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Kneeling to Receive Holy Communion


Once you arrive at the sanctuary to receive Communion, it depends, of course, on how the church is designed, whether you kneel at the altar rail to receive, or receive standing. Is the right of the laity to receive either standing or kneeling.

The traditional posture for receiving Holy Communion in North America is kneeling. This is why churches had altar rails and the faithful received the Eucharistic species while kneeling. Since the introduction of the Novus Ordo, by Pope Paul VI, the normative posture for receiving Holy Communion in the U.S. is standing, in accordance with GIRM 160. However, standing is not a mandatory posture. The GIRM does not say that Holy Communion must be received while standing, if so, it would be considered as being required by liturgical law. The word “normative”, when used in this context is the minimum required or the usual practice. 

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