How Does Eucharistic Adoration Lead Us to the Eucharistic Sacrifice?

A Pray Tell reader writes with this question:

In light of Pope Francis celebrating Eucharistic Adoration on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, and calling for a world-wide participation in the event, a question has arisen. Is it appropriate to have Eucharist Adoration on a Sunday? The celebration of the Eucharist in the sacrifice of the Mass is the source and summit of the Christian Life. It seems that having a celebration of Eucharistic Adoration after a Sunday Mass downplays the primacy of the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist.

Similarly, I find it odd in the season of Lent for parishes to have a communal celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a Sunday afternoon or evening. Should not both Reconciliation and Eucharistic Adoration lead us TO the sacrifice of the Mass?

I am not opposed to Eucharistic Adoration, I just find it odd to have it after a Sunday liturgy. I would be curious to know other people’s thoughts on issue.

What do you think?

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74 comments

  1. I wouldn’t find it in the least bit odd or strange. Then again, I am a musician, so contrapuntal dimensionality is part of the air I breathe, and I am a cook, so I know how delightful it is to wallow in the presence of guests after they have enjoyed a meal, et cet.

    Would Vespers seem strange on a Sunday? Any other liturgical observance? Remember, the Mass is *part* of a larger warp and weft of liturgy and devotion. The only reason to consider it apart has to do with preceptual obligations – so perhaps the perspective is somehow ruddered by downstream legacies of the historical reduction of Mass to the juridical perspective?

    Also, don’t we adore the Blessed Sacrament after the liturgy of Holy Thursday?

    I could go on, but won’t for now.

  2. To re-emphasize one of Karl’s points (another musician here who loves contrapuntal dimensionality, also a cook) . . . our common, everyday interchangeability of the terms “liturgy” and “Eucharist” sometimes slops backwards into our reading of the conciliar documents. When CSL refers to “the liturgy” as source and summit, it is referring to that larger “warp and weft” Karl refers to, not exclusively the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
    I’ve come to learn that it’s always best to read and quote CSL when you’re sure you’re not having an outbreak of monoeucharistitis. (Thank you, Patrick Malloy, for that term – this is the third time this week I’ve gotten to use it!)

    1. @Alan Hommerding – comment #2:
      I don’t have the text in front of me, Alan, but doesn’t the Catechism “slop” backwards from the broad notion of “warp and weft” as source and summit in CSL (SC)? In any case, is not the worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass constitute part of the liturgical economy? (I think I’m agreeing with you.)

      1. @Kevin Vogt – comment #7:
        I was careful to refer only to the CSL, Kevin, and not to the Catechism or other post-conciliar documents. This is in part because I’ve not read them as thoroughly or frequently as CSL, also because I was being a bit cautionary that some of them do “slop backwards” from Liturgy meaning all of the Church’s rites for prayer. If I recall correctly, the US bishops’ first documents on music do the Liturgy=Eucharist equivalency sometimes as well. Worship of the Eucharist outside of Mass definitely is part of the Liturgy, our Source and Summit.

  3. While I think I understand the reason for asking the question, my reaction is to ask: how can it really be bad?

  4. I don’t see it as problematic either. To say that eucharistic adoration should lead TO the eucharistic liturgy is not a temporal reference. Why not see adoration following Mass as a way of drawing out what has just happened, in a secondary way, for further reflection, for entering more deeply into the mystery, for resting in and imbibing the gift of God’s presence and life received? Certainly it’s not the only way of doing so, but it’s one good way, and sure beats forgetting about it for a week.

    Adoration after Sunday Mass, one might say, no more “downplays the primacy of the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist” than a honeymoon downplays a wedding or a fine dessert downplays a fine meal.

  5. Considered properly, Eucharistic Adoration is an extended moment of the Mass. Obviously, there are abuses. I know someone who does not attend Mass but would not miss his weekly “adoration hour”. There will always be some degree of this kind of thing. But in general Eucharistic adoration can help us continue to savor the taste of “how good is the Lord”.

    1. @John Swencki – comment #5:
      “Considered properly, Eucharistic Adoration is an extended moment of the Mass”.

