Monday, January 08, 2018

Mass Chat: Eucharistic Adoration

At my parish we are preparing for Perpetual Adoration.

We are preparing for it by prayer, Mass, and catechesis.  Establishing an adoration chapel is a good thing.  I see it as a means to revive devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to make reparation for sin, and so on.  I think my pastor also sees it as a source for vocations.  It's a wonderful thing, a holy and sacred work.  Some of us at the parish have desired this for many years, and now it may become a reality.

Is this the best way to promote devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and restore faith in the Real Presence?

Because I think that is some of the motivation behind the initiative.  It seems to me there can be another, more practical approach taken before establishing a separate adoration chapel.  I think it is more necessary to restore the tabernacle to the center of the sanctuary.  We have a box off to the side - the interior falling apart, and in summer, the hosts sometimes become soft, due to humidity.  The box is on a shelf, and did I mention - off to the side, not very visible.  We desperately need a new tabernacle and it needs to be central in the church.  Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament needs to be rehabilitated to simple devotion to the Eucharist reserved in the tabernacles. 

I think it needs to start and be affirmed in connection with the Mass - the Eucharistic celebration, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  The source and summit of our faith.  First things first - then a special adoration chapel - if needed.

When I was younger, we used to kneel whenever the priest went to the tabernacle and opened it, outside of Mass.

We also genuflected whenever we walked in front of the tabernacle attached to the altar reredos.  There was no disconnect from the Mass when the tabernacle was central and devotion clearly linked to the altar of sacrifice.

It seems to me devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and adoration can be jump started with 40 Hours Devotion, along with periods of silent adoration after feast day and Sunday Masses, concluding in solemn benediction.  As it stands, when parishes have a day set aside for adoration, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed on the altar of sacrifice - which seems to me most appropriate, since the devotion is thereby  an obvious extension of the Mass.  Frequently lay people recite the prayers of Benediction at the closing, and repose the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle.  Sometimes awkwardly.  I think that's a problem, especially since solemn benediction seems to have become rare.  Likewise, I've seen some carelessness when reposing the Blessed Sacrament.

I love perpetual adoration, I'm just not sure it is always the ideal first step for a parish.  Especially when the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle is more or less ignored.  I'm sure people will disagree with me, but reverence for the Blessed Sacrament needs to begin at the foot of the altar, before the tabernacle, at Mass, and at Communion time - and after - especially in a silent period of thanksgiving.  As I stated, exposition and Solemn Benediction would be an excellent way to increase devotion and restore true devotion.

I may be wrong.


  1. You are correct - restore the tabernacle to the centre and work out from there.
    I started writing you a very long and involved story about our parish and its history of Adoration and how a small group has gone overboard but I'll spare you the drama.

  2. I agree, the university I was at previously attempted a student-led perpetual adoration (well, daily hours of adoration) but it foundered with declining commitments and a small amount of people feeling forced to fill in all the gaps. Instead they instituted a weekly solemn Holy Hour with confession and benediction done by a priest, followed by a social at the student center. It seems to have worked out quite nicely.


    1. Also, that's a beautiful painting of the Host! Who painted it?

  3. I recall the 40 hours devotion as a youngster. It was special because it was infrequent. I think the men in the Holy Name Society maned it, but other lay people came and went too. I think moving the tabernacle was an attempt to give it a special more intimate space. It has not worked out well in most places. Benediction is sorely missed in most parishes I think. I do not understand why priests resist this.

    1. I agree. Perpetual Adoration with the Blessed Sacrament exposed has caused things like 40 hours or holy hours of reparation to fall into disuse. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is no longer special, but commonplace. See my post below for a deeper explanation of my opinion on this.

  4. I am ALL FOR Eucharistic Adoration. I, however, prefer Adoration of Jesus in the Tabernacle as opposed to having the Blessed Sacrament Exposed. Having the Blessed Sacrament Exposed 24/7 leads to all kinds of abuses like the Blessed Sacrament Exposed being left alone with no adorers, or worse yet, people reposing the Blessed Sacrament or just putting a cloth over the monstrance until the next adorer comes to re-expose and uncover the monstrance. As a priest friend says "whether glad or brass, Jesus is still present." Also, most parishes with Perpetual Adoration don't follow that Canons that say that wherever the Blessed Sacrament is kept (this includes adoration chapels) must have Mass celebrated there at least every two weeks. This is to ensure two things, that the connection between Adoration and the Holy Mass is respected as well as to ensure that the Sacred Host is renewed every two weeks (I know some parishes where the host hasn't been renewed for YEARS). A lot of Adoration Chapels don't even have an altar to offer Mass on. These things are abuses and if Perpetual Adoration is begun the pastor has a grave duty to see that these things don't happen and all the liturgical laws are followed. I also think adoration of Jesus in the Tabernacle will do a better job of helping people realize the kind of reverence they need to have in Church even if Jesus isn't exposed on the Altar. But, I'm not in charge of these things. I'll just pray in reparation for the abuses that often happen in Perpetual Adoration chapels.

  5. Evidently I've given the impression I'm against Eucharistic Adoration - I am not - I participate in adoration programs at several parishes and Eucharistic devotion is the heart of my spirituality. Please try to read what I write and don't jump to conclusions or immediately interpret what I'm saying in a negative manner. Thanks.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.