St George’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral
Guidelines for Communicants when receiving the Holy Communion
(As taken from St. Augustine’s Prayer Book
and adapted for use at St. George’s Anglican Pro-Cathedral)
Three times a year is the least that any Christian should receive Holy Communion. A good rule is to receive once a week on a Sunday or other day. The ideal is daily Communion.
It is a sacrilege to receive Holy Communion when one is in a state of serious sin. In order to avoid this, we are commanded by the Apostle, St. Paul, to examine ourselves before receiving. If there is any serious doubt as to our spiritual condition, we should go to confession before receiving the Holy Sacrament.
On receiving Holy Communion, please follow these simple guidelines:
1. Women should remove gloves and veils before going to the Altar.
2. Genuflect (or bow) in the aisle on leaving your pew. You do not need to genuflect at the Altar rail or after you receive your Communion. Keep your eyes down and your hands joined in going to and from the Altar.
3. Go to the Altar rail on the same side of the Church (Epistle or Gospel) on which you are sitting. No crossing over, please.
4. Kneel as close to the person on your right (whether on the Epistle or Gospel side of the chancel) so as not to waste room.
5. Kneel upright at the rail without leaning over.
6. Receive the Lord’s Body in one of either of two ways:
a. Into the palm of your right hand, making the left hand a support for the right, the hands lifted up as high as the lips, if possible. Never take the Host into your fingers or snatch it from the Priest. Consume the Host as soon as it is given to you, unless you wish to receive by intinction, then leave the Host in the palm of your right hand. (see #9 below.)
b. Directly on your tongue. Tip your head well back and extend your tongue over your lower teeth. (This is the only time you’re allowed to stick your tongue out at the Priest, Deacons, or even the Bishop). Close your eyes. As soon as the Priest has put the Host on your tongue, withdraw your tongue and close your mouth.
7. Do not chew the Sacred Host. It will dissolve quickly.
8. Receive the Chalice by guiding it to your lips by the base with your right hand only. Take a sip of the Precious Blood. Do not wipe your mouth after receiving the Chalice.
9. If you wish to receive by intinction, leave the Host in the palm of your right hand. The Priest (or Deacon) will come by, take the Host from you, dip it into the Chalice, and then you receive both the Blessed Body and Blood on your tongue, as described in 6b above.
10. Leave the Altar rail as soon as the person on your left has received the Chalice, returning to your pew by way of the side aisles on the side of the Church (Gospel or Epistle) on which your were previously sitting. Again, no crossing over or going back up the main aisle, please.
11. When you return to your place in your pew, kneel quietly, beginning your prayers of praise and thanksgiving for the great Gift you have received from God and find the Communion hymn in the hymnal.