      I would disagree with this statement. In the eucharistic celebration the eucharistic presence is active. In eucharistic adoration the presence is in reserve and as such is a static presence. Adoration is in no way an extended moment of the mass. Adoration and worship of the eucharist takes place outside of the mass.I also think it is important to note that eucharistic adoration by an individual is a private devotional act. However, if eucharistic adoration includes exposition of the blessed sacrament it is a public liturgical action. As such that celebration is found in the rite Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass. I dont see any problem with adoration with exposition on Sunday as long as it follows the rite. The USCCB cites three reasons for the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: acknowledge Christ’s marvelous presence in the Sacrament, lead us to a deeper participation in the celebration of the eucharist, and to foster worship of Christ. I think this adoration and exposition would be better placed later in the afternoon on Sunday and not directly after mass.

      1. @Mike Burns – comment #24:
        Well, adoration on Sunday customarily was done in connection with vespers. When Mass could not be started after noon, as was the case for centuries, the need to pack the morning with Masses (at least in large parish communities) was such that there would not have been much time for adoration between them, though it could be scheduled after the last Mass. too.

      2. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #25:
        Good point Karl. The Rite of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass allows for the praying of the principal hours when the blessed sacrament is exposed. (96).

      3. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #25:

        Well, adoration on Sunday customarily was done in connection with vespers.

        While Vespers followed by Benediction may have been customary, I think I am right in saying that Evening Prayer during Exposition is actually forbidden now, When I return to my office, I will quote chapter and verse.

      4. @Paul Inwood – comment #34:
        No, it is not forbidden. In fact, it is one of the recommended options for communal prayer during the period of exposition… which is liturgy, not private devotion.

        From HOLY COMMUNION AND WORSHIP OF THE EUCHARIST OUTSIDE OF MASS
        96. 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.

        The resource from Liturgical Press, “Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist” contains rites for celebration of Evening Prayer (I and II) and Morning Prayer with / in the context of Exposition.

      5. @Paul Inwood – comment #34:
        “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).”

  6. I don’t see how Adoration after Mass can distract from the Mass. Adoration instead of Mass, on the other hand, certainly would.

    1. @Francesco Poggesi – comment #6:
      What about those who cannot receive Communion e.g those who are in irregular situations re marriage? At Adoration they could feel included in a way they might feel excluded at Mass.
      I appreciate that at Mass they would be present at the Offering (unlike Adoration) but with the emphasis on Communion they might find that difficult to appreciate.

  7. Just to add a counterpoint to my original comment:

    Let’s say you have a quickie recited Sunday Mass with little or no music, a perfunctory homily, and done with dispatch. Then you have an elaborate Eucharistic Adoration worthy of the most splendid Italian Quarant’Ore.

    Then, I can see a problem.

    But I am not worried about the likelihood of such a thing any more. I do believe that even the vast majority of current EF enthusiasts today would see the issue.

    1. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #8:
      There is a difference between a Sacrament and how it is “performed”. “Performed” is, unfortunately, a deliberate term since for some presiders/deacons, liturgy is ‘performance art’– proper choreography, costuming, the ‘right’ gestures. It is often self-indulgent performance art– liturgy oriented to express the ‘faith’ of the presider, not necessarily the church. A sort of liturgical “playing house”. Sometimes it is so ridiculous and silly it is hilarious. No wonder it fails to satify hunger.

  8. Adoration is part of the entire liturgical enterprise, yes, but the need to come together to celebrate Mass on Sunday is still preeminent. Adoration as an extension of the celebration of the Mass is a fairly common practice in many places, and I see no conflict with it being on Sunday, so long as Mass is still the first priority.

    The conflict I saw in the Vatican invitation to this event is asking for it to be concurrent to 5:00 Roman Time that day. I do not think it would ever be appropriate to replace the Sunday celebration of Mass with Eucharistic Adoration. So asking for a concurrent celebration is simply not feasible for most of the western hemisphere (where the Sunday morning masses are in full swing), and the lack of pastoral consideration of that part on behalf of the invitation is concerning to me. It also gives no consideration to booming parishes that have 12-15 Mass from Saturday evening – Sunday evening and simply do not have an extra hour on that day for anything else.

    To be perfectly honest, I am also a bit taken aback by the invitation having been dated February 28 and stating something along the lines of The Holy Father earnestly wishes to celebrate…

    Considering what was happening on February 28 with the Holy Father, I think this is a case of the particular congregation earnestly desires, and then the new Holy Father was simply informed of the event on the calendar. But I’m a bit cynical that way…

  9. February 28??? Oo-la-la. Something is going on here that’s a different story.

    Good concern, Virginia, about concurrent timing. I didn’t realize this was supposed to be orchestrated so particularly. That’s not feasible, and it’s insensitive to the liturgical life of the local churches, which DOES have a Sunday morning focus, and for good reason.

