Exposition and Adoration

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: When a priest finishes Mass by opening up Exposition for extended time of Adoration, what is the proper position for the congregation when the priest recites the Prayer After Communion? Are they supposed to stand or are they supposed to sit?

I’ve looked in the “Solemn Exposition” green book, and it gives no indication for what the congregation is supposed to do, and I have been asked this question more than once by the lay faithful. 

My last question, when a priest concludes Mass by opening up for Adoration, he’s supposed to incense our Lord in the monstrance, according to the same green book I mentioned above. I have not done that because it’s so hit and miss if I have an Altar server to help with incense. Am I permitted to not incense our Lord due to my situation? If not, do you have suggestions for how I could speedily light up charcoal so that I do incense our Lord when I conclude Mass and open up for Adoration?

As usual, your help is appreciated. Thank you and God bless you.


A: God bless you for providing good liturgical care for your people.

In the absence of a different rubric in Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, the posture pertaining to the Roman Missal prevails. After communion, the priest puts a host in the monstrance, and all stand for the Prayer after Communion.

The “Solemn Exposition” green book I presume is the Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, which is an excerpt from HCWEOM.

For lighting the charcoal, if there’s no one to do it, then there’s no one to do it. Your short term solution may be to omit it, but do it only when you conclude exposition. A long term solution is to train someone how to do that task. The rubrics presume that the presider incenses the Blessed Sacrament when it is exposed and before benediction.

Incidentally, the liturgical books never refer to the contents of the monstrance as “Our Lord.” It is “the Most Holy Eucharist” or the “the Most Blessed Sacrament.” It helps distinguish the Lord whom we address in prayers from the sacrament of the presence of the Lord. It’s the same Lord, but the sacrament is localized, whereas the Lord is not.