Liturgy & Liturgical Law Forum: Double Genuflection
Double Genuflection QUESTION from Neill April 20, 2001
During Holy Thursday Mass at my church, we were told at the conclusion of the Mass to make a double genufect, whereby first the right knee, then the left knee were bent, along with a bow. Is this a common practice? Is there ever any other time when the double genuflect is mandated? Also, on a somewhat-related note, at my particular church, the holy water was drained from the fonts during Lent, although at every other Catholic church I visited during Lent, no such thing had been done. Do you happen to know why? Any insight is, of course, greatly appreciated.
ANSWER by Mr. Jacob Slavek on May 10, 2001
Dear Mr. Neill,
Although I frequently see the practice of the double genuflection, it is not the current Liturgical norm.
I am not sure specifically at which point you were directed to make this gesture, but since Mass has been concluded, I assume that the tabernacle has been closed and the people are leaving the church.
In 1973 the document Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass (n. 84), found in the modern Roman Ritual, address the issue of genuflection. It states:
Genuflection in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, whether reserved in the tabernacle of exposed for public adoration,is on one knee. I have found that draining the holy water during Lent is common in progressive parishes, normally holy water is replaced with sand. Supposedly it symbolizes the dryness of the desert and the forty days our lord spent in it praying and fasting. It seems to me to be a ridiculous practice for two reasons. First, it has no grounding in liturgical documents. Second, What is to be gained by depriving the faithful of holy water during the season of Lent, when so many use this time to seriously grow in the spiritual life?
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