  10. Umm, how could there even be adoration of the Blessed Sacrament if there had not been Mass first? Literally. I am not trying to denigrate the PT reader at all, but this is the fruit of the failure of catechesis, or the lack thereof. And there is wonder why people desire, or cling to, or return to the EF of the Mass and Sacraments?

    1. @John Kohanski – comment #15:
      John, of course adoration of the Blessed Sacrament cannot happen without the Blessed Sacrament, but it is possible for there to be an available consecrated host before Mass for adoration.

      The question being raised, I think, is whether adoration AFTER Mass (particularly Sunday Mass) is advantageous. After all, Mass normally ends with a dismissal, a sending-out-on-mission. Staying after Mass for a half-hour of adoration could be seen as dissonant with the purpose of the dismissal.

      Adoration seems to fit the bill of SC 13, in that it accords with the Eucharistic liturgy, is derived from it, and leads the people to it. (I realize that adoration may not strictly fall into the category of devotions being described in SC 13, but the criteria nonetheless apply.)

      I think Eucharisticum Mysterium and Eucharistiae Sacramentum say most of what needs to be said about the value of adoration and its relation to the Eucharistic liturgy.

      1. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #17:
        How could adoration of the MBS ever not be adventageous? How many people do you know who would skip adoration to run out to the street corner and proclaim the good news?

  11. All this leads me to ask a question that I’m sure Father Anthony or many others could explain to me:
    Isn’t the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ not celebrated on its proper Thursday at the Vatican? I always find it amusing that Ascension is a Thursday inside the walls of the Vatican, but on a Sunday outside the walls. But what about the Body and Blood of Christ? Is it just on Thursday still in German-speaking countries? If it’s not on a holyday in the Vatican, then I’ll never question ever moving any feast ever again!

  12. Sorry to rain on the parade, but having adoration immediately after Mass is implicitly saying that the preceding Mass was in some way not sufficient. The same is true of those groups who insist in starting, loudly, the rosary almost before the last words of the dismissal or recessional have died away.

    I do not want to believe that anyone thinks the Eucharist is insufficient in itself, but this is the message which comes across, loud and clear. I simply do not buy the extension argument in this context.

    I am away from my office and do not have a copy to hand of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass (1973), but I believe that it contains an instruction that if a devotion or other service is to follow the Eucharist there should be a proper gap between one and the other.

    1. @Paul Inwood – comment #21:
      Paul,
      I agree with you in principle. However, in the case of solemn and lengthy exposition, the rite of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass actually allows for exposition to take the place of the conluding rites of the mass. The host consecrated in the mass immediately preceding the exposition is placed is the monstrance upon the altar. This takes place after communion and the concluding rites are ommitted. The mass ends with the closing prayer.Before he leaves the priest may incense the blessed sacrament. (par. 94). I think on a pastoral level we could easily have a rather lenghty discussion of the conflicting message this ritual gives.

      1. @Mike Burns – comment #27:
        At my previous parish (which I attended until 2009), Monday’s daily Mass was held at 8pm and was concluded with Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the manner you describe. I went to that Mass with some regularity.

        That Mass usually attracted a regular group of a couple dozen parishioners. I wonder if any of them would imagine it sending a “conflicting message”.

      2. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #40:
        I am sure that you would not see any problem with it. It is in the rite. However, I wonder if we believe that the celebration of the eucharistic mystery includes in a higher way that inner communion to which exposition is meant to lead us that the practice of exposition right after that communion might somehow take away from its significance?

      3. @Mike Burns – comment #47:
        I tend to liken staying after Mass (for the Rosary, or prayers of thanksgiving, or Adoration, etc.) to Christ’s command to His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the promise from the Father had come to them.

        I think that while exposition can lead us to that inner communion, it can also act as a visual reminder of that communion. We are weak mortals and do need reminders from time to time; pace Paul Inwood, that doesn’t mean the fault is in the Eucharistic liturgy, it means the fault is in ourselves.

        It’s a way to pause, to hold our breath… a Mt. Tabor moment before we walk down the mountain and back into the busy-ness of being witnesses to Christ.

  13. I view adoration after mass as essentially a period of eucharistic mystagogy. What a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon the paschal mystery just celebrated, to examine the transformation that was just experienced. I think it in no way overshadows what has just taken place, but rather, very much elevates the liturgy… that the eucharist is so transformative, that it demands us to reflect and discern that transformation in our lives. Not that adoration after Mass is required for this, but it certainly promotes that idea.

