Where to Bow During Mass?

I’m looking for documentation that states where we are to bow during mass, the altar or the tabernacle. (assuming they are in line with each other, or not for that matter)

Does anyone know where I can find this?

Very few such of such directions are reduced to writing.

Most of these reverences are by custom.

stcyril.org/posture.html

We do not bow to the tabernacle with the Blessed Sacrament present, we genuflect, but not during Mass. We bow to the altar when entering and leaving the sanctuary. Also during the Creed.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal, paragraphs 274-275.Genuflections and Bows

  1. A genuflection, made by bending the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and therefore it is reserved for the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as for the Holy Cross from the solemn adoration during the liturgical celebration on Good Friday until the beginning of the Easter Vigil.

During Mass, three genuflections are made by the priest celebrant: namely, after the showing of the host, after the showing of the chalice, and before Communion. Certain specific features to be observed in a concelebrated Mass are noted in their proper place (cf. above, nos. 210-251).

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.

Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession.

Ministers carrying the processional cross or candles bow their heads instead of genuflecting.

  1. A bow signifies reverence and honor shown to the persons themselves or to the signs that represent them. There are two kinds of bows: a bow of the head and a bow of the body.
    [LIST=a]
    *]A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.
    *]A bow of the body, that is to say a profound bow, is made to the altar; during the prayers Munda cor meum (Almighty God, cleanse my heart) and In spiritu humilitatis (Lord God, we ask you to receive); in the Creed at the words Et incarnatus est (by the power of the Holy Spirit . . . made man); in the Roman Canon at the words Supplices te rogamus (Almighty God, we pray that your angel). The same kind of bow is made by the deacon when he asks for a blessing before the proclamation of the Gospel. In addition, the priest bows slightly as he speaks the words of the Lord at the consecration.[/LIST]

My confusion is in #274 where it says

“except during mass”

when speaking of ministers (this would cover priests, deacons, instituted acolytes, etc) and then says,

Otherwise all who pass before the Most Blessed Sacrament genuflect, unless they are moving in procession.

It strikes me, first, that ministers are instructed to reverence the altar, but that non-ministers (read non-instituted acolytes) are covered by the second quote.

Thoughts?

Yeah, it’s confusing. I’m not entirely sure what the proper interpretation is. (I know that the Masses at EWTN don’t follow this rubric – the ministers genuflect to the tabernacle even when this rubric tells them not to.)

I think one way of interpreting it is that the second quote (of yours) has to do with liturgical and non-liturgical functions apart from Mass.

Another profound bow is noted in #43:
…In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration…

… Hi vero qui non genuflectunt ad consecrationem, inclinationem profundam peragant dum sacerdos genuflectit post consecrationem…

tee

I’ve noticed that the Holy Father bows his head twice during the Gloria at the mention of the Holy Name of Jesus.

He is not the only one to bow at the name of Jesus, and at the three Divine Persons named together in that prayer. :wink:

tee

Yep, as should all of us too. It is prescribed in the GIRM to do so.

GIRM 275 -a:

A bow of the head is made when the three Divine Persons are named together and at the names of Jesus, of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of the Saint in whose honor Mass is being celebrated.

I’ve been doing it for quite some time, but, I’m the only one I see doing it. :shrug:

The GIRM

Here’s the link from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: usccb.org/liturgy/current/revmissalisromanien.shtml

I am not sure where you are from, but whatever GIRM is the approved/adapted version for your diocese/region would contain the information you need. Hope this helps.

So it wouldn’t be proper to genuflect right before recieving communion? I believe I have seen people do this at the Masses on EWTN.

It’s not in accordance with the guidance provided by the U.S. Bishops (which applies only if you’re in the U.S. of course).

Regardless, whether it’s proper or not is a matter of opinion (imho).

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