Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
“Not to oppose error is to approve it, and not to defend the truth is to suppress it” – Pope St. Felix III
Note: In this report I may occasionally use bold print, CAPS, Italics, or word underlining for emphasis. This will be my personal emphasis and not that of the source that I am quoting. Numbers beginning my footnotes are my personal library numbering system.
I read with interest your response to the inquiry from India regarding who may expose the Blessed Sacrament. The local parish in the small town where I live in Arizona built a small glass-enclosed “chapel” or room near the main entrance to the church for the sole purpose of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This room has a doorway into the vestibule of the church and also a separate outdoor entrance that has a combination lock. The Blessed Sacrament is reposed in a shallow tabernacle with a built-in “monstrance” framing a large host. The metal front doors to this tabernacle (which have no lock) can be swung open at any time to expose the Sacrament within. As you can imagine this is extremely convenient as one can stop by any time (24/7), open the doors oneself and adore for any length of time – usually alone – and simply close the doors when finished. Is this procedure licit or proper? The parish priest claims it is, but this parish also has a standing labyrinth* just outside the church entrance as a “method of finding Christ in your life” and regularly sponsors centering prayer* workshops. My family attends Sunday Mass at the much more orthodox parish in the next town 20 miles away at which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed by the priest for an hour on Friday mornings with benediction upon reposing. This is very difficult to attend with my work schedule, so the nearer parish is where I have been going for adoration, but it doesn’t feel right and lately I have been spending time with Our Lord, but keeping the doors shut. Thank you for responding to my inquiry. Eugene Grandy
“Exposition is a manner of honouring the Holy Eucharist, by exposing It, with proper solemnity, to the view of the faithful in order that they may pay their devotions before It.”
The procedure that
you described has been tried in other parishes. In one parish within my diocese they had the same procedure but our bishop required it to be stopped. The reason was that some people unintentionally disobeyed the rubrics and left the Blessed Sacrament alone with the privacy door open and no one in the chapel in adoration. I used to go to this adoration chapel and, on occasion, when I arrived after midnight the previous person had gone home and left the monstrance privacy door open. Thus the Blessed Sacrament was left exposed with no one present in adoration.
The Church distinguishes between private and public Expositions of the Blessed Sacrament; and though the former practice is hardly known in northern Europe, or in America, it is clearly within the competence of a parish priest to permit such private exposition for any good reason of devotion, by opening the tabernacle door and allowing the ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament to be seen by the worshipers. There is, however, in this case no enthroning of the Blessed Sacrament or use of a monstrance. Public Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament may not take place without the permission, express or implied, of the ordinary. In English-speaking countries, a monstrance is almost always used when the Blessed Sacrament is set upon Its throne, but in Germany, one frequently sees simply the ciborium, covered of course with its veil.
“A certain solemnity and decorum in the matter of lights upon the altar, incense, music, and attendance of worshipers is also required, and bishops are directed to refuse permission for public Exposition where these cannot be provided for.”
“As long as the Eucharist is reserved in churches and oratories, Christ is truly the Emmanuel, that is, ‘God with us’. Day and night He is in our midst; full of grace and truth He dwells among us. No one therefore may doubt that all the faithful show this Holy Sacrament the veneration and adoration that is due to God Himself, as has always been the practice recognized in the Catholic Church. Nor is the Sacrament to be less the object of adoration on the grounds that it was instituted by Christ the Lord to be received as food.”
“Adoration in the monstrance helps the adorers concentrate on the Eucharistic mystery but does not make the adoration essentially different from worship offered to Our Lord in the tabernacle.”
“Holy Church requires the presence of one or more people with the Blessed Sacrament anytime that it is exposed.”
“Pastors should see that churches and public oratories where, in conformity with the law, the Holy Eucharist is reserved, are open every day for at least several hours, at a convenient time, so that the faithful may easily pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The presence of the Eucharist in the tabernacle is to be shown by a veil or in another suitable way determined by competent authority. According to traditional usage, an oil lamp or lamp with a wax candle is to burn constantly near the tabernacle as a sign of the honor shown to the Lord.”
“If exposition of the Blessed Sacrament goes on for a day or for several successive days, SOME
“This kind of exposition (referring to ongoing exposition of the Blessed Sacrament) may take place, with the consent of the local Ordinary, only if there is assurance of the participation of a reasonable number of the faithful.”
So, when a lone Adorer forgets to close an Adoration Chapel Tabernacle privacy door and leaves, our Lord is left exposed with no one in adoration which then makes it a violation of the aforementioned rubric.
“Christ is equally adored in the tabernacle and the pyx as in the monstrance. Adoration in the monstrance helps adorers concentrate on the Eucharistic mystery but does not make the adoration essentially different from worship offered to Our Lord in the (closed) tabernacle.”
In summary, it is possible to provide individual exposed adoration as you suggest with the local ordinary’s permission. However, problems that I have demonstrated do occur which, in some cases, has caused the privilege to be discontinued. We must be extremely careful to not take the Blessed Sacrament for granted and to obey the adoration rubrics without question!
If you need further information please ask.
*The labyrinth and Centering Prayer are New Age- Michael
This report prepared on August 29, 2011 by Ronald Smith, 11701 Maplewood Road, Chardon, Ohio 44024-8482, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may copy and distribute this report as desired to anyone as long as the content is not altered and it is copied in its entirety. In this little ministry I do free Catholic and occult related research and answer your questions. Questions are answered in this format with detailed footnotes on all quotes. If you would like to be on my list to get a copy of all Q &A’s I do, please send me a note. If you have a question(s), please submit it to this landmail or e-mail address. Answers are usually forthcoming within one week.
