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Should I stand or kneel during the Consecration?

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Q. Our family recently moved from Ohio, where our parishes were united as to when the congregation knelt or stood. (Universally, we knelt during the consecration.)


In the new parish, roughly half of the congregation stands throughout the consecration while the other half kneels. Our family follows our old habit of kneeling, but this lack of uniformity feels awkward to us.


In other churches we have attended in our new area, everyone seems to kneel at this time of the Mass. What is your opinion? (Since we are new here, we don't feel comfortable yet asking our priest.) (New York)


A.  The answer to your question is simple and straightforward. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal says that "in the dioceses of the United States of America, they (i.e., the congregation) should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) until after the amen of the eucharistic prayer, except when prevented on occasion by ill health, or for reasons of lack of space, of the large number of people present or for another reasonable cause" (No. 43).


So people in your parish are correct in kneeling. The common posture of the congregation is a symbol of a community at worship united by faith, and it also fosters that sense of unity.


It is true that in many parts of the world the congregation does stand for most of the eucharistic prayer (except for the consecration, when everyone kneels), but the bishops of the U.S. felt that kneeling is regarded by Americans as the most reverential posture and is therefore the one most suitable for the entire eucharistic prayer.


Note that the language of the guideline does provide for exceptions; I have celebrated Mass, for example, in a multipurpose building with only folding chairs and no kneelers.


Questions may be sent to Fr. Doyle at askfatherdoyle@gmail.com and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, N.Y. 12203.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017