  14. What concerns me is that for many individuals and in many communities, Eucharistic Adoration functions more as what Professor Kaveny (in another context) called an identity marker — to wit, something Catholics do more because it’s what Catholics do than for any inherent spiritual or theological meaning, or in many cases, a very faulty spiritual or theological meaning. And, although my liturgical grounding leaves a lot to be desired, I have never heard a explanation of Eucharistic Adoration that I thought would make sense to a first or second century Christian, so I’m not sure what the real source is for this resourcement.

    1. @David Warren – comment #28:

      What concerns me is that for many individuals and in many communities, Eucharistic Adoration functions more as what Professor Kaveny (in another context) called an identity marker — to wit, something Catholics do more because it’s what Catholics do than for any inherent spiritual or theological meaning, or in many cases, a very faulty spiritual or theological meaning.

      But how would you determine that? That is to say, how do we determine which Catholics are at adoration as an “identity marker,” barren of any spiritual content, versus those who are there out of some genuine spiritual commitment? Can we read minds? I’m trying not to mean that flippantly. But this is a perplexing assumption.

      I can’t speak to what occurred back “pre-Council,” when cultural Catholicism was a real going concern, but today – even with the recent upsurge in interest in adoration again – it strikes me that those at adoration have had to go out of their way to do so. Save in a small (if growing) number of parishes or communities, there’s not a built in expectation of adoration.

      And, although my liturgical grounding leaves a lot to be desired, I have never heard a explanation of Eucharistic Adoration that I thought would make sense to a first or second century Christian, so I’m not sure what the real source is for this resourcement.

      As with so many other aspects of lived Christian life in the first century, I really wonder how we can say that we know enough about that reality to make many assumptions about how they would have received later devotional practices – or whether the experience of those first generations should be a hard marker to measure everything the Church does or teaches in the present day.

    1. @Barry Hudock – comment #29:
      I guess it would depend on what you mean by adoration. If you mean adoration as a devotional act before the eucharist reserved in the tabernacle, the answer is yes. If you mean adoration with exposition and benediction which is a liturgical action the answer is no. As a personal devotional act we practice adoration before the reserved eucharist all the time, before and after mass. I am not sure what your point is?

  15. Karl Liam Saur : @Paul Inwood – comment #21: Then doing anything after Mass is saying the Mass is not sufficient. That’s a dead-end perspective.

    Precisely. If we believe that the Eucharist is, as it were, “source and summit”, what else is needed?

      1. @Karl Liam Saur – comment #32:

        What a strange comment. Participating in a blog means debating the issues. It sounds as if you have made up your mind and don’t wish to hear another opinion.

        You asked (comment #1) if we didn’t adore on Holy Thursday, right after the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Actually, no, we don’t. We take the Blessed Sacrament in procession to its place of repose, and then we keep watch. Not the same as adoration.

        Discuss.

      2. @Paul Inwood – comment #33:
        Well actually there is adoration in the transfer of the blessed sacrament.
        The RM says that after the priest places the ciborium in the tabernacle and incenses the blessed sacrament. “After a period of adoration in silence, the Priest and ministers genuflect and return to the sacristy. (Holy Thursday, 40).
        “The faithful are invited to continue adoration before the blessed sacrament for a suitable length of time during the night….”(Holy Thursday,43).

      3. @Paul Inwood – comment #33:
        I think you missed the point of Karl’s “then why bother participating in a blog?” comment.

        You said that “If we believe that the Eucharist is, as it were, ‘source and summit’, what else is needed?” To which Karl asked, in effect, why is participation on a blog needed?

        The Eucharist is not the lone “source and summit”; SC 10 calls the whole liturgy (and not just the Eucharist or the Eucharistic liturgy) the source and summit. The Rite of Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a part of that whole liturgy.

        Edit: (added from later, deleted comment)

        Actually, no, we don’t [adore on Holy Thursday].

        Why are we singing “Tantum ergo” during the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to its place of repose? Is it not customary to be kneeling at this time, or at least genuflecting as the Sacrament passes by? Falling down in adoration as we hail this great Sacrament, as it were?

      4. @Paul Inwood – comment #33:
        Actually, no, we don’t [adore on Holy Thursday].

        Why are we singing “Tantum ergo” during the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to its place of repose? Is it not customary to be kneeling at this time, or at least genuflecting as the Sacrament passes by? Falling down in adoration as we hail this great Sacrament, as it were?

