Stations and Benediction

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: In the past, we’ve prayed the Stations on the Fridays of Lent and concluded them with Benediction.  This year, our new Associate Priest suggested we begin the devotion with Exposition and Adoration, then after the incensing, we begin the Stations, then conclude with Benediction and Reposition. In light of the USCCB’s pronouncement on this practice, it appears that we should definetly NOT be combining the Liturgical celebration of Adoration and Benediction with the Stations. However, the USCCB also mentions that Benediction is no longer permitted as an “add on” to the conclusion of a devotion. The USCCB article cites the “Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist,” and “Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass.” My question involves going back to the practice of adding Benediction to the end of Stations. When researching the question, I came across your answer to a similar question quite a few years ago when you suggested that this “time honored” practice shouldn’t be a problem. Is this answer something you would now emend in light of the USCCB? What should I suggest to our Liturgy Committee? Should we separate our Friday Stations from Benediction and instead celebrate (at a different time) Adoration and Benediction? Thanks, as always, for any clarity you can provide.


A: To me, this page on the USCCB site is worded too strongly , but it is still on the site as an expression of record.

The main point is sound that exposition with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a satisfying liturgy all on its own when done fully. We have not taken advantage of opportunities to develop this liturgy with its focus on the eucharistic Christ. Perhaps the revised English translation, due out later this year, will get people thinking again.

So, I’d say that the best practice is to gather the people to do one or the other, Stations or exposition, and do it well.

But if you have a version of Stations in keeping with the options that may take place during adoration (readings, songs, silences), then perhaps it could be incorporated. Or, if you want to do Stations before exposing the Blessed Sacrament for a period of adoration and benediction, then the liturgy that follows should be a full celebration as outlined in the ritual book. It puts the people through back-to-back celebrations. It’s not ideal. But I don’t think the presider will spend extra days in purgatory for doing it.