In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Looking over both Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass (as well as it’s new translation) and Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, it is unclear if a lay leader of prayer would incense the Blessed Sacrament at Exposition and before Reposition, or not.

According to Solemn Exposition, a layperson would not do so (see, for example, #91, #104), though no reference is made to a paragraph in HCWEOM or other document. It is simply stated. Fr. Lane repeats this restriction in LTP’s Guide for Celebrating Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, but, again, without citing a source.

However, such a restriction is not explicitly mentioned din HCWEOM. There, it is mentioned that, in the absence of an ordinary minister, a lay person may expose and repose the Sacrament; the only actions expressly forbidden are Benediction (see #91) and the wearing of the cope/humeral veil (#92 – only priests and deacons are mentioned as wearing these vestments). Whenever incensation is mentioned, the word “minister” is used rather than “priest” or “deacon” (though, in all fairness, it also states that the “minister” puts on the humeral veil…). 

Since the use of incense is part of exposition and reposition (required if a monstrance is used, optional if a ciborium is used; #85), and a lay minister may lead these rites, and only Benediction is explicitly forbidden (laws that restrict must be explicit), would not they use incense? If not, where is the documentation to this effect?



A: Here are some previous posts: https://paulturner.org/incense-by-a-lay-minister/ , https://paulturner.org/exposition-adoration/ , https://paulturner.org/humeral-veil-2/ , https://paulturner.org/humeral-veil-additional-information/ .

As of this writing, we do not have the final revised English translation in hand for HCWEMOM, but it will prompt a revision of the USCCB’s OSEHE.

I stand by my views that a lay person is to use incense when exposing the Blessed Sacrament, and that a lay person who carries the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle to the altar wears a humeral veil.