Holy Eucharist – Stand or Kneel? Tongue or hand? Confession or Not?!

I went to Mass while on holiday last week. When it was time for Holy Communion, the congregation filled up the centre aisle and then filled the first rows either side of the aisle.

Then, who ever wanted to stand to receive Holy Eucharist did so. Whoever wanted to kneel to receive Holy Eucharist did so. In this way people could choose how to receive the Eucharist.

I was so impressed by this method I have spoken to my own Priest about it. Hopefully he will put some measure in place so that I am able to kneel while receiving Holy Eucharist.

The Catechism says: 1324 The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” I feel very strongly that not enough respect is given – or even considered – when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist. I am not just talking about (although this is important) how we physically receive – on the tongue or in the hand, standing or kneeling – but also if we have been to confession?

After all – we are about to physically touch God!

I would like to start a discussion on this below in the comments section, and give all of you a chance to air your thoughts. Lets hear your comments!….

10 thoughts on “Holy Eucharist – Stand or Kneel? Tongue or hand? Confession or Not?!

  1. I believe the most important thing is how we receive the Eucharist in our heart. What is beautiful about this is that we can decide how to receive Him physically, but we are commanded to receive Him spiritually by loving others. How many of us truly live that commandment?

    • After much thought provoking talk and personal meditation I completely agree with you, I picture Jesus giving out the bread at the last supper and he didn’t try to get it into the disciples mouths or ask them to pass it too each other via mouths. It is as you so rightly say a matter of how we receive
      in our hearts that matter x

  2. Hi Clare, we make a line along the sanctuary step and people either stand or kneel in our parish – I agree, VERY unusual for England. It is a wonderful way of doing it, because whether you stand or kneel, you have time to prepare before the priest comes to you.

  3. I’m on holiday right now and the Basilica where I’m attending weekday Mass still has a communion rail. Everyone kneels at the communion rail, some receive Jesus on the tongue, some in the hand. At my home parish, I receive on the tongue but stand since it’s easier due to the lack of a communion rail. I would prefer to kneel. Receiving on the hand was a special indult granted after Vatican II. In my understanding, it was never meant to become the norm.

    • I heard that about Vatican II too. I am sure that I have also read that within the Vatican II documents it reinforced the power of national Bishops’ Conferences to apply the teachings and traditions of the Church as best possible to the laws and customs of their nation – this is why we are able to have different Holy Days of Obligation from other countries. Part of this remit is to govern the Liturgical Customs and as such the Bishops Conference of England and Wales have guided what the norm should be in this country. This is the norm and should not prevent people from recieving in the way they feel spiritualy acceptable. Father Z over at WDTPRS encounters this question reasonably frequently, but I found this post http://wdtprs.com/blog/2012/07/quaeritur-does-kneeling-for-communion-show-a-spirit-of-disobedience/ rather helpful.

  4. I have sore knees, so kneeling in line is a performance, distracting and undignified. I’d much rather do so, if there were an altar rail in my church, but have decided for the time being that I must stand. It is very important to respect people and to think charitably about what they do, especially when waiting to receive communion. As for confession, provided you are a regular user of the sacrament, there is no need to have gone to confession before every communion – the Blessed Sacrament wipes away venial sin, and a rule to this effect would forbid daily communion.

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