Q: Where might I find authoritative guidance on the proper form for an hour of exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass? We introduced adoration in our parish about a year ago, and I followed the format that was used in my home parish: After communion, I take luna with the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle, place it in the monstrance, genuflect, and go to the chair for the final prayer after communion. Then, without blessing or dismissal, I genuflect and leave. Several people remain to pray, and after an hour, one or two are left. Without vesting I return to the altar, genuflect, remove the Blessed Sacrament, and return it to the tabernacle, genuflect again, and leave.
I recently compared our practice with the rubrics in “Worship of the Holy Eucharist Outside Mass,” and the simple process I just outlined doesn’t seem to have been envisioned. There is no provision for exposition without incense and singing. The only provision for a simple reposition without benediction and the accompanying ceremonial would be in the case of extended adoration that must be interrupted, and that is not the case here.
I am not opposed to the more elaborate ceremonies accompanying exposition, with vested deacon or priest, incense, singing, and benediction. But I am not convinced that it fits our situation. I do take to heart paragraph #94 that calls for the host to be consecrated at the Mass. Is there some place else I should look for best practices? The Lord is worth our very best.
A: You’ve answered your question for me. The authoritative place is indeed Worship of the Holy Eucharist Outside Mass, and the differences between what it describes and what your practice has been are on target.
Here at the cathedral we use incense and conclude with benediction even when only a few adorers are present. It is the Blessed Sacrament, after all.
JT Lane’s book Guide for Celebrating Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass is a reliable commentary. I contributed a small piece to this book.