From a reader:
Our last pastor decided we should all stand up before the Great Amen (going so far as to pause the Mass until all were standing -and some peoples refusal to stand became a horrible distraction and battle of wills between us and him …so we all eventually stood). People remained standing until everyone had received Communion. When he retired the new pastor (thankfully) instructed everyone to remain kneeling until after the Great Amen. But has retained the practice of standing until everyone returns from Communion. Everyone sits down when he sits down, even though the Blessed Sacrament has not yet been returned to the tabernacle. What is the purpose of standing after Communion? If there is some wonderful significance to it, it is lost on the congregation
It seems to me that kneeling is appropriate, not only to receive Holy Communion, but also to pray after having returned to one’s place in the pews.
In any event, we can look to the GIRM for some instruction on this question:
43. The faithful should stand from the beginning of the Entrance chant, or while the priest approaches the altar, until the end of the Collect; for the Alleluia chant before the Gospel; while the Gospel itself is proclaimed; during the Profession of Faith and the Prayer of the Faithful; from the invitation, Orate, fratres (Pray, brethren), before the prayer over the offerings until the end of Mass, except at the places indicated below.
They should, however, sit while the readings before the Gospel and the responsorial Psalm are proclaimed and for the homily and while the Preparation of the Gifts at the Offertory is taking place; and, as circumstances allow, they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.
In the dioceses of the United States of America, they should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise.
Is it possible that, since the GIRM says “unless the Diocesan Bishop determines otherwise”, the local bishop has thought to interpret the time after the Agnus Dei to include the time after reception of Holy Communion and that therefore he is imposing his will on people to require them to stand through the completed distribution of Communion?
Nahhhh…. that can’t be right. That would be just plain weird.
I cannot see the point in trying to force people to stand until every one has received Communion. What’s that all about? Can’t there be a little flexibility at this point… as there has always been?
Some people cannot receive and need to remain in place, perhaps to kneel and pray and make a spiritual communion, maybe or to reflect with sorrow on their black, soul-threatening unconfessed sins.
Perhaps you could drop a respectful note to the pastor and/or local bishop asking why people are being forced to stand until everyone has received Holy Communion.
ASK FATHER and the readers here would like to know what response you get.