Sunday, February 09, 2003

It's Sunday and time for more Mass-related musings.

A long, long time ago, I was taught (or so I seem to remember) that after Communion, one knelt until the priest finished his clean-up and sat down. The idea was that the congregation as the body of Christ acted as one, so the goal was to time things so that you sat down exactly when the priest sat down, just like you try to stand up just when the priest does at the beginning of the "Alleluia" before the Gospel.

The priest in my home parish for most of my grade school life, including the high school years, had a different method. As he cleaned off the communion plate, washed out the chalice, folded the cloth, and whatever other tasks the presider must do, he would motion to the crowd to sit down. Which they did.

The Newman Center in college held Mass in a nice space that didn't have any kneelers. This caused a great deal of consternation in some of the more "traditional" Catholics who often went to the nearby "real" church instead, where they could kneel to their hearts content, early in the morning instead of Sunday evening (getting back just in time to grab dinner in the cafeteria then watch The Simpsons back in the dorm).

I've noticed that there doesn't seem to be any rule at the church I currently attend. Some people do as I do, sitting when the priest does. Others seem to be waiting until the tabernacle has been closed and the leftover hosts put away. Still more seem to have no particular timing, waiting until what seems like a reverent time has passed, or until they notice that everyone around them has decided to stop kneeling.

So, what do you do?
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