I think there must be a new Olympic event that many Catholic parishes are preparing for. It seems that no matter what parish I go to I observe what must be some form of training. This form of training occurs after Communion. What I refer to is Synchronized Sitting.
You might ask what Synchronized Sitting is? This is when everybody sits at the same time after Communion. The event is normally synchronized to occur at the same time as the priest/deacon finishes the purification of the sacred vessels and sits down. If the Deacon purifies the vessels and the priest sits down for a time of reflection, then people don’t sit down yet. A blind person would know just when the purification of the sacred vessels is complete by the sound of everybody sitting down at once.
It is interesting how these strange non-rubrics occur in the liturgy and become common practice. People just take their cues from others for the most part.
Now as you might expect Synchronized Sitting is not referenced in the GIRM. In fact after Communion the GIRM says:
they may sit or kneel while the period of sacred silence after Communion is observed.
So people may choose as what they feel most conductive to this sacred silence after Communion. If they choose to sit they may sit immediately after returning to the pew. No need to wait for the purification of the sacred vessels to be completed and the last man in the sanctuary is seated.
I myself prefer to remain kneeling until the concluding rites. Though with everybody else sitting down I would stick up like a sore thumb. “Oh look at Mr. Pious there remaining kneeling while everybody else is sitting down.” So I normally sit down at the same time as everybody else. Pew pressure don’t you know.
What I also find funny when the Deacon does the purification, often what happens is that once the Deacon sits down the priest stands up for the concluding rite. So you have this awkward everybody sitting down and then seconds later everybody standing up. Pew calisthenics. “Kneel, Sit, Stand” to get your heart rate going and warming up I guess for the mad dash to the parking lot you so often see at the end of Mass.
Maybe we need to use the same system they use for live TV shows to indicate to the audience what to to. The Rubric Information System (RIS) could be placed unobtrusively in the church, maybe above the hymn indication sign so often used. The RIS could make it clear to people what the acceptable rubrics are for that part of the Mass to end confusion. The messages in the RIS would be standard so that parishes could not use the RIS for GIRM-defying phony rubrics. After Communion the sign would go to:
In fact for special occasions when people really want to praise someone we can turn on this message.
After all what do we have that He has not given us? Reciting the Te Deum Laudamus would be perfect in these cases.