Can a layperson expose the Blessed Sacrament*?
17 August, 2012
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
From a reader:
I have an adoration chapel nearby that presents the Blessed Sacrament in a beautiful tabernacle / monstrance with a hinged door that opens to showcase the Consecrated Host. It is behind a small altar on a raised, sanctuary-like platform.
Am I allowed to “open / close” this door? I was told by a parishioner that I could, but I honestly don’t feel as though it’s proper for me to touch this vessel – even if it’s for adoration purposes.
Instead, I’ve been sitting in the chapel by myself in front of the closed monstrance. I don’t think that lessens my ability to pray, but I’d like to properly adore Christ, too. I don’t know if I can approach or not. I feel like if I can’t touch an actual monstrance, I can’t touch an adoration tabernacle.
There is a document called Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass (par. 82-100) that covers this situation. This document provides that laypersons may – under certain conditions – expose the Blessed Sacrament in the absence of a bishop, a priest or a deacon.
The ordinary minister for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is a bishop, a priest or a deacon. They are also the only ones permitted to give Benediction (Blessing) of the Blessed Sacrament.
However, in the absence of a bishop, a priest or a deacon – or I suppose if the cleric present is physically unable to do so – the following lay people are permitted publicly to expose publicly expose and publicly to repose the Blessed Sacrament:
-an installed Acolyte
-an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion
-a member of a religious community or of a pious association of laymen or laywomen dedicated to Eucharistic adoration who has been appointed by the local Ordinary
These people may open the tabernacle and put a ciborium on an altar or put the lunette with a Host in a monstrance. They may then, consequently, repose the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.
So, if you are going to be involved in this, meet with the pastor of the parish where this chapel is or contact the local bishop (who will probably refer you back to the parish priest). You cannot be an Acolyte, for only men are admitted to that ministry, but you could be an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Becoming an EMHC has a process. The pastor will know what it is.
And never… never… just assume that you can do this without checking with the pastor, just to be clear and sure.
Readers have written 32 responses
*See also pages 24-27 and 31-32
Placement of the tabernacle
August 27, 2004
I’ve been trying to figure out why some parishes place the tabernacle at the altar, while other newer ones (parishes) have the tabernacle off to the side in a separate room. It seems more logical to have it located at the altar (which is the focal point, the center), since that is the focus of the Mass. Whereas, placement in a separate room causes the focus on the tabernacle to be lost “off to the side,” so to speak, even though it might seem as if the side room is “special” place for people to privately worship. I’d like to learn more about the reasoning behind all this and if you’d kindly elaborate. -May
I believe that the idea for this started as a way to allow people to pray in quiet with the Blessed Sacrament in large famous churches which had great artwork that attracted many tourists/visitors. However this is not a problem for most small local parishes and so we should be seeing these “Blessed Sacrament chapels” rarely if at all.
Also, I agree completely with all your other comments. -Jacob Slavek
Placement of the tabernacle
September 1, 2004
Before the Council of Trent; the tabernacle was in a separate room in most of the parishes, especially in the cathedrals. Crucifixes were on the altars against the wall-much like the one on the altar in St. Peter’s Basilica. Our churches were much like the High Church of England before the above mentioned Council.
Since the altars for the most part were attached the beautiful reredos- then historically speaking, the Tabernacles were never on the altar- only on the reredos. If you ever go into a church that still has its original complete High Altars- you will find them attached to the reredos. –Michael
Thank you for the input.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
September 16, 2004
I go to an adoration every Friday evening (Jesus in the Monstrance on the Altar) and usually I kneel but I wonder if is kneeling required or is it just encouraged, and sitting or standing OK?
They have 2 kneelers they put 3 feet in front of the altar and people go up there to kneel and pray before the Monstrance. Is this permissible?
The third thing is usually an extraordinary minister is the one who puts Jesus in the monstrance, then puts Him back in the tabernacle when adoration is over. He or she has the priest’s permission and the priest knows what is going on? –Isidore
Kneeling, sitting and standing are all fine for adoration. I would kneel until it is no longer comfortable then sit and begin reading. I don’t see a problem with kneelers near the altar.
The documents allow that a lay minister may expose and repose, but only in the absence of a priest or deacon. My question would be why is the priest absent? He should NOT be since he is the ordinary minister. It is his duty, it is part of his orders, and he should be there.
The referenced document is Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, n.91. -Jacob Slavek
Sleeping in front of the Blessed Sacrament See page 52
October 25, 2004
I’m an associate of a religious order, and once a month all of the associate’s gather with the religious for an “associate’s day.” We gather Friday night, sleep in their guest dorms, have overnight adoration, and then Saturday starts the associate’s day. Two women and I got permission to sleep in the chapel (the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a church, by chapel I mean a small chapel in a different building where the Blessed Sacrament is reposed in a Tabernacle.) We were told that this was okay so long as we were respectful and prayerful… no eating, no changing clothes, no hanging out, etc. Just praying and sleeping.
Recently we were told by a different priest that this isn’t allowed… he said there’s a part of Canon Law that says you can only sleep where there’s a Tabernacle in certain circumstances, like if there’s no other option or if there’s an emergency. Is this correct? The priest who originally gave us permission to sleep in the chapel is very strict and to the T so I thought if there was anything wrong with it he would have told us… so now I’m curious. -Rosa
I didn’t see anything in Canon Law about sleeping during adoration, at the tabernacle or in church.
