The precise moment to stand or kneel at Mass can be the cause for quite a bit of uncertainty and awkwardness. Here are some questions on the subject as well as a question on appropriate sports for children. Send in any question of your own!
Q. At the beginning of a Low Mass, when is the correct time to kneel?
A. Although there is no hard and fast rule about this, the best time to kneel is at the point when the priest genuflects and mounts up the altar steps to deposit the chalice on the altar.
Q. After the Leonine Prayers, when is it the correct to stand?
A. One stands with the priest right after the Prayers are finished.
Q. During Mass, at the elevation of the Host and Chalice, what is the best way to express our adoration?
A. There are no specific rules here. Bowing one's head making the Sign of the Cross are two good practices which were traditional in the Church: "The adoration of the Eucharistic Body and Blood of Christ during the sacrificial celebration was always customary in the Church. ( .... ) This adoration in the course of time differed ritually. According to the Roman Ordines and the Middle Age writers, up to the twelfth century mainly the bowing (inclination) of the head, or of the body, was prescribed as the sign and expression of adoration (....) [In the fourteenth century] the faithful recite at the Elevation, in most humble deportment, various aspirations, usually making the sign of the Cross and, in token of interior compunction, striking their breast." - Gihr: The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass p643-4.
Q. At the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, should we look up and adore Our Lord or should our heads bow in respect? Should we male the Sign of the Cross?
A. Again, there are no hard and fast rules here. Making the Sign of the Cross is a custom in some places, but it is not mandatory. Whatever helps in making an act of adoration of the blessed Sacrament is good.
Q. When is the least time to approach the Communion Rail (to receive Holy Communion at Mass): during the Confiteor or after? If one did so too late would you rant risk keeping the priest waiting?
A. The best time for the faithful to approach the Communion rail is just after the Domini non sum dignus
In the case of a Sung Mass it is customary for the choir to approach earlier in order for them to sing the Communion.
Q. What kind of sports should Catholic children participate in? Surely for boys, soccer, baseball and tennis, for example, are better than boxing, karate, judo, etc. And I read somewhere that catholic girls should not participate in competitive sport. Is that true?
A. In the more `martial' sports like boxing, karate, etc., the intention behind them is all-important, as it conditions the way in which they are practised. Boys are naturally more aggressive than girls, and rightly so. Since it is that aggressiveness, well channelled, that will enable them to surmount the obstacles that stand in the way of their future role as breadwinners. A boy who has acquired the endurance, quick and cool thinking under pressure, and toughness against hard knocks, necessary to box well, will find them very useful later on. Girls, it is true. need this kind of training less as they are not, generally-speaking, intended for a gritty professional life, but there is no harm in the milder forms of competitive sport. 'they help form a spirit of co-operation and are fun, after all!