- Because Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacle, commonly behind the altar, Catholics should genuflect when entering and exiting their pew to show reference to God, who is truly present.
- Likewise, one should also kneel (if physically able) during and after the consecration.
- Catholics must pray and deeply prepare to receive the holy Eucharist.
- Catholics must reverently receive the Eucharist. This includes, first, bowing your head before receiving. You should receive the Eucharist, not take the Body or Blood of Christ (no grabbing, pinching, or biting). Finally, say “Amen” after receiving, which means “It is so.”
- One must never receive the Eucharist while in a state of mortal sin.
- Catholics must also consume the Eucharist immediately after receiving it. If you ever see someone not consume the Eucharist, confront him or her at once and alert the priest. Some people who do this are intentionally stealing the Host for desecration. If a Catholic knowingly desecrates a consecrated Host, they are committing grave sin and face immediate excommunication from the Catholic Church.
- After receiving Jesus, Catholics should spend time in prayer of thanksgiving for this incredible gift from God.
- Catholics should remain until after the dismissal from Mass.
“Because we are human beings, a union of body and soul, what we do with our bodies affects our hearts and minds,” said Father Daren Zehnle, director of the Office for Divine Worship and the Catechumenate for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois. “If we approach the Eucharist in a sloppy or hurried manner, we run the risk of forgetting who it is we are receiving and of setting a bad example for those whose faith might be weak. Rather, if we approach the Eucharist with a reverent demeanor, it can help strengthen the faith of others and offers the respect to God what he deserves.
“If a Catholic has intentionally not participated in Mass every Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation, he or she may not receive the Eucharist without first being reconciled to God and the church through the sacrament of confession. We should remember that the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is not the same as receiving holy Communion. If we are not prepared to receive the Eucharist, we should not do so.”
St. Maximilian Kolbe, who gave his life in order to save another man’s life during his imprisonment in Auschwitz during the Holocaust in World War II, said, “If the angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: holy Communion.” Father Zehnle says that’s a great reminder that we have the most holy and pure gift available to us every Mass, Jesus, truly present in the holy Eucharist.