The chapel was dimly lit as female believers started walking in, each pausing to kneel on one knee before moving into the pew. One of them, a pregnant woman in her late twenties carefully bent down with her right hand holding onto the bench and her eyes looking straight ahead to the tabernacle.
Genuflection, an act of devotion by touching one knee to the ground is symbolized in the Catholic Church as a mark of respect in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. These days, however, it is uncommon to find most practitioners genuflecting in churches. At most, churchgoers cross themselves upon entry into their place of worship.
In Opus Dei’s New York headquarters at 139 East 34 Street, all the believers who came for a spiritual retreat in the center genuflect.
“Every time I enter the church, I see the Blessed Sacrament as the person I look up to,” said Isabel Munarriz, 29, an attorney based in the city.
“It’s not a piece of bread, it’s a person who is there,” she added.