  16. Paul Inwood : Sorry to rain on the parade, but having adoration immediately after Mass is implicitly saying that the preceding Mass was in some way not sufficient…
    I do not want to believe that anyone thinks the Eucharist is insufficient in itself, but this is the message which comes across, loud and clear…

    “Loud and clear” must be in the ear of the listener, because I’ve never gotten that impression when my parish did exactly what you describe. Instead it seemed to me that the parish was being hospitable and allowing those who wanted to spend more time with the Sacrament to do so.

    Moreover, is there something pernicious about Adoration that doesn’t apply to the Mass itself in this regard? I mean, if a parish offers several Masses over the course of a day, do later Masses detract from earlier celebrations?

  17. Some comments here seem to approve of exposition in place of the concluding rites of the Mass or to suggest a linking of the Mass with this practice. However, Canon 941 (Sec.2) states: “Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament is not to be held in the same area of the church or oratory during the celebration of Mass.”

    1. @Jeff Rexhausen – comment #42:
      I believe this canon refers to both taking place concurrently in the same area of the Church. The rite allows for exposition taking place after communion in place of the concluding rites.

    2. @Jeff Rexhausen – comment #42:
      The Rite of Exposition allows for the transition from Mass into Exposition/Adoration. What the canon is referring to is the celebration of Mass while exposition/adoration is going on, that is, Mass in the presence of the exposed Blessed Sacrament.

  18. Some Catholics either come early or stay after Mass to pray in the presence of Christ in the just consecrated Bread of Life. In my parish, His presence may be experienced by looking upon a large Consecrated Host visible through a portal in the tabernacle located in the BS chapel immediately adjacent to the sanctuary. It’s open 24/7. I have never understood why some Catholics think that adoring Christ is somehow enhanced through the use of a monstrance standing on the altar of sacrifice. I’m aware of the custom and know that it is highly approved and can easily live with those who think this is the really catholic way of doing things.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #43:
      The monstrance seems to accomplish what the tabernacle portal you describe does: it makes the Host more visible. It also allows for Benediction, which I imagine can’t be done with a tabernacle.

  19. At the end of each Mass, the priest, in persona Christi, blesses the people. What is added by blessing the people with the monstrance? Isn’t the worship of the Triune God outside of Mass more clearly expressed in the myriad of ways in which we love and serve The Lord. I am all for fortifying our bond with Christ through daily prayer including visits to the chapel to pray before the BS.

    1. @Jack Feehily – comment #48:
      Well, when Mass is concluded with exposition and adoration, the blessing at the end of Mass is replaced with the benediction at the end of exposition. It’s a different way of granting a blessing.

      1. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #50:
        Actually the blessing at the end of Mass is not replaced with benediction at the end of exposition. The eucharistic blessing at the end of benediction concludes the liturgical rite of adoration and benediction. It is assumed that there are prayers, songs, readings, or part of the liturgy of the hours after the blessed sacrament is exposed at the end of mass. If benediction is iused immediately following the exposition and is being used as the final blessing it is an improper use of the rite. While in the past benediction was added at the end of another service or devotion, this is no longer allowed. Eucharistic adoration and benediction is now a liturgical rite.

        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.

      2. @Mike Burns – comment #51:
        Actually the blessing at the end of Mass is not replaced with benediction at the end of exposition. The eucharistic blessing at the end of benediction concludes the liturgical rite of adoration and benediction.

        That’s what I meant to say. I was trying to point out that the blessing at the end of Mass is not done in addition to the benediction.

      3. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #52:
        But what is benediction? Is it the making of the sign of the Cross with the Sacrament towards the end of the rite? Or is it what Bishop Challoner wrote?

        “What we call the Benediction is a devotion practised by the Church in order to give adoration, praise and blessing, or benediction, to God for his infinite goodness and love, testified to us in the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, and to receive at the same time the benediction of Our Lord there present.”

        The Garden of the Soul (1740) by Bishop Challenor

      4. @Mgr Bruce Harbert – comment #53:
        I was simply saying that the liturgical action of the concluding blessing of the Mass is not done when exposition and adoration replace the concluding rites of the Mass; and that exposition and adoration contains the liturgical action of a blessing with the Blessed Sacrament.

        I do not think I have ever heard the term “benediction” used to refer to the whole devotion/rite (in which we “give adoration, praise and blessing, or benediction to God”), but only to the particular liturgical action of blessing the congregation with the Sacrament. I am happy to widen my understanding of the word.

