When you go to a Sunday mass and come to the part of the service where you are to receive Communion, there are a certain set of procedures to follow. The Catholic Church is one of tradition in its celebration of Mass; using the tips discussed below, you will be able to understand the process in order to successfully take Communion.
First of all, it’s important to understand that the Eucharist is the most sacred rite in Catholicism, because the Eucharist is viewed as the Body and Blood of Christ himself. Only Catholics are allowed to receive the Eucharist and the wine offered at Communion. To become Catholic and receive the Eucharist, one must be well prepared by completing Baptism, First Communion, and Reconciliation.
Communion begins after the host has been blessed and the prescribed people who will hand it out have taken their places around the altar with the priest. This group of people will distribute the host and the wine to the faithful. The ushers in the church will each take a place by a pew starting at the front of the church. When it is time, they will signal that row to go out and form a single line in front of the person nearest them who is giving Communion.
As you walk up in line, there is usually a song of praise being played; you are welcome to either sing along or to silently listen as you proceed up the line. When you are facing the person who is handing out the host he will speak to you first, saying, “The body of Christ…” and you will answer in return, “Amen.” The person will then place the small circular host in your open, cupped hands. Take one hand and pick up the host and place it on your tongue, closing your mouth and proceeding to the next line to receive wine.
It is considered impolite to chew the host as you walk back to your seat. Instead, simply keep your mouth closed and let the host dissolve on your tongue. Some people will kneel and pray for a few minutes before they sit back down, but this is up to you to decide.
Taking Communion in a Catholic Church can be a very enjoyable and spiritual experience if you are aware of the traditions involved. If you forget a certain step or feel uncomfortable, just remember you can watch someone near you and just follow her lead. If you are still unsure, quietly ask someone nearby for assistance; it is likely that she will be happy to help you. This way, no one will know that you don’t remember everything and you will have successfully received the host.