Q: I was wondering if you have a book or can recommend a book that lays out the various steps of Benediction. We have Benediction every Friday during Lent after Stations of the Cross. Some discussion has come up about the sequence of events. For example, does the Litany come after or before the Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament? How many times do you swing the incense? I know it is three times when honoring the Blessed Sacrament but is it just three times or multiple sets of three? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
A: I can recommend John Thomas Lane’s book, Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, from LTP’s “Guide for Celebrating” Series. I wrote the preface.
To your specific questions, if by “Litany” you mean the Divine Praises, those come after reposition of the Blessed Sacrament. See the liturgical book Holy Communion and Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass for the official order of service. This book has not been updated since the Roman Missal, but ICEL has begun the process. Paragraph 100 addresses the particular issue of an acclamation or hymn after reposition.
Regarding swings of the censer, I refer you to the GIRM 277, where the same rules from mass should apply outside mass. It says to honor the Blessed Sacrament with “three swings” – not “three double swings.” I know that there are MANY people who disagree with me on this point, but I still say, if you look at what GIRM 277 actually says, it’s three swings. That’s it.