Why does everyone wait for the Priest to sit down during while putting away the Eucharist to sit?

My RCIA sponsor told me that you were kneeling because of the presence of the Eucharist, so once it was put away you could stop kneeling and you didn’t need to wait for the Priest to sit. Yet, I get weird looks when I sit once the Eucharist is put away.

Hmm. In my parish people sit or kneel after Communion and then stand once the priest tells us to. I think I remember reading that there is no prescribed “position” to be in after receiving the Eucharist at Mass. (Can someone verify?) I’ve even been at places where people stand.

The posture for after Communion is something that is determined by the local bishop (I can cite the references if need be). So what people should be doing at that time is whatever the bishop has determined. It will vary by diocese.

The reason for waiting until the priest sits is just a matter of courtesy (not liturgy as such). It’s simply not appropriate to sit before the priest sits. Imagine a judge in a courtroom. No one sits until the judge does so.

What the bishop determines for his own diocese is what matters here. But if the bishop has said something like “everyone is seated” it’s just a matter of courtesy to wait that brief moment until the priest himself is seated.

Fair enough, it does seem more arbitrary, though. It’s like kneeling at the command of the Priest is put over the conscious reverence of the Eucharist. Sometimes, when one is just waiting for the Priest to sit, you stop focusing on the eternal supernatural presence of God literally a few feet away.

I do not think the judge in a court room analogy is sufficient. Rarely, if ever, is the most powerful/important/omnipotent/reverence-worthy object being adored in physical form at the same time as a judge is standing. I think if it were, the judge would seem much less important, along with whether or not he was standing or seated.

Oh no. That’s not what I mean at all.

I was addressing what you specifically asked about—when to sit after the Eucharist has been reserved in the tabernacle.

I’m also answering from the perspective of this: it seems, from what you describe, that the bishop has determined that “everyone sits” at that moment.

In my pastoral group, they encouraged us not to kneel after communion, because they said we had just received the Real Presence. If we were going to kneel, anyway, to do it with the spirit of acknowledging the Real Presence. That group encouraged us to sit after receiving communion.

I see no point in it. Most people where I go sit as soon as the doors to the Tabernacle are closed. I continue to kneel (with some giving me weird looks for doing so) until the priest says “Let us pray.” This tends to about about 5-10 seconds in my church anyway.

The GIRM says that you can sit or kneel. I won’t dispute Father David saying it’s up to the Bishop to determine which and when.

This is what has always been done in my half century of life in the Church. You kneel after Holy Communion and sit after the Priest sits, after he has reposed the Eucharist and purified the Chalice.

I do the same simply because I am in silent prayer until the priest says “Let us pray”, at which point I stand.

It’s not me saying that it’s up to the bishop–I’m merely typing it. It’s in GIRM #43 that the bishop has the authority to make that determination.

That’s why experiences will vary from one diocese to another.

There is also the situation, such as that with my parish, where the tabernacle in in a separate chapel so the task of returning the Blessed Sacrament is left to the deacon.

The priest sitting down is what people can clearly see. Much less tacky than getting a message over the sound system from the deacon that the Blessed Sacrament is now in the tabernacle.

When our present pastor first came, he set up a few Q & A sessions. And the question of when are we supposed to sit after Communion came up. He instructed us that it was proper to sit after the remaining Hosts had been returned to the tabernacle and was closed. He also told us, “Whatever you do, DO NOT wait for the priest to sit down!” He wanted the focus to be on the Eucharist not him. Personally, I think he is wrong and that it is not wrong to show respect to wait for the priest to sit down. But I try to do like he says. My son complains that people are ignoring what our pastor has said (not to wait for him to sit down) but as for myself, I am not ignoring what he has said , it is just that sometimes I forget to sit earlier or my mind is still on my prayers, and then when I am ready to sit, the priest is already approaching his chair. I think that we should try to do as we have been instructed but we should not try to judge what everybody else does.

I attend two different parishes, depending on which city I find myself in. One parish has people kneeling until the priest says, “Let us pray,” and the other has people sit. I actually prefer when they remain kneeling, simply because I can remain in prayer without wondering if I’m getting any odd looks! Of course, the one that does the kneeling is the one with the bricks for kneelers! Haha

Father David,

When visiting another diocese, and their ‘norms’ are to remain standing (they have kneelers though), but in your own diocese, it is to kneel after receiving the Eucharist, which do you follow?

We were visiting another parish for Easter Sunday, for a friend joining the Church. 90% of the parishioners were standing after Communion, but 10% knelt. In my diocese, we kneel.


I don’t have the document handy, but that’s also my understanding - in our Diocese. we stand until everyone has received, and then sit or kneel, according to personal preference, through what is supposed to be a time of silence - although in practice, for whatever reason they always start another hymn just at that moment, and it usually lasts all the way through the “time of silence”, until the final prayer begins. I have never been to a parish yet where the term “silence” means that there is neither music nor talking; and maybe I’m just too literal … :shrug:

The diocese that you are visiting. The local bishop makes the determination for his own territory.

It isn’t for us to decide that the bishop should have said something different (not that you are, so don’t take that the wrong way). It’s his decision to make; specifically because the Holy See made that determination for this particular part of the Mass (again, see GIRM #43).

We were visiting another parish for Easter Sunday, for a friend joining the Church. 90% of the parishioners were standing after Communion, but 10% knelt. In my diocese, we kneel.


While I can say “follow what the local bishop directs” I can’t offer any suggestions on how to learn that, other than to suggest following the directions of the deacon or priest (if they’re given) or simply to follow along with the majority of what everyone else is doing.

This is not really a significant issue. If it were significant, the Holy See would have required more uniformity rather than leave it to the discretion of the local bishop.

Thanks for your prompt reply and clear answer. :slight_smile:

I think technically people should kneel until the
Tabernacle is closed.
However most continue to kneel until the priest
sits since on that Altar he also represents Christ
and that priestly office is worthy of respect as well.

Our parish normally continues to kneel while the chalices and patens are being cleaned at the credence table. Even if the priest has already sat down and it is being done by a deacon.

Rather than it being out of respect for the priest or deacon still standing (like the judge example), I always thought that we did it because a bit of Jesus may still be present until “clean-up” is finished.

To clarify what I said before about waiting until the priest is seated: please keep in mind that I was writing that from the perspective that everyone is being seated at roughly the same time.

I only mentioned it because the OP was asking why everyone else seemed to be waiting for the priest to take his seat.

If the bishop says that everyone is seated while the priest performs the ablutions (standing), then that’s what should be done.

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