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

A few parishes I’ve been to, we kneel after the Agnus Dei then after Communion is received, we kneel until the Blessed Sacrament is placed in the tabernacle by the priest. My current parish, we remain seated until the Blessed Sacrament is reposed then the priest invites us to stand for the post Communion prayer.

Perhaps I am just thick? :confused:

Fr, can you be more specific about which bit of GIRM #43 indicates the bishop’s authority over posture at this time? I just don’t see it? :shrug:


Here is #43 in its entirety (so that I’m not removing any text)
The part that pertains to the question at hand, I’ll put in blue

  1. 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.

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. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.

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.

The words “after the Agnus Dei” refer to the posture of the congregation throughout Communion (obviously, they approach the sanctuary for the actual reception of Communion) and until the post-Communion prayer (when everyone stands).

The key word here is “after” the Agnus Dei. Not before, not during, but after.

There are documents from the USBBC that state more specifically that this posture is to be determined by the diocesan bishop—but quite frankly, I cannot locate them. I don’t see the necessity, though, because it’s in the GIRM that this decision is within the competence of the diocesan bishop. Of course, if the diocesan bishop is silent on the matter, the proper posture is to kneel.

For me personally, I look to the Priest to direct me during the Mass. If he sits down I figure I should be sitting, if he is still standing and perhaps cleaning the chalices then I remain kneeling until I feel he has given me the go ahead for sitting. I think many people are like me in this. We simply are following the priest’s lead.

I read parts of Mass Revision by Jimmy Akin and it stated that there is no prescribed position after receiving Communion. I usually kneel as I pray and then sit as my back starts to hurt, which is often when the priest is purifying the vessels and putting away the linens.

My understanding from the dubium about the posture after communion is that the default posture is standing (that was the question: whether or not GIRM 43 forbid kneeling after Communion) but that people were free to kneel or sit if they wanted. The Latin GIRM was rewritten to include the option of kneeling or standing. Those options are included earlier in #43 quoted above.

My understanding is that the part in blue refers to posture before Communion and relates back to the Latin GIRM’s section that said that in parishes where they had been kneeling for all of the Eucharistic Prayer and from after the Agnus Dei until Communion it was laudable to retain the practice even if the GIRM didn’t require it.

This is actually a good point in my opinion.

OK. So we’re talking about 2 slightly different “moments.”

Given the context here (of waiting until the priest sits for the period of silence) I was thinking more about the before than the after. In other words, I was concentrating on what to do after receiving Communion, returning to ones seat, the ablutions are done.

It depends on how we actually define the “period of sacred silence.” Can we say that such begins before the ablutions? I think some might say yes, some might say no.

In between those 2 specific moments “after the Agnus Dei” and “the beginning of the period of silence” it’s within the competence of the local bishop to determine this. That’s what I’ve been saying all along, but I will qualify that by adding that if an individual wishes to kneel, that is not prohibited. Fine. But that wasn’t the OPs question—it was much more narrow.

I realize (now, after this post of yours) what you’re driving at: that the Holy See does not want to forbid anyone who wishes to kneel for the period of silence. OK. I take no issue with that–surely not.

The OPs question, though, was not anywhere near as complicated as this thread has become. As I read it, it was a simple question about “why wait until the priest takes his seat?” as opposed to sitting before the priest does so. As I explained from the very beginning, if everyone is sitting at approximately the same moment, simple courtesy is to wait until the priest sits first.

As I’ve said repeatedly here, my answer to the OP is written with the presumption that the question implied that everyone was being seated at approximately the same time. That’s a very narrow moment.

It was a relatively simple question that, at this point, has taken on some strange life of its own.

If posters want to discuss the other rubrics with regard to standing or kneeling or sitting during Communion time, I would suggest starting a new thread, since these tangents have already distracted us enough from the OPs question. Likewise, unless someone has a comment or further question that directly addresses the OPs question, I won’t be posting on this thread anymore; I won’t be a party to those distractions any more than I have already. Posters aren’t just beating one dead horse here, but have moved on to the rest of the herd.

At my Parish, some kneel until the Priest sits. Some kneel until the host leaves the sanctuary (tabernacle in small chapel). Most stand and then sit when the band (excuse me choir) finishes a hymn. Stand until the priest sits. Pretty much all over the spectrum on practice.

Yes my question has been answered long ago, thank you.

In our Church we now have to stand after we have received communion and then sit after the last person in the congregation has. I really don’t like this, I preferred to kneel as I feel I can reflect more, I find standing I am distracted.

Sadly in our Church, too many treat it like a social, before and during Mass… Last week I had just come back from communion and the lady in the pew behind me tapped me on the shoulder to say ‘Nice pendant, where did you get it’ as she pulled the one she was wearing proceeding to tell me her daughter had bought it back from Australia… I smiled apologized and said, I’ve just received communion, I’d prefer not to chat in Mass but pray and reflect… I then felt very guilty for days for brushing her off and probably making her feel embarrassed.

Yes off topic…

I hope someday to be able to kneel or sit only in obedience to the Holy Spirit and not because my knees and back hurt or because I have any awareness of whether other parishioners are kneeling and definitely not because I fear they are looking at and maybe judging me. As it is, I am too undisciplined to not notice or be concerned about such things.

The postures throughout Mass are not to be so rigid as to prevent someone from doing something different. However, tradition and common sense tells us that when the Tabernacle is being opened, or when the Blessed Sacrament is out of the Tabernacle, especially if it’s passing by us, if able, one should kneel out of reverance for it.

Interestingly, the universal GIRM mandates kneeling only at the Consecration. It’s been so since the 1975 GIRM.

From the Mystery of Faith to the end of Mass the posture is standing but allows also for kneeling or sitting after Communion, if the people wish to do so.

Some people thought that GIRM no. 43 meant that noone should kneel or sit until everybody has received Communion. But it is not intended to prevent kneeling or sitting during Communion.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, responded to a question on GIRM no. 43:

           5 June 2003**                Prot. n. 855/03/L**                **Dubium:** In many places, the faithful are accustomed to  kneeling or sitting in personal prayer upon returning to their places  after                 having individually received Holy Communion during Mass.  Is it the intention of the                  * Missale Romanum*, editio typica tertia, to forbid this practice?

Responsum: Negative, et ad mentem. The mens is that the prescription of the * Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani*, no. 43, is intended, on one hand, to ensure within broad limits a certain uniformity of posture within the congregation for the various parts of the celebration of the Holy Mass, and on the other, to not regulate posture rigidly in such a way that those who wish to kneel or sit would no longer be free.

                             **Francis Cardinal Arinze


we were taught, to stand when a priest enters and sit when he sits. So, when he sits after communion we sit. We do have some folks that can’t kneel continually that some half sit half kneel others sit after kneeling for a short time due to personal health reasons.


You can’t always base your posture on that of the priest. There are times when he is standing while we are meant to be seated.

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