When Do I Bow?


Before I receive Jesus in the Eucharist, do I bow while there is a person in front of me hidden or when I am exposed before Him openly?


The easiest (and most efficient) thing to do is bow when the person in front of you is receiving. It is your choice though, either is acceptable.

Whether or not there is someone in front of you is really irrelevant. We still genuflect to the Tabernacle even though we can’t see our Eucharistic Lord.

(Note also that you are only required to bow (or genuflect, either or) if receiving communion standing. If you kneel to receive you need not do either. See GIRM 160)


I’ve seen it done both ways. There is no rule about when, the rule is just to show a reverent sign as you approach Communion. Personally I wait until I am in front of Jesus in the Eucharist before I bow.


That’s what I do.


I do it at the same point the person in front of me does it, it depends on one line or two. On Sundays, there are two lines and the Priest and an EMHC, so it is when the person in front of me is receiving. On weekdays, it is just the Priest but two lines. Then I wait until the other person steps away and the person in the other line is receiving, still the person in front of me, but not in front of me literally.


Thank you for clarification.

I just wanted to share with you that before my second conversion, I knew that I was suppose to genuflect to Our Lord in the Tabernacle as I passed in front of it and was also taught to genuflect before entering the pew, I found it difficult to show Him homage as I had led a life of disobedience. I would actually go all the way to the back of the church if I needed to cross over so I was not directly in front of the Tabernacle.

It wouldn’t be until I confessed my sins that I was able to do this sign of reverence. Praise God for humbling me!


As the person in front of me steps away and the priest/deacon/emhc is reaching for a host I bow and then step forward to receive.


I bow my head as the person in front of me receives as it is more efficient. But you may do as you wish.


Me too. I bow my head as I say “Amen.”


When the new GIRM was promulgated several years ago, the diocese released an instructional video that explained the norm is now a bow of the head. It made a recommendation that this bow be made when saying "Amen". So that is what I do.


Years ago our parish suggested that we bow as the person in front of us is receiving so that’s usually what I do. Probably more like I bow while the person in front of me is stepping aside.

Our priests, deacons, and EMHCs are usually trying to place the host in our hands at the same time as the communicant is trying to say, “Amen”. I haven’'t mastered bowing, saying, “Amen”, and making sure my hands are in place all at the same time. So I try to bow early enough that I am done bowing before the minister gets done saying, “The Body of Christ.”


Since we’re talking about personal practices, I don’t bow, since I always receive kneeling.


Is it required to bow? I never learned this but I don’t know. Can someone explain what is required? At one church I go to for weekly mass people always bow but they also receive on the tongue there. At my parish we receive in the hand and I don’t know if you are supposed to bow there. I usually nod when I say “amen”.

Also, it doesn’t matter if I receive in the hand at another church, correct? Because both ways or OK? Or are you always supposed to do what everyone else does? Just wondering.


This is my preference, and I was under the assumption that we were supposed to bow jus before we receive the Eucharist since this is the real presence of Christ, our King and savior.

When we meet someone, we wait until we are directly in front of them to acknowledge them and greet them and/or shake their hand. We don’t do this while they are “meeting” someone else.



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