Catholics are called to bow to such honored personages and theological wonders, some by decree and some by tradition. A simple bow (in which the head is slightly inclined) is called particularly during formal liturgies whenever the Trinity is named, the name of Jesus is said, the Blessed Virgin, or the saint of the day. A bow is also our custom when approaching the Blessed Sacrament when receiving Him in communion, though some prefer the more profound bow. A profound bow (from the waist) is also called for during the Creed at the lines, “By the power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.” This is such an awesome concept, one that should never cease to amaze us, and so we mark it by this solemn gesture. When the Creed is sung and on some certain occasions such as Christmas, the bow is replaced by a genuflection.
When there is no Blessed Sacrament in a church, or when the tabernacle just happens to be empty for some reason, instead of genuflecting before entering your pew, one should make a profound bow to the altar which is then the primary symbol of Christ in the church.
By custom rather than by regulation is the bowing of one’s head whenever a Catholic Church is passed. Within the doors of that honored edifice is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not only a sign of respect for Him it helps remind us of His presence there.
(Hi Pat. I talked to Frank today. Have a great one.)