Standing after the Agnus Dei and Communion
Agnus Dei. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states that the people stand from the end of the Offertory until the end of Mass, except that they kneel down during the Consecration. In the U.S. the approved adaptation is to kneel for the entire Eucharistic Prayer and after the Agnus Dei.
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. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.
After Communion. In 1974 Rome gave an official interpretation of the rubrics on the period after Communion, which makes the posture an option. It states,
After communion they may either kneel, stand, or sit. Accordingly the GIRM no. 21 gives this rule: "The people sit. . .if this seems useful during the period of silence after communion." Thus it is a matter of option, not obligation. The GIRM no. 121, should, therefore, be interpreted to match no. 21: Notitiae 10 (1974) 407.
The new GIRM states,
- 43… They should sit during the readings before the gospel and during the responsorial psalm, for the homily and the preparation of the gifts, and, if this seems helpful, they may sit or kneel during the period of religious silence after communion.
However, some of the faithful complain that hey are being required to stand at their place after getting back from Communion. A response which Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, received from Rome appears to clarify that point.
Query: Is it the case that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by no. 43 of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, [the new 2000 GIRM] intends to prohibit the faithful from kneeling after the Agnus Dei and following reception of Communion?
Response: Negative. [Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Prot. 2372/00/L, 7 November 2000]
- Yesterday at after our Easter dinner the discussion of the different Parishes that we attend came up and the different practices at each.
- The Parish I now attend kneels after the reception of Communion until the priest is finished cleaning the vessels and is seated himself. The Parish my friend attends Stands during Communion and is seated once the Holy Communion is placed in the Tabernacle.
- The the debate went on about what was correct. Below is the passage from the GIRM.
This debate is all to common in today’s Catholic world. We have Parishes deciding for themselves what is and is not expectable, creating disconnects between parishes that are only miles apart. If the argument of “Unity in prayer” can be used to defend all standing after reception of communion (as was used by my friend), than that very same argument can be used for all knelling after reception.
To me it comes down to respect. We have just received the greatest gift anyone can receive, the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Blessed Lord, Jesus the Christ! To show reverence by kneeling is a simple task and to me a very privet moment between me and my Savior.
I was told about a radio or TV minister that made the comment that if Catholics truly believed that Jesus was TRULY present in the sacrament of Communion we would crawl on our stomachs to get there. AMEN! It is God we are receiving, the one true God made man in the flesh of Jesus. Is it to much to ask that we show a tad bit of reverence, just a little respect? I think not.
Now I am not stating that people or parishes that stand after the reception of Communion are not showing respect. I am sure many are. But our actions are outward displays of our thought. So I ask you, are we standing because we just received the TRUE Jesus in Communion or are we stating to show unity with others? To me, and to what I have been told, we stand as a sign of unity with others. Hmmm, what about the unity we just made with Jesus in the sacrament of Holy Communion? What about the fact that we have Jesus in us like no other time, what about the fact that we have been united to our savior in a way that non-Catholics can even dream of being! We have just taken the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Blessed Lord in to ourselves. We have just united our being with His glorious being in a way that we could not were in not for this sacrament that Jesus established.
To me, to stand shows a sign of disrespect, and I felt that way at every Parish I ever attended that stood after the reception of our Blessed Lord. I followed the community and stood, because I also think it is disrespectful to act contrary to the community, but in my heart I was kneeling.
Standing after the reception of communion, like so many other acts of reverence were removed in the name of Vatican II. People, most with good intentions, used this document to remove all signs of reverence from the Holy Mass and prayer and turned it into one large group hug. Like the bible passage states,
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
There is a time for group hugs and a time of reverence. It seems that reverence, for some, is code word for pre Vatican II and must be eliminated. It is almost a sickness that consumes the Church like a cancer. A cancer that will spread and destroy any semblance of the Holy Roman Catholic Church if we do not start to get it under control.
All is not bleak nor lost, for Jesus told us:
And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18 NIV)
So take heart and hold strong.
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