Sleeping in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or before Jesus in the tabernacle doesn’t strike me as being “respectful” or “prayerful”. I wouldn’t do it, unless it was an “accident” because I had been praying too long instead of going to bed. Church is for praying, bedrooms and dorms are for sleeping and also praying. –Jacob Slavek
Reserving and adoring the Blessed Sacrament
December 30, 2004
Can a youth group in a parish sit around the altar while Jesus is exposed in the monstrance? In some parishes, they go as far, in a prayer group, to sit around the altar while Jesus is exposed in the monstrance, and touch the altar cloth! Is this allowed? Can the young people of Lifeteen sit in the sanctuary for prayers when there is no exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance, and the tabernacle is on the high altar?
Who is allowed to expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament? I heard it was only Priests, Deacons and ordained acolyte; an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist may repose the Blessed Sacrament with special permission. Where could I get the rules on this very important subject? Many are making their own rules. -Anne
The document that contains the rite for exposition is “Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass”. Inside you will not find any rule about approaching the altar, but I would think that rule for Mass, found in Notitiae, would also apply to adoration and any other time.
During the liturgy of the Eucharist, only the presiding celebrant remains at the altar. The assembly of the faithful take their place in the Church outside the “presbyterium,” which is reserved for the celebrant or concelebrants and altar ministers: Notitiae 17 (1981) 61. See http://www.saint-mike.org/Library/Curia/Congregations/Worship/notitiae.html
You are correct about the minister of exposition; this is also found in the document.
I think many times a problem is that the “boundaries” of the sanctuary aren’t as clear as they should be, thus “inviting” anyone to come forward. –Jacob Slavek
Lay persons opening the tabernacle
March 1, 2005
I saw an episode of World Over Live on EWTN. Raymond Arroyo was interviewing Cardinal Francis Arinze. Cardinal Arinze implied that lay people opening the tabernacle was an abuse. This happens in my church on Sundays and Saturdays so I expressed my concerns to the parish priest. He said, he is trying to correct the problem but he can not change parish practice too quickly. I assumed that it might cause other problems if he did. If I continue to receive the Sacrament, am I committing a sin when lay people open the tabernacle to help dispense Communion? Should I leave the parish?
Another question: Should a woman be (almost) behind the altar during Consecration to ring Sanctus bells? Should I avoid the church until these things are corrected? I feel that I am being scrupulous. -George
Yes, this is an abuse, clarified in the new GIRM.
These ministers do not approach the altar before the priest has received Communion and always accept from the hands of the priest the vessel which contains either species of the Blessed Eucharist for distribution to the faithful. (n.162)
After the distribution of Communion, the priest himself immediately consumes at the altar any consecrated wine which happens to remain, but if there are extra consecrated hosts left, he either consumes them at the altar or carries them to the place designated for the reservation of the Eucharist. (n.163)
There are times when laypeople can open the tabernacle, but it should not be happening regularly on a weekly basis.
Yes a woman can serve in the sanctuary, provided that she’s fulfilling a licit role and not there pretending to “concelebrate”.
No, I don’t see any sin on your part but if you think it’s causing problems then yes move on. I really wouldn’t worry about it though. –Jacob Slavek
Taking pictures of the Blessed Sacrament
March 3, 2005
A friend told me she thought taking pictures of/near/around the exposed Blessed Sacrament was allowed. Is this true? Are there any rules/guidelines as far as that’s concerned? –Rosa
Yes, this is allowed. It would only be wrong to take a picture with the Blessed Sacrament if the Blessed Sacrament were not the subject of the photograph, such as a picture of a person with the monstrance in the background. I would find a better place. –Jacob Slavek
Abuse of the Blessed Sacrament
March 20, 2005
To my absolute horror, after Last Sunday’s Mass, the Deacon set up a TV set and VCR directly in front of the altar and Tabernacle and proceeded to show the RCIA candidates and catechumen a religious education video.
I see this as sacrilege. There is no excuse for using the chapel as a classroom, for ours is a big parish with lots of other available rooms. Also, what a bad example! The Deacon teaches the new Catholics that the Holy of Holies is no different than their living rooms! I am outraged.
Seeing this spectacle literally made me want to vomit.
This parish also conducts bible studies in the main chapels of the church, when other rooms are available. This also seems sacrilegious.
The Holy of Holies is not a town hall, a stage, a classroom, or a cafeteria. It is the Dwelling Place of God, and it is a place to offer Sacrifice.
I was taught that the rooms containing the Blessed Sacrament are holy, and that the only sounds coming from us should be in the form of prayer or song. I was taught not to have conversations with others within the vicinity of the Blessed Sacrament; unless absolutely necessary, and in the case of the latter, only in the form of low whispering.
What is your opinion? –Mary Ann
I think you are absolutely right, I feel that this should have been done in a classroom and not in the church. I agree with everything else you have said. –Jacob Slavek
Transparent tabernacle for the Blessed Sacrament
March 21, 2005
My parish has set up a perpetual adoration Chapel at the back of the Church in a separate room. The Church Tabernacle is now located in this Chapel. We do not have enough people coming to really call it perpetual adoration so the Tabernacle has been modified. When the outer brass door is opened the Eucharist is exposed in a small monstrance behind another inner Perspex door which is locked separately. The key to the outer brass door is hidden so that only the faithful know where it is. The inner door key is kept in a separate place all together. The idea is that you can come at any time of the day or night, open the outer door yourself and close it again when you are finished. To get in at night you need to know a code to open the front door of the Church. This means that a lot of the time only one person is in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Can you see any problems with this practise? -Peter
I have never heard of this before and I don’t believe the church has ever addressed it. However the Church HAS forbidden transparent tabernacles, and in my opinion this qualifies as a transparent tabernacle so in my judgment anyway this is wrong. If a parish does not have the resources to provide perpetual adoration, then it shouldn’t. –Jacob Slavek
Where have all the Tabernacles gone?
