November 14, 2011

Edmonton – Catholics in the Edmonton Archdiocese have been directed to kneel for the Consecration during Mass and bow before receiving Communion.

"These directives have as their intention to assure consistent practice in the archdiocese and conformity with the universal law of the Church," Archbishop Richard Smith says in a pastoral letter announcing the directives.

"This is very important. The oneness of our faith is to be apparent in the unity of our gestures and posture at the Sacred Liturgy."

(The full text of the archbishop's letter.)

The archbishop said Catholics are to kneel immediately following the conclusion of the Sanctus ("Holy, Holy") and to stand when the priest announces "The Mystery of Faith."

Referring to the Vatican's General Instruction on the Roman Missal, Smith said the proper posture for receiving Communion is standing, although allowance is made for those who wish to receive while kneeling.

"While standing before the minister of Communion, the recipient first makes a bow of the head before reception to reverence the Blessed Sacrament," he said.

One may receive Communion either in the hand or on the tongue, he continued. "When receiving on the hand, one hand is to be placed over the other, so that the host may be placed by the minister in the hand.

"It is inappropriate for the recipient to take the sacred Host from the minister."

The directives are timed to coincide with the institution of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, which occurs Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent.

However, the archbishop said he has authorized the priests of the archdiocese to begin implementing the General Instruction immediately to help Catholics in their preparation for the changes.

Letter to the Editor – 11/28/11