This is going to be a really stupid question from a new convert. :o When people enter the pews they either bow or genuflect. When others approach the alter during Mass to read, help with communion, etc., they also bow or genuflect. Now I notice all these people looking or posturing at all different places when doing so, which has be confused as to who or what we’re suppose to be bowing/genuflecting to.
Are we bowing to the alter, the crucifix, or the tabernacle, or something else entirely?
I asked this question to 3 different long-time members of our parish and one said to the alter, the other said to the tabernacle, and the other said she ‘thinks’ it’s suppose to be to the Christ on the crucifix. But almost everyone in our tiny rural church are converts and the teachings are pretty ‘loose’ if you know what I mean.
In fact, bowing or genuflecting has never been taught to us in our RICA classes. Our parish also has no kneelers so we don’t even know when we are to kneel if we attend another Catholic Church while on vacation, etc. All we catechumens and candidates are just kind of “winging it”. Not meaning any disrespect because I know they are all doing the best they can with how they were taught, but it makes it all kind frustrating for those of us who want to know the correct and respectful ways of the Catholic faith.