Sunday, February 17, 2008


I got a bit curious about the Benediction, so did a wee bit of research in a wonderful resource I have here at home. The book is: Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite: The Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, by Peter J. Elliott (Ignatius Press).

From Article 34 (p. 12), we find (emphasis mine):

Close to the families of his community, the pastor recognizes the human need to celebrate occasions and events, to celebrate times, seasons, saints, heroes and heroines, joys and sorrows. He exploits the variety of the Church Year, the range of votive Masses and celebrations for special occasions. He leads his people in public eucharistic adoration and Benediction. He wants to share his own celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours with them when this is possible. These are a few examples, incluced in this manual, which indicate the creative use of the treasury of worship that is placed at our disposal by the Church.

From Article 665 (p. 246), comes more information:

The ordinary minister of exposition is a bishop, priest or deacon. Only a bishop, priest or deacon may give the blessing with a monstrance, ciborium or pyx, which is known popularly as "Benediction". However, the bishop may authorize an acolyte, an extraordinary minister or a male or female religious to expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament for a just pastoral reason.

Articles 667 (p. 246) (as noted)

When the monstrance is used, for solemn public adoration, the following preparations are required:

668 (p. 247): Altar: Six or four candles (more according to widespread custom) burn on or around the altar. At least one cloth is on the altar, and the corporal is either spread or folded (in a burse). The monstrance is placed to the left of the corporal. Flowers may be arranged on or near the altar. A white antependium would be appropriate. A throne or "tabor stand" may be placed on the altar for the monstrance.

669: Tabernacle: The key, two candles burning if it is in a separate chapel or area.

670: Altar steps: The book of the rite of Benediction, incense boat and the bell may be placed here. The white humeral veil is folded neatly nearby, preferably on its own stand.

671: Ambo: Lectionary or books for readings or meditations, homilies, etc., if they are to be used during the time of adoration. A white antependium or lectern fall would be approprate.

672: Chair: Office book marked, if the Liturgy of the Hours is to be celebrated.

673: Sacristy: Thurible prepared, torches for the torch bearers. White cope and stole for the celebrant (dalmatic and stole for assistant deacon[s]) and albs or surplices.

674 (p. 248): A deacon, or two deacons, may assist the priest, wearing the dalmatic (or the cope if this was worn at Vespers immediately before Benediction). a priest in alb, or cassock and surplice, and stole may assist the celebrant, functioning in the same way as the assisting deacon. At least two servers assist, one acting as an M.C. (master of ceremonies), the other as the thurifer. Up to six torch bearers may customarily assist at this rite. However, in a case of necessity, one well-trained server may suffice if a stand is used for the thurible and boat.

677: Having reverenced the crucifix or image in the sacristy, all go in procession to the altar of exposition. The procession is led by the thurifer carrying the thurible, but without incense in it. The torch bearers carry torches in their outside hands, followed by the M.C. An assistant priest precedes the celebrant. A deacon walks on his right; two deacons may walk on each side of him, if this is convenient.
678 (p. 249): On arrival at the sanctuary, the thurifer goes over to the right side, the torch bearers part to allow the M.C. and clergy to pass them and arrange themselves across the sanctuary or in some other way. The celebrant, M.C. (on his left), assisting deacon or priest (on his right) bow to the altar or genuflect to the tabernacle. All kneel on the steps and pavement at the front of the altar, which is the preferable area for these rites.
679: The deacon or assistant priest (or lacking these, the celebrant) goes to the altar and unfolds the corporal, if it is not already spread there. He goes to the tabernacle. However, if this is in a separate chapel, he first puts on the humeral veil, assisted by the M.C. Then he goes to the chapel, preceded by torch bearers carrying cancles. He unlocks the tabernacle, genuflects, and takes out the pyx containing the Host. He locks and tabernacle and brings the pyx to the altar of exposition (preceded by the torch bearers, if he comes from the chapel). He places the pyx on the corporal, moves the monstrance onto the left side of the corporal, turns it towards him and opens it. He takes the lunette out of the pyx and carefully places the Host in the monstrance. Then he reverently and precisely places the monstrance at the center of the corporal or on the throne. He closes the empty pyx and sets it aside to the right of the corporal. He genuflects, both hands resting on the altar. He returns to his place on the bottom step and kneels.
680: An appropriate eucharistic hymn of adoration is sung, such as "O salutaris Hostia". The celebrant, (deacon[s], M.C. and thurifer stand. The celebrant turns to this right; the thurifer faces him and offers the open thurible; the deacon or M.C. facing the altar presents the open boat and spoon, holding back the cope from the celebrant's right hand while incense is prepared and blessed. The celebrant turns to the altar and kneels. The thurifer (or deacon) on his right, passes the thurible to him. Kneeling, all bow, and the celebrant incenses the Eucharist with three double swings. The deacon or thurifer and the M.C. hold back his cope to free his hands during the incensations. All bow and the celebrant hands the thurible to the deacon or thurifer. All may remain kneeling in silent prayer at this point, whatever options are chosen for the time of adoration.
The Time of Adoration
681 (p. 250). The Liturgy of the Hours, especially Lauds or Vespers, may be celebrated before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. ...
682. Other possibilities during the time of adoration include: Scripture readings (from the ambo or elsewhere), homilies related to the Eucharist, appropriate hymns, reflective music, litanies, intercessions, a para-liturgy, a novena, popular devotions in harmony with the season, and the Holy Rosary. However, there should always be generous provision for silent prayer before the Lord.
683 (p. 251). During the time of exposition, the following customary principles may well be observed: (1) Silence is maintained always. (2) No one ever sits or stands with his back to the monstrance. (3) The genuflection (double where prescribed) is made whenever passing the monstrance or on entering and leaving the sanctuary even at the side. (4) In the santuary, clergy adoring the Eucharist wear choir dress or an alb (with a white stole, if customary). (5) If Mass without a congregation has to be celebrated in a chapel or at a side altar, the bell is not rung at the elevations.
684. Unless they are already gathered there for prayers, the celebrant and servers come before the altar and genuflect. All kneel as at the beginning of exposition, and a suitable hymn of adoration, such as "Tantum ergo", is sung. (It is customary for all to bow during the second line of "Tantum ergo", at the words "veneremur cernui".) At a convenient time before the final verse of the hymn, incense is prepared as at the beginning of exposition and the Blessed Sacrament is incensed.
685. The celebrant alone stands to sing