May 16, 2005
If our Lord is really and truly present in all the Tabernacles of the world, in body, blood, soul, and divinity, why have all the Tabernacles, been removed from the altars. Here in New Zealand our altars are bare. No pictures, statues, Tabernacle, usually no crucifix. Some churches do have some of the goodies, very few. Even the Carmelite nuns’ Church have removed their Tabernacle, it’s on the back wall from their altar. St Anthony’s, well take a sprint to the far left, way of the beaten track. If you really stretch yourself, you might get lucky to find something of an icon, but not much of anything worth raving about. No altar railings either. I sometimes think I would be better of in a paddock. How can they hold Holy Mass on the altar without the Tabernacle? They do. Would any one build a castle and omit the throne room and not invite the King as well and hold court without him? It seems like they have chucked the king outside and hold court without him except when they need a favour from him. Do you know if this Pope might sort this out? Or am I just blowing in the wind? –Bob
Yes I agree with much that you’ve said, I really don’t understand why so many priests would want to remove the tabernacle from the altar. Sure many think they have reasons but in my opinion they are really bad reasons. –Jacob Slavek
Tabernacle difficult to locate
May 24, 2005
I am very concerned about the recent reordering of the Catholic church of a parish a few miles from home, and where many years ago I went to school. I visited the church today while I was in the area, having not seen it since the interior underwent a major reordering about 18 months ago, and was dismayed by what I saw and wonder what the pastor (who was responsible for initiating and planning the changes) is trying to achieve.
The experience must be very similar to that of English Catholics in the 16th century who saw their familiar churches transformed to suit protestant worship at the Reformation.
The church in question is quite an imposing late Victorian building in a sort of Romanesque style. Until recently the interior was in keeping, with a main altar, two side altars, various statues on plinths next to pillars, etc. – very much a typical Catholic parish church.
I recall that in the early 1980’s, the old high altar was modified to suit post-conciliar usage, the mesa being separated from the old reredos and moved to the centre of the sanctuary as a free-standing altar. This was done very sympathetically, and all the original architectural elements were kept.
In the present reordering, the reredos has gone, the side altars have been removed completely, several statues appear to have vanished, and those that remain have been relocated to dark corners where it is literally impossible to see them fro the main body of the church, and, perhaps most worrying, the tabernacle, which used to be part of the old reredos, has been relocated in an obscure former aumbry in a wall at the side of the nave (I wanted to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and took several minutes to actually find where it was!).
In short, it seems to me that deliberate efforts have been made to obscure the distinctive Catholic elements of the building.
Is this an abuse? Should I be concerned? Would the Bishop be able to insist that at least the tabernacle and images be moved back to more prominent places? -Matthew
Well it’s entirely possible that deliberate efforts HAVE been made to obscure the Catholic elements, which of course would be horrible. I believe the bishop would have the authority to insist that the tabernacle and images be moved back since that’s where they belong in the first place. He also could insist that the other changes be undone. I would express to both the pastor of the parish as well as the bishop how disappointed I would be with the changes. –Jacob Slavek
Blessed Sacrament adoration chapel/Holy Communion service [outside Mass]
February 2, 2009
We have an Adoration Chapel which has recently been redecorated. A few changes have caused debate and our objective is to do what is correct.
1. The crucifix, previously located on the wall just above the monstrance is now to one side of the altar. On the other side is a picture of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Many people have requested the crucifix be returned to the previous location.
2. The altar, previously away from the wall, allowing space behind for the lay person to conduct the weekly Communion Service, has been moved against the wall and a table is brought in for the Communion Service.
3. The ciborium is removed from the tabernacle and placed on the altar before the Communion Service begins rather than going to the tabernacle at the time of the distribution of Holy Communion. Are there guidelines for the placing of the crucifix, the use of the altar or a table for the Communion Service and whether the ciborium should be brought into the Chapel before the start of the Communion Service? –Cyril
The document that addresses Holy Communion outside Mass is “Eucharistiae Sacramentum” known in English as “Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass”. It handles both “communion services” and Eucharistic adoration. It is available here: http://www.saint-mike.org/library/Curia/Congregations/Worship/Eucharistiae_Sacramentum.html
To answer your questions, the document doesn’t mention the place for the crucifix or altar. I would say that since the Mass is also celebrated in your chapel that whatever is suitable for Mass would be the same for Holy Communion outside Mass.
Eucharistiae Sacramentum DOES mention that the ciborium is removed from the tabernacle and placed on the ALTAR (does not say table) at a specific point during the rite, NOT beforehand.
For some reason the online edition of the document omits the actual rites, but both the short and long rite mention that the ciborium is removed “after the prayer”. I’ll quote from the long rite:
“After the prayer the minister goes to the place where the sacrament is reserved, takes the ciborium or pyx containing the body of the Lord, places it on the altar and genuflects. He then introduces the Lord’s prayer…” (n.30, in the short rite similar wording is used in n.45). –Jacob Slavek
Blessed Sacrament – guidelines for proper adoration
October 29, 2007
Our parish will be hosting a men’s retreat and I will be setting up an Adoration Chapel where folks can come in and out of at any time during the retreat to spend time with the “real presence” of Christ. I know that there is some definite protocol to follow (like not leaving the Monstrance uncovered when “alone”, no eating or drinking in the chapel, etc.), but can you provide me with some guidelines to instruct the men on for this? –Sean
You will need to coordinate Adoration with your parish priest. If I remember correctly, you cannot remove the Eucharist from the Tabernacle and place it in the monstrance or return it to the Tabernacle — a priest must do that.