      5. @Jeffrey Pinyan – comment #54:
        This may be a fine point, but I think Jeffrey’s original understanding of Benediction more correctly reflects the usage of the current liturgical documents concerning worship of the Eucharist outside Mass, where Benediction is the heading used for a small rite at the end of exposition consisting only of a hymn, incensation, prayer and blessing. It does not include the whole of the prayers and songs that accompany adoration, and which might more fittingly be described as “give adoration, praise, blessing…”. Or perhaps it is meant to recap them. See Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction 97-99. Arguably, the term “Benediction” refers to the blessing, and the other ritual elements are its setting.

        The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy (no. 163) states that “In the specific case of the Corpus Christi procession, the solemn blessing by the priest is replaced by the blessing with the Blessed Sacrament.” which seems to suggest that there are other cases in which this doesn’t hold true, and therefore I thought that Mike Burns might be right about not omitting the blessing at the end of Mass.

        But in Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass, no. 94, it says: “In the case of more solemn or lengthy 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.”

        Therefore, I think Mike Burns is mistaken on this point. And I imagine that DPPL 163’s reference to “the specific case” of the Corpus Christi procession means that Masses of Corpus Christi without a procession would have the solemn blessing, but the one with the procession would omit it. Or is something else intended here? Anybody know?

      6. @Rita Ferrone – comment #56:
        Rita,
        I think I am absolutely correct. I would ask that you go back over what I was responding to in Jeffery’s postings. Then read Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass 93-99. We were not talking aboout processions or Corpus Christi.

      7. @Mike Burns – comment #57:
        Hi Mike,

        I read both your comment and Jeffrey’s before I posted. Jeffrey said the blessing that concludes the Mass is omitted, when the Mass is followed by adoration & benediction. This is exactly what it says in the ritual text.

        I understood you to say that the blessing at the end of Mass is NOT omitted in this situation. What then do you make of #94, which I quoted here (“the concluding rites are omitted”)? The blessing is part of the concluding rites.

      8. @Rita Ferrone – comment #58:
        Rita,
        I never denied that the blessing of the mass is omitted. I said that the blessing at the end of benediction does not replace the final blessing of the mass. It is the eucharistic blessing of the Rite of Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction.

        I never said that the blessing is not omitted. As per #94 once the blessed sacrament is exposed you are following the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction. (93-100). The Eucharistic blessing (#99) at the end of benediction does not replace the blessing at the end of Mass. It is the blessing of the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction. My concern with Jeffrey’s comment(see below) is that there are parishes that are exposing the blessed sacrament for the purpose of benediction alone at the end of mass, with the blessing with the monstrance. Adding benediction to the end of a service alone is no longer permitted. It is part of a liturgical rite. I hope this clarifies what I was saying. I hope this clarifies things. Thanks.

        Jeffrey said:

        Well, when Mass is concluded with exposition and adoration, the blessing at the end of Mass is replaced with the benediction at the end of exposition. It’s a different way of granting a blessing.

        I replied:
        @Mike Burns – comment #51:
        Actually the blessing at the end of Mass is not replaced with benediction at the end of exposition. The eucharistic blessing at the end of benediction concludes the liturgical rite of adoration and benediction.

        I then said:
        Actually the blessing at the end of Mass is not replaced with benediction at the end of exposition. The eucharistic blessing at the end of benediction concludes the liturgical rite of adoration and benediction. It is assumed that there are prayers, songs, readings, or part of the liturgy of the hours after the blessed sacrament is exposed at the end of mass. If benediction is iused immediately following the exposition and is being used as the final blessing it is an improper use of…

      9. @Mike Burns – comment #61:
        My concern … is that there are parishes that are exposing the blessed sacrament for the purpose of benediction alone at the end of mass, with the blessing with the monstrance. Adding benediction to the end of a service alone is no longer permitted.

        While that concern is legitimate, and I’m sure it happens somewhere, it was not at all what I meant by my remark about one blessing replacing the other.

      10. @Rita Ferrone – comment #58:
        My original post on par. 94:
        @Paul Inwood – comment #21:
        Paul,
        I agree with you in principle. However, in the case of solemn and lengthy exposition, the rite of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass actually allows for exposition to take the place of the conluding rites of the mass. The host consecrated in the mass immediately preceding the exposition is placed is the monstrance upon the altar. This takes place after communion and the concluding rites are ommitted. The mass ends with the closing prayer.Before he leaves the priest may incense the blessed sacrament. (par. 94). I think on a pastoral level we could easily have a rather lenghty discussion of the conflicting message this ritual gives.

