Q: We have a eucharistic adoration chapel at our parish. It is open (the Eucharist is exposed) from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. It is understood that people who signed up for the first and last hours of each day will expose or retire the host. From personal feelings and opinions, some substitute adorers refused to touch the Eucharist because they feel “unworthy” to touch our Lord.
1. Who is allowed to expose/retire the Eucharist in an adoration chapel?
2. What prayers/ceremony must be observed to expose/retire the Eucharist?
3. When alone with the Lord, is one allowed to leave the Eucharist in order to use the bathroom?
4. If all the rules cannot be followed thoroughly, must we close down the chapel? I have come to depend on my meetings with our Lord. I can’t bear the thought of having no alone time in the chapel.
A: A priest or deacon is the preferred minister of the exposition and reposition of the Eucharist. However, in the absence of a priest or deacon, the following people may expose and repose the Eucharist: an acolyte or extraordinary minister of communion; a member of a religious community or of a lay association of men or women that is devoted to eucharistic adoration, upon appointment by the bishop.
A priest or deacon should wear an alb and a white stole. Other ministers should wear vestments suitable for this ministry that have been approved by the bishop.
In exposing the Eucharist in a monstrance, four to six candles should be lighted, as at Mass, and incense used. For exposition in the ciborium, at least two candles should be lighted and incense may be used.
During adoration, prayers, songs and readings should be used to direct attention of adorers to the worship of Jesus Christ. The Liturgy of the Hours is a recommended exhortation before the Eucharist at adoration. It is also desirable for adorers to spend periods of time in reflective silence. A single genuflection is appropriate in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
At the time of reposition, the priest, deacon, or appointed minister, vested appropriately, replaces the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle and a prayer is said with those present.
It is forbidden to leave the exposed Eucharist unaccompanied. It is also recommended that more than one person be present for eucharistic adoration.
The guidelines for eucharistic adoration are simple and should be forthrightly followed, i.e. arrangements should be made for a priest, deacon, or an appropriate minister to expose and repose the Eucharist.
The Catechism states: “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only with Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession. … As faith in the real presence of Christ in his Eucharist deepened, the church became conscious of the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the eucharistic species. It is for this reason that the tabernacle should be located in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.”
Sources: The Roman Ritual: Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass, Priests of the Sacred Heart; Order of the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, The Liturgical Press; The Catechism of the Catholic Church.
If you have a question about the Catholic faith, write to The New Catholic Miscellany, From the Catechism, P.O. Box 818, Charleston, SC 29402.