Once the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, it can never be left alone unless it is covered. Proper decorum is to be maintained in the Chapel — no chit-chatting, no food, etc.
Your priest should be able to provide you with the full particulars.
Here are the Rules of Conduct for the Adoration Chapel provided by St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Shreveport, Louisiana:
GUIDELINES AND RULES FOR PERPETUAL EUCHARISTIC ADORATION CHAPEL CONDUCT
So that all may adore Our Lord without distraction, please consider:
RESPECT for Our Lord is displayed in the following ways:
1. Because the Eucharist is exposed, genuflect on two knees upon entering the Lord’s presence.
2. Be mindful of proper, respectful attire.
3. Greet a fellow adorer with a smile or quiet hello if appropriate; then spend your hour in reverent silence.
4. No spontaneous, unscheduled events or sermonizing is allowed.
5. Never eat or drink in the chapel, including chewing gum.
6. No radios, CD or tape players are allowed. If it is necessary to bring a cellular phone, please set it to “vibrate,” and take emergency calls outside the chapel.
7. Prayerful silence is required at all times. Thus, please do not bring children who are not able to sit still for an hour. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Loud praise before the Blessed Sacrament
April 28, 2008
If it is my shift at Exposed Adoration and nobody is there except Jesus and I, could I sing some of my favourite hymns out loud in praise, or should I still remain silent? I know we may sing during Benediction when there is a service, but can I sing in His presence during Exposed Adoration if it is only Jesus and I there and it won’t bother anyone else?
May I sing hymns to Jesus if I am alone in Unexposed Adoration when He is reserved in the Tabernacle? What if a small group of us all wanted to sing together in Unexposed Adoration when there is no Benediction? Is that OK? -Trevor
As long as no one else is present except you, or you and your group, you may sing to your heart’s content.
Obviously if someone else were to come in you will need to respect their desire and need to pray and thus remain silent. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Online adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
April 15, 2009
There is this website http://www.savior.org/ that has Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament online. Is this allowed and is there any value in spending time before the Blessed Sacrament online?
My problem I think would be the distractions one may have while doing this. Phone ringing, which of course one may disconnect the phone, but outside noises, somebody at door, cars zooming by, timer going of if one is preparing meals, or if one has children keeping an eye and ear alert for them, etc. etc. -Chas
We have this webcam of the Blessed Sacrament embedded on our website. This is a wonderful way to use technology to take a brief moment to adore our Lord.
A virtual Adoration, however, is no replacement for direct and personal presence before our Lord at your local parish.
Having a web cam upon the tabernacle or exposed Blessed Sacrament would be more equivalent of have a picture on the wall you can gaze at from time to time to remind yourself of our Lord and to love Him. This is one step up from the picture in that it is a live broadcast. A grace comes from that — Our Lord is not limited as to time and space. But, nothing can replace “being there” personally to bask in the rays of the Son.
But, especially for those who cannot make it to the local parish, for whatever reasons, this technology gives them an opportunity to gaze upon our Lord in Adoration. As for the distractions, perhaps one can only offer this kind of Adoration for a few minutes. God understands.
One may, however, plan this out carefully by turning off the phone, a do not disturb on the door, turning off the doorbell, doing it when kids are at school or getting a babysitter, shutting the door to where the computer is at (or having the babysitter take the kids to the park or to a movie). In other words, it is possible to plan things to provide quiet time to adore our Lord. Those plans can also facilitate going to the local parish, too. But, for shut-in, the infirmed, those without transportation, etc. may be plan a time for quiet adoration at home with our Lord on webcam. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
What is Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament?
June 1, 2009
What is Benediction? –Marie
Benediction is when the exposed Blessed Sacrament is reposed to the Tabernacle. As explained by Fr. William Saunders in his article, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament:
The ritual for exposition and benediction as presented most recently by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship (1973) basically follows this ritual: The priest places the Blessed Sacrament in a monstrance or ostensorium on the altar for adoration. (A ciborium containing the Blessed Sacrament may also be used, but the monstrance allows one to view the holy Eucharist.) At this time, a hymn of praise (such as O Salutaris Hostia) is sung as the priest incenses the Blessed Sacrament.
During the period of adoration, the faithful may pray in quiet and foster a deeper spiritual communion with the Lord. However, the adoration period should also include prayers, such as a novena or Liturgy of the Hours, and readings from sacred Scripture accompanied perhaps by a homily or exhortation to increase the understanding of the Eucharistic mystery.
At the end of the period of adoration, the priest again incenses the Blessed Sacrament as a hymn of praise is sung (such as Tantum Ergo), and then blesses the congregation with the Blessed Sacrament, making the sign of the cross. After the blessing, the priest reposes the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Blessed Sacrament left unattended
March 22, 2010
Why is it bad to leave the Blessed Sacrament exposed by itself? Some times I go to the chapel in the mornings and the doors to the Blessed Sacrament are left open without anyone being in there. There’s even a sign on the door saying to close it. –Bruce
Eucharisticum Mysterium, nos. 63, 64, 65, indicates that Eucharistic Exposition is to be celebrated only if there is an “assurance of the participation of a reasonable number of faithful” to be present to adore the Blessed Sacrament.
