Why do we kneel for so long?

During the Communion, I was told (by someone that I trust), that we are to remain kneeling until the Tabernacle is closed.

I have now been doing this for about three years.

I recently told some one else this. They asked me ‘why?’, and I couldn’t answer.

Where do I get that we are supposed to remain kneeling after receiving communion until the Tabernacle is closed? Is this in the CCC? the GIRM?

How do I look this up?

Sorry I won’t be directly answering your question, but the norm established in your particular Parish will have something to do with this. In general, all should be doing the same thing at the same time.

see usccb.org/liturgy/current/chapter1.shtml

also see vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19631204_sacrosanctum-concilium_en.html

also vatican.va/roman_curia/synod/documents/rc_synod_doc_20040528_lineamenta-xi-assembly_en.html#CHAPTER%20IV

A communicant’s posture after receiving the Eucharist is technically open that individual’s choice, but the de facto norm of remaining kneeling until the tabernacle is closed stems from our beliefs about proper posture in the presence of the Eucharist. Although the physical challenge of maintaining the posture for an hour of adoration leads many to fudge a bit, the two options in the presence of the exposed Sacrament are kneeling and standing. That’s why (usually) no one sits until the tabernacle is closed, because to sit while the Eucharist remains exposed in the church would be improper.

Kneeling until the Tabernacle is closed is a personal devotion. It is not a directive of the Church nor found in the GIRM.

One may observe this devotion or not. It’s up to you.

Personally, I have done this for years. It helps me to remain focused on Jesus, instead of gawking at my neighbors.

Why would I NOT want to remain on my knees while in the presence of Christ? Until I have some physical constraint that prevents me from kneeling before the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of my Christ, you will always see me on my knees.

As I get older, the ability to do this for longer and longer periods appears to diminish, :blush: however, I will always continue to do so as much as I physically can.

I’m not sure why anyone wouldn’t WANT to. But then again, I guess it is a personal preference. :shrug:


No argument here - but one might ask how much more “in the presence of Christ” can one be than to recieve Him into one’s self. Thus, is the presence of Christ in the tabernacle any more or less prevelant than the presence of Christ within us (after Communion), or each other? Only what I believe to be a legitimate question - I actually share your feelings.

az 4 faith is completely right. I had to clarify this to my wife who has bad knees because kneeling for that long after receiving communion often took her mind OFF charity.

To modify gvogt4’s question to lizaanne to suit me, isn’t there an absence of a huge difference with the tabernacle being open and the tabernacle simply in our presence? We genuflect towards and pray before the closed tabernacle after all. (Or I do at least.) Also, if it were very important to kneel until the tabernacle is closed, it would be in the GIRM or other church documents, I think.

That said, I generally kneel until the “Let us pray…” before the Post-communion. I’ve got you all beat! :tiphat:

I don’t know. Somewhere and sometime I heard that when the tabernacle is open it’s like Jesus is in the room. Therefore, on your feet or on your knees would be the only way I would want to be.

With the tabernacle closed, I guess it’s like if the President of the USA was in the next room. You can do as you like when he or she is there. But when the President enters the room, everyone stands.

It is hard to kneel so long sometimes. But every time I groan when I sit in church and realize I picked another pew with the worn-out padding on the kneeler, I think of the time my wife and I attended Mass in this little cinder-block church in Tulum, Mexico, while on vacation. They just had a poured concrete floor with a collection of mis-matched chairs and picnic benches instead of pews. But everyone knelt, right there on the dirty concrete. We did too.

I’m not positive that it matters so seriously, but these reasons make sense to me… and in my life I have enough to atone for already without adding the fact that I sat on my butt before the open tabernacle. Of course, physical infirmities would most certainly be mitigating I believe. But I (thank you Lord) do not yet have that excuse for not kneeling.

I always Knelt until the Priest and all servers sat down…

I figure when he rests then we can relax and contemplate on the sacred mysteries

For a Stational Mass of the Diocesan Bishop, there are the following instructions:

“165 When the giving of communion is over, one of the deacons consumes the blood that remains, take the cup to a side table, and there purifies and arranges it, or he may do so after Mass. Another deacon or one of the concelebrants takes any remaining consecrated particles to the tabernacle, then at a side table cleanses the paten or ciborium over the cup before the cup is cleansed.
166 When the bishop returns to the chair after the communion, he puts on the skullcap and, if need be, washes his hands. All are seated and a period of prayerful silence may follow, or a song of praise or a psalm may be sung.”
(Ceremonial of Bishops, Liturgical Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1818-9, pages 59-60.)

The Latin title for this book is “Caeremoniale Episcoporum”, published in 1984. From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :
"112. … At a Mass celebrated by the Bishop or at which he presides without celebrating the Eucharist, the norms found in the Caeremoniale Episcoporum should be observed. [footnote 92. Cf. Caeremoniale Episcoporum, editio typica, 1984, nos. 119-186.]

So for this Mass the instruction is to sit when the bishop does. There is no mention of kneeling.

For other Masses, the 2002 GIRM has:
"… A common posture, to be observed by all participants, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered for the Sacred Liturgy: it both expresses and fosters the intention and spiritual attitude of the participants.
43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below. They should, however, sit while the readings before the Gospel and the responsorial Psalm are proclaimed and for the homily and while the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory is taking place; **and, as circumstances allow, they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed. **…
With a view to a uniformity in gestures and postures during one and the same celebration, the faithful should follow the directions which the deacon, lay minister, or priest gives according to whatever is indicated in the Missal."

One interpretation of “common posture” and “uniformity in gestures and postures” is that the people should kneel after communion when the priest kneels after communion. I cannot recall ever seeing a priest do that.

OK… but they sit down once the Tabernacle is closed.

I do as well, unless I get head butted by the person in front of me heaving themselves back in their seat the second the tabernacle snaps shut! :eek: It’s happened at least three times, and once I almost ended up with a broken nose!

So - I try to remain kneeling until the final prayer if I can. That shouldn’t be a problem at the new parish we are changing to though, everyone stays kneeling that long, and does not sit between the closing of the tabernacle and the final prayer.


I kneel untill the tabernacle is closed first off cause i love to pray kneeling and second its a sign of reverence and humility

Whereever you got it from it is absolutely correct.
I also remain kneeling till the tabernacle is closed, those ministers who take the Eucharist to the sick or housebound are sent and the priest sits down for a few minutes.
Grace Angel.

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