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  20. I believe that most Catholic progressives have gotten past the Hermeneutic of Suspicion regarding Eucharistic adoration. It’s outlived its usefulness – in a transition from a time where people did not participate in Holy Communion with regularity, where their assistance at Mass was ruddered mostly by precept and culture, and where Benediction was more splendidly celebrated than Mass. While there are probably outposts of that former way, I’ve yet to see or hear much evidence it is likely to spread back to a material degree.

  21. We need to remember the church has forbidden Exposition, immediately following Mass, solely for the purpose of giving the blessing with the Host in monstrance.

  22. I’ve wanted to add a few comments to this discussion, but someone has taken my copy of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist outside Mass and I don’t know where they’ve laid it.

    I think we need more precision in the use of the words “adoration” and “exposition.” Even Fr. Anthony’s original posting probably should have used “celebrating eucharistic exposition and benediction” or “celebrating the rite of (eucharistic) exposition and benediction” in the opening sentence. A number of comments after that initial one should have used “exposition” instead of “adoration.” And it’s the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction, or Rite of Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, not the rite of “adoration” and benediction.

    Adoration of the eucharist does not require exposition. The reverse of that statement seems to be the mindset of many in the Catholic Church these days. Another example of “the bird in the hand”? Adoring the host in the monstrance produces more grace than adoration before a closed tabernacle? (We won’t even touch adoration before an exposed but closed ciborium, also envisioned by HCWEOM. Why would anyone do that?)

    This near-equating of “adoration” and “exposition” seems to have occurred at the end of the 1980’s when perpetual eucharistic exposition in every parish became the goal of some promoters. The clear meaning of HCWEOM 90, referring to religious communities that observed perpetual adoration, was altered. Henceforth, it would also refer to associations of the lay faithful that had perpetual eucharistic exposition (not just adoration) as part of their constitutions. These constitutions were to be submitted to the Vatican Congregation for the Laity, not CDWDS, for approval, and they often established perpetual exposition as “24/7, 365 days a year,” never mind liturgical tradition and regulations concerning the triduum. And so today, HCWEOM 83 (“During the exposition of the blessed sacrament, celebration of Mass in the body of the church is prohibited”) is perhaps more violated than it is observed.

    I think the discussion Mike Burns, Rita, and Jeffrey have been having about the final blessing at Mass and the blessing with the monstrance concluding a “shorter exposition of the eucharist” (HCWEOM 89) immediately following a Mass would never have been envisioned between 21 June 1973 and the late-1980’s. That’s because not only were most folks on the same page about “exposition merely for the purpose of giving benediction” being prohibited altogether, but most also bought into the broadly-accepted interpretation of no. 89 during those years that these “shorter expositions,” distinguished from the lengthy exposition recommended for annual observance in churches, would not be scheduled right after Mass. The only expositions of the eucharist following Mass would be the ones initiating and resuming exposition during this annual “lengthy exposition.”

    1. @Fr. Ron Krisman – comment #66
      Fr. Ron,
      Thanks for your comments. My concern is that it appears that some parishes are exposing the sacrament at the end of mass with benediction following as is allowed in (HCWEOM94)and are not meeting the “solemn and lengthy exposition” requirement. So we are back to the old days of using benediction at the end of mass and using the eucharistic blessing of the Rite of Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction to bless with the monstrance. I have seen it myself.

      1. @Mike Burns – comment #68:

        Mike, you are correct. However, 1) there are no liturgical police, 2) even diocesan bishops don’t know or enforce present norms, and 3) those norms themselves in HCWEOM have been allowed in some ways to fall into desuetude. We probably need a revised edition of HCWEOM.

        And, Bill, in your comment 67, you did of course notice that the 1995 Vatican/USCCB statement (“When Mass is celebrated in a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, the Eucharist must be replaced in the tabernacle before the celebration of Mass begins.”) is not what HCWEOM 83 says: “During the exposition of the Blessed sacrament, the celebration of Mass in the body of the church is prohibited.”

  23. Thanks, Fr. Ron….clarification helps the discussion. Would only add that this was *reformed* for very good reasons given the practices in play prior to VII. Some pastoral questions from Thomas Richstatter’s Eucharist course on *worship of the eucharist outside of mass*. If your Eucharistic approach is the *eucharist is an action verb of the community; not an object*:

    A parish should not have Benediction

    1. Benediction focuses the attention of the parish on the Eucharist as an static object and I am trying to help them focus on Eucharist as a dynamic community action.