When Eucharistic Exposition is celebrated the host is exposed usually in a monstrance for the specific purpose of adoration from the Faithful. When not exposed the Eucharist is “reposed” in the tabernacle.
To bring our Lord from the tabernacle for exposition and no one is there to adore Him, adoration is not happening and it is profoundly rude to our Lord. We are not to neglect our Lord who has been exposed specifically for adoration.
There is also a practical matter in that if no one is there then who is guarding the Blessed Sacrament from abuse or theft.
It is an issue of respect for our Lord. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Priest giving talks with the Blessed Sacrament exposed
May 30, 2010
I tried to look up the rightness of a rather common practice, especially among charismatically-oriented groups in certain lands, of the priests giving talks with Eucharist exposed on the altar; I do not remember seeing this practice hardly at all here and thus the concern if this too is a practice that has crept in without much thought given to the aspect of reverence! I would appreciate if you could cite any guidelines on this from the Church.
Having seen how edifying it is to see the priest kneeling and praying in front of the Lord on the altar, incensing the altar etc. like we see on EWTN, it has been bothersome to sit and listen to at times even emotional yelling of some priests right next to the Eucharistic Lord ! –Philo
According to the Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, prayer, songs, readings, and time of silent prayer during Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament are permissible. A homily from the readings may be included, I think, during Exposition.
The purpose of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is to adore our Lord. To expose the Sacrament just for benediction, or for a meeting, mission, or other presentation is not proper. “Giving talks” is not a homily and thus is improper.
Proper decorum during the Exposition should be maintained at all times.
I am not surprised that Charismatic groups violate this decorum. These groups often seem to think they have rules to themselves apart of the rest of the Church. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
June 4, 2010
In your response to Philo on May 30 you stated “To expose the Sacrament just for Benediction or for a meeting, mission, or other presentation is not proper.”
So my question is this. The parish I used to belong to on the first Friday of the month, right after Mass, the priest will have Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. Is this not allowed?
Also during Lent, after the Stations of the Cross again there is Benediction with the singing of O Salutaris, etc and of course always followed by the Blessed Be God Litany and final songs after reposing the Blessed Sacraments.
Is this OK? Or are you talking of simply having Benediction with no other service involved? -Carlos
What the Church is talking about concerning prohibiting Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament just for Benediction is to curb the abuse of exposing the Blessed Sacrament only for a few minutes just to have Benediction.
Benediction should be the end of a period of Exposition. We are not to have Benediction just to be having Benediction.
Benediction is not an “after-mass” rite. Benediction ends a period of Eucharistic Adoration.
If there was a period of Adoration before the Mass took place, the Benediction should have concluded the period of Adoration, then after the Benediction the Mass may begin. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament cannot take place during a Mass (Canon Law 941.2).
The USCCB was asked this question about the Stations of the Cross. The short answer is “no”, it is not permitted to have the Stations during Adoration. Here is the full text:
May the Stations of the Cross be prayed during Eucharistic Adoration? I thought that the focus was on Jesus present on the altar and not on his passion. Please clarify this for me?
Regarding the praying of the stations of the cross during eucharistic exposition, I would refer you to numbers 15-16 of the Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, which is a convenient collection of the rubrics and directives of the liturgical books regarding eucharistic exposition and benediction:
“During the exposition there should be prayers, songs, and readings to direct the attention of the faithful to the worship of Christ the Lord. To encourage a prayerful spirit, there should be readings from Scripture with a brief homily or exhortations to develop a better understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. It is also desirable for the people to respond to the word of God by singing and to spend some periods of time in religious silence (See Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass, number 95).”
“Part of the liturgy of the hours, especially the principal hours, may be celebrated before the blessed sacrament, when there is a lengthy period of exposition., This liturgy extends the praise and thanksgiving offered to God in the eucharistic celebration to the several hours of the day; it directs the prayers of the Church to Christ and through him to the Father in the name of the whole world. (See Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass, number 96).”
Note that these two paragraphs are taken from Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass, which is a part of the Roman Ritual.
In the light of these directives, the Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist provides several settings for the Liturgy of the Hours and two Eucharistic Services of Prayer and Praise. These liturgies are designed to “acknowledge Christ’s marvelous presence in the sacrament and invites us to the spiritual union with him that culminates in sacramental communion.” (Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, number 7)
Eucharistic exposition and benediction are no longer considered devotions, but rather are a part of the Church’s official liturgy. Whereas in the past benediction was frequently added on to the end of another service or devotion, this is no longer permitted. Eucharistic exposition and benediction is a complete liturgical service in its own right and is to be celebrated as such. (My emphasis)
The Stations of the Cross is an ancient and venerable devotion which is designed to foster a devotion to and meditation on the mystery of the Passion of Christ. As commendable as such a devotion may be, it can never fulfill the purpose of Eucharistic adoration, that is to draw us more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, neither the Stations of the Cross nor any other devotion should be prayed during exposition of the Eucharist. (My emphasis)
I would strongly encourage anyone involved in the planning of Eucharistic devotions to bear in mind that the purpose of all exposition is adoration of Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament. The liturgies which the Church provides for us in the Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist should provide the basis for all solemn Eucharistic worship. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
June 6, 2010
I just read your last comment,
“Therefore, neither the Stations of the Cross nor any other devotion should be prayed during exposition of the Eucharist” and I have a question:
At my local adoration chapel, a small group of people offer devotions in Italian which include the rosary. How can “prayer, songs, readings” as you mentioned in your first post be included but no devotions can be included? Praying the rosary brings us closer to Jesus through Mary.
