. Her closing remark was, “You have an awesome day. Isn’t it just beautiful out?” )

Couple a bit of a wobble with my cane and I bet I’d drive you insane! Be happy there are still so many actually going to communion.

(ducks for cover)

I concede!


Why? You were doing well, I thought. Perhaps the best lesson I was taught by the nuns was to remain faithful and true to your own convictions, properly formed of course. :slight_smile:

The other thing I always found irritating as a kid, and that still catches my attention to this day when I’m at a parish that uses a communion rail, is that we were taught to wait until everybody at the rail had received and then for everyone to get up and depart at once. That was the way we always did it at daily Mass at school but I always noticed that you didn’t see that at Sunday Mass when everybody got up as soon as they had received.

I always thought it was rude, just like starting to eat your dessert at the dinner table before everyone was served or leaving the table before eveyone was done eating.

You bring up a valid point. I too noticed a rapid disorganization at those churches where ushers no longer controlled the flow of the communion reception process from the pews to the altar in the 60’s. There is no guarantee that a communion rail back then or today will do that. However, it should be a good start.

I too have a generalized problem being distracted in looking at people at mass rather than being focused on the mass itself. The stupid post-60’s architecture that places us all looking at each other sure doesn’t help.

For communion, I typically bow my head a little and look at the floor in front of me. Being married, my wife and kids are always ahead of me, so no fear that I appear to being staring at someone’s…

LOL as they say, boy does this bring back memories

not everyone has had the benefit of being prepared by the good sisters. I remember my dad observing wryly that my DD, the 7 yr old flower girl, was the only person in my sister’s entire wedding party who knew how to properly process, since she had just made her first communion at Catholic school.

I am definitely a weeble, I don’t even bow any more before receiving because I do wobble, and I will fall down one of these days since Fisher Price did not design me.

I will also observe that the sisters–and we DREs–have an easier time of it since 2nd and 3rd graders are all about the same size, so it may not be fair to judge.


I avoid wobbling my way to communion, but I don’t really see it as an issue. As long as the people aren’t just casually walking up to receive with their eyes wandering and their hands barely in a respectful position, I don’t see the problem.

As traditional Catholics, we should be careful not to make a big deal out of small things like this. It may make us seem petty.

i don’t know, i like the orderly way people line up for Communion here in North America

in the Philippines its free for all. ugh, Asians hate queueing up. the first moments of Communion becomes a mad rush to the front. the thing about me is i like to pray more after i receive. but if you sit in front, you’d probably have to go all the way to the back of the church (and most churches are huge there) because people would have scrambled to the line. and people aren’t as courteous towards people leaving their pew and getting in line from where their pew are. there’s just so many things i hate about it and i just wait 'til the lineup is almost done before i queue up

Some of us would see it as giving up our place at the table so someone else could eat since by your analogy you couldn’t leave until everyone had been served.

I suspect that how Fr. gave Communion had a lot to do with how we did it. I know that in some parishes Fr. started at one end and when he had given to all who were kneeling he walked back to the start. In other parishes he didn’t go back to start again, he gave Communion on his way back to the start so once you had received you stepped away and let someone else kneel to be ready as he made his way back.

I’ve noticed the same thing in one parish I go to sometimes, which is in the Chinatown district of Sydney, Australia.

On the whole though, Australians, like the Brits many of us are descended from, are very orderly queuers indeed, and tend to get miffed if someone tries to ‘jump the queue’ in any fashion.

You know, this isn’t something I actively paid attention to…but you’re totally right. When I think about it this does happen at the Church I go to at times which has an alter rail.\

As for the weeble wobble…I’ve had to start using a cane, so I’m weebling/woobling a fair amount these days (much to my chagrin).

Where I live, the tendency is for pew after pew to get up and into line.

**Wibbly woobles **in queue, mama and papa with infant in arms, tots at mothers skirts…sometimes smiling at you with a dinky finger up a nares…then collapsing into giggles when hideous old frau (me) looks so horrified.
Wibbly wobbly
down at the communion rail, all is serene and solemn as priest and altar server moves by offering the Host to communicant, blessing for the underage or for the few adult folk who are not able to receive communion. I never rise until my neighbour has received the Host for fear of joggling my neighbour at this most solemn occasion.
**Wibbly wobbly **back to pew and creaking down on bended knee

We have had a bishop who critiqued people on their attitude at the communion rail, something about it not being a haka…I was deeply relieved when he passed me by without comment.

OMG! I’d never heard of haka until just now. That’s quite a picture he was painting!


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