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“Ask a Priest: Should We Make the Sign of the Cross at Communion?”
Q: I was not taught to make the sign of the cross immediately after receiving Communion. I notice, however, that many Catholics do make the sign of the cross at that time. Should we make the sign of the cross after receiving the Blessed Sacrament? Or what is the Church’s teaching on this subject? – S.M.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: The rubrics don’t call for the faithful to cross themselves after receiving Communion. If a person wants to do it, as a personal act of piety, there is nothing that stops him, however.
The Church asks that we receive Communion reverently, either by slightly bowing before receiving (if we receive standing up) or by kneeling (which is always an option). Communicants should respond with “Amen” when the minister says, “The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ.”
One word of caution regarding crossing oneself: It isn’t advisable to do it too quickly after receiving Communion. If a person raises his hand too quickly to cross himself, he risks striking the ciborium or chalice, which could cause an accident with the Eucharist. Before making the sign of the cross it is better for the communicant to wait a second for some distance to open up between himself and the minister.
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I don’t sign myself after receiving. When I’ve received I have Jesus with me. If He was visiting me in my home I wouldn’t be distracted by looking at His picture instead of conversing with my honored guest. Signs & pictures are wonderful but only when I don’t have Jesus, Himself.