Is the solemn exposition of the Holy Eucharist not the time to pray the rosary or other devotions?
Well the short answer is “because the Church says so.”
As the document says:
Whereas in the past benediction was frequently added on to the end of another service or devotion, this is no longer permitted. Eucharistic exposition and benediction is a complete liturgical service in its own right and is to be celebrated as such. (My emphasis)
The Stations of the Cross is an ancient and venerable devotion which is designed to foster a devotion to and meditation on the mystery of the Passion of Christ. As commendable as such a devotion may be, it can never fulfill the purpose of Eucharistic adoration, that is to draw us more deeply into the mystery of Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, neither the Stations of the Cross nor any other devotion should be prayed during exposition of the Eucharist. (My emphasis)
The purpose of Adoration, which is a liturgy, is to Adore our Lord, not to perform devotions to our Blessed Mother, or do the Stations of the Cross, or any other devotion.
As an official liturgy, it is not a personal devotion to which we can do anything we want. As liturgy the Church regulates it. Period.
This is reminiscent to the old liturgical abuse of little ‘ol ladies praying the rosary during the Mass. That was improper and illicit. The Celebration of the Holy Eucharist is not a time for personal devotions.
As the old adage says, “The proper tool for the proper job.” Our job in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is to Adore our Lord, alone. One can honor our Lady and our Lord in these personal devotions at any time. For the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, adoration is the only devotion.
Or to be biblical, the Bible teaches us: (Ecclesiastes 3:1) “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a season and time for adoration, not personal devotions.
The rosary, by the way, does not make us closer to Jesus through Mary, when Jesus is directly in front of us. When Jesus is right there in front of us, as in the Mass and in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, there is no need to “go through Mary” and our Blessed Mother would tell us that herself since she never looks to herself, but always points to her Son. In this case the “pointing” isn’t needed since He is literally before our eyes.
The bottom line: If one does not understand the Church’s reasoning here, is obedience. As St. Augustine, doctor of the Church, said, “Lord, those are your best servants who wish to shape their life on Your answers rather than to shape your answers on their wishes.” –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
June 7, 2010
Your replies regarding Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament has opened a can of wormy questions, at least for me. I want to fully understand this correctly.
“For solemn exposition, the host should be consecrated in the Mass which immediately precedes the exposition and after communion should be placed in the monstrance on the altar. The Mass ends with the prayer after communion, and the concluding rites are omitted. Before the priest leaves, he may place the Blessed Sacrament on the throne and incense it. #14, OSEHE”
Is there a difference between “solemn exposition” and “exposition” or is all exposition considered solemn? Is this assuming that there will be a period of exposition after the Mass and is the usual blessing of the Mass omitted? Sorry, but I’m confused on this.
“During the exposition there should be prayers, songs, and readings to direct the attention of the faithful to the worship of Christ the Lord. To encourage a prayerful spirit, there should be readings from Scripture… #15, OSEHE”
In my parish, every first Friday we have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from starting at 7:00 am with no mass beforehand and then concluding at 6PM with mass following immediately. I sign up many times to go for an hour and in most cases I’m the only one there and I wait till somebody else arrives to take over for me. I don’t have a set of prayers but I just like to look at our Lord, love him, talk to him, praise him in awe, contemplate on his greatness, by thinking with, Him in mind, how vast the universe is, and that He is at the farthest known reaches of the universe and beyond that but still resides in all his splendor, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist, adore him for his greatness and silently sing songs of praise. Is this OK?
The reason is because you state “As an official liturgy, it is not a personal devotion to which we can do anything we want. As liturgy the Church regulates it. Period.”
So what about all these churches that have Perpetual Adoration and people just go to an Adoration Chapel where Our Lord is exposed and spending a few minutes or an hour in adoration.
Also you state “As liturgy the Church regulates it.” I have yet to see any type of regulation anywhere at any church regarding this.
“Processions within the body of a church are no longer permitted.”
Wow!! I didn’t know this was not allowed. I know this is done in many Churches especially yesterday in my church where there was procession around the church inside with several altar servers some carrying the crucifix, others carrying torches, thurifers with incense, two priests two deacons followed by the priest carrying the Monstrance and four men carrying a canopy, after which the final blessing was given by the priest with the Blessed Sacrament. At another Church something similar is done every year but there is a procession to an altar in courtyard outside, a blessing is given, and then the procession goes back into the Church where another blessing is given. Are these not allowed anymore?
“At the end of the period of adoration, before reposition, he blesses the people with the sacrament.”
Must the priest or deacon always bless the people with the sacrament at the end of adoration? I know in many churches the priest or deacon will simply go and repose the sacrament without giving a blessing. –Chas
I cannot speak for all the abuses local parishes do to the liturgy or why they do them. All I can do is tell you what the Church says. St. Augustine says, “Lord, those are your best servants who wish to shape their life on Your answers rather than to shape your answers on their wishes.”
If the Church says it is to be done a certain way then that is the way it is to be done. There is no debate to be had.
Some priests I suppose are ignorant of the liturgical rules. But, as priests they have a solemn responsibility to know the liturgical laws and approved rubrics. Thus, I have little sympathy for a priest who says he doesn’t know. It is his job to know. For a priest who does know and ignores the rules, double shame on him. He is most likely committing a grave sin in his rebellion.
As for what you do when you go to Adoration, what you are doing is perfectly okay. It is laudable in fact. One can pray or just meditate upon our Lord. What is illicit is to do is other devotions, such as the rosary, or devotions to this or that saint. Our time with our Lord is to be spent with our Lord, not ignoring Him in favor of some other saint, even His mother.
The regulations about “prayers, songs, and readings to direct the attention of the faithful to the worship of Christ the Lord” pertains to when there are a group of people there such at the beginning of Adoration period. Then the rest of the day individual adorers, like you, may sit before our Lord in prayer, meditation, and adoration.
As for seeing regulations on this, I cited the regulations and linked to the site of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and referenced the documents, the Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass and the Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist. What more is needed? –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Sleeping in front of the Blessed Sacrament See page 44
April 10, 2012
I spend an hour every week in Eucharistic Adoration and have been doing so for a few years. Lately, meaning the last couple of months, I seem to be starting to feel very tired, to the point of dozing off – although I usually fight it off fairly well. This past Easter Sunday, I just plain fell asleep for awhile during my hour. I think there were 1 or 2 people in the chapel with me at the time and I have no idea if I disturbed them. I was up late the previous evening doing work and didn’t get much sleep so I think I need to fix that for certain. Initially, I was thinking that Jesus would understand but the more I think about it, it may have been sinful because my behavior was probably witnessed by others. In addition, I may be guilty of the same thing the Apostles did while waiting before Jesus in the garden – except this was on Easter Sunday.
Is this a sin? What do you think is the best way to make amends? -Patrick
There is no sin in falling asleep during Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. God understands your being tired. In fact, what better place to find rest than before our Lord?
When the Apostles fell asleep they did not sin. Jesus said, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” The urgency in prayer that was needed by the Apostles whereby they should not have fallen to sleep was the upcoming arrest, torture, and death of their master. Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” The temptation that was about to come was denying Jesus when he was arrested and sent to the Cross. St. Peter specifically denied his master, others ran away. They needed to pray that they would not fall into such temptation, but the Apostles did not fully understand what was about to happen, and their “spirit was willing, but their body was weak.” They fell asleep at a time that they needed to be alert.
That is not the same situation you are in today. During your time in Adoration you can do what you want — pray, meditate, contemplate, read, etc. It is time spent at the feet of our Lord. Falling asleep once-in-awhile at the feet of our Lord is not a bad thing. You have committed no sin. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Online exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
July 12, 2012
I came upon a website which claims to have a live image of our Lord’s presence. It’s an online perpetual Eucharistic adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. What’s your opinion?
The website is www.savior.org. –Mary
Savior.org is providing a wonderful service to have a live webcam directed at the Blessed Sacrament. Jesus healed long distance, when the Pope gives a blessing that blessing also applies to all who are watching him on TV, even if the TV broadcast is not live, thus this is no different.
Obviously, nothing can replace personally sitting before our Lord in the Sacrament, but we can still receive a grace and blessing from gazing upon our Lord over the Internet. After all this is really Him, this is the real Eucharist. Savior.org I think receives a great grace from God for offering this opportunity to those who may not be able to adore our Lord in person.
By the way, we have the savior.org webcam of the Eucharist in one of our Contemplation Chapels. –Bro. Ignatius Mary OMSM
Praying in tongues aloud before the Blessed Sacrament
December 3, 2012
It is my understanding that one must give each soul a quiet time period to say to the Lord, “Speak Lord thy servant is listening”. For anyone, be he priest or laymen, to interrupt, with a sanctimonious display of holiness pretending to speak in tongues, or even, to do, or say, anything that could disrupt so fine an encounter with our Lord, I believe is guilty of a blasphemous act.
What I find most amazing is that those people, many of whom boast that they are Charismatic, and thus, speak often, and freely, in tongues, no one understands, whenever, and wherever they choose to do so. However, what they fail to acknowledge is the fact that St. Paul has said that the Holy Spirit would never permit anyone to speak in tongues unless there was someone present to interpret what was being said. –John
I agree with you that the adoration chapel, or the nave of the Church with the Blessed Sacrament on the Altar, wherever Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament takes place, should be a place of solemn silence. God tell us in the Bible, “Be Still and Know that I am God.”
In terms of the Adoration Chapel, if one is alone, there is no problem praying or reading out loud, or even singing if the Spirit moves. But, if others are present, then courtesy and consideration of others comes into play. One should then pray, read, or even sing only within their own minds. Even whispering can be a problem. Silence should be the rule.
Rather than getting bent out of shape when the silence is broken, pray for these people. Under no circumstance should one get mad and certainly one should not commit the crime (grave sin) of rash judgment. John, to characterize these people as who inappropriately speak in tongues during Adoration as a “sanctimonious display of holiness” is utterly inappropriate for you to say. It is rash judgment since you do not know their hearts. I suggest your need to confess this crime in the Sacrament of Confession.
As to your analysis of tongues itself, I agree to a point. There is a legitimate gift of tongues. It is just that most in the Charismatic Renewal never experience that, even if they think they do.
I wrote a major essay on this subject that was actually placed into our Rule of St. Michael. The essay details the pros and cons of the Renewal, quotes bishops and popes, and exposes what I call the Pentecostal contaminations that most, but not all, Catholic Charismatics allow into their thinking and practices.
Here is the link for that essay called, Charism Gifts Building up the Church.
Any suffering you experience because of these rude people, offer it up to God for them and for all, especially those who need God’s grace.
Categories: Liturgical Abuses