    2. Benediction does not help the parish understand the unity of the epiclesis. It stops short by emphasizing only the first change, that of the bread.

    3. In my parish I am trying to help the people understand the Eucharist as a common meal rather than simply “receiving Holy Communion” and to this end I have been explaining why we not only eat but drink. Benediction with bread but without wine does not help me in this catechesis.

    4. At our parish we use bread for the Eucharist that has the appearance of bread. The people’s devotional memory is of a host in a monstrance. Showing a basket of bread does not evoke the same response. Yet I don’t want to use bread for Mass and a host for Benediction.

    5. Now that afternoon and evening Masses are permitted, I would rather invite the parish to Mass than to Benediction. And if they have already celebrated Eucharist, I would rather invite them to celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours.

    6. Only a few people show up and I must ration my time (I have 3 parishes to care for).

    7. Benediction takes us back to St. Paul’s pastoral problem in I Cor 11: People want to worship the Glorified Head without discerning the Body (the poor, the foreigner, the prisoner, etc.)

    8. In our new parish church the tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is transparent and people can come and pray before the blessed sacrament whenever they want and there is no need for Benediction.

    A parish should have Benediction

    1. Benediction is something only Roman Catholics do and I think it strengthens Catholic identity.

    2. Benediction is a good way to teach the doctrine of “Real Presence.”

    3. Benediction connects young people with the devotional tradition of their grandparents.

    4. The host functions as a mantra and enables the faithful to focus their attention on one spot and achieve a special type of contemplation.

    Wonder if another clarification is needed between:
    – liturgy
    – popular piety

    Lastly, from the Vatican dated 1995 and put out by the USCCB:

    “When Mass is celebrated in a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, the Eucharist must be replaced in the tabernacle before the celebration of Mass begins.

    Under no circumstances may perpetual exposition take place during the Easter Triduum.”

    What does that convey about this question?

    1. @Bill deHaas – comment #67:

      Fr. Bill: Benediction takes us back to St. Paul’s pastoral problem in I Cor 11: People want to worship the Glorified Head without discerning the Body (the poor, the foreigner, the prisoner, etc.

      Does not the recitation or chanting of an hour of the Office before the Blessed Sacrament fulfill a communal understanding of the Body through meditation on the psalms and scripture? Also, how would even the recitation of the rosary at Adoration impede growth in charity towards others? During “silent” Adoration I have even been known to read theological treatises.

      Adoration is an abstract environment for intellectual and spiritual enlightenment through the Lord’s presence. Not all people are visually oriented or apprehend information through that which is tactile.

  24. All that you say is true – but, you miss the point of the exercise and the pastoral question’s focus which was eucharist and worship outside of eucharist – key word being eucharist as the church, communal liturgy par excellence. What you cite belongs (in the context of what I quoted) in the section on *popular religion*.

    http://www.tomrichstatter.org/eEucharist/e56worsh.htm

    (click and scroll down to popular religion)

  25. Pius XII taught that the viaticum is an extension of the eucharist and that the adoration of the reserved sacrament is a further extension. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament flows from the Mass.

  26. I dunno, but reading through the posts one could easily get the impression that the Eucharist is either a “thing” or a liturgical activity of a community. I remember a learned priest constantly harping: “Sacraments are not ‘things’!”
    Eucharist-Christ-sacrifice-Calvary made present in our midst. Our attitude towards it may at times be static (“The Frozen People of God”) but the Eucharist never is. If the Eucharist in the tabernacle or monstrance doesn’t sweep us away to the Banquet of the New Covenant, the fault is in our understanding not in the practice of reservation or exposition.

  27. This, from Pope Francis’ homily this morning, strikes me as relevant to the question of Eucharistic exposition and benediction after Mass:

    “I remember once, coming out of the city of Salta, on the patronal feast, there was a humble lady who asked for a priest’s blessing. The priest said, ‘All right, but you were at the Mass’ and explained the whole theology of blessing in the church. ‘Ah, thank you father, yes father,’ said the woman. When the priest had gone, the woman turned to another priest: ‘Give me your blessing!’.

    “All these words did not register with her, because she had another necessity: the need to be touched by the Lord. That is the faith that we always look for, this is the faith that brings the Holy Spirit. We must facilitate it, make it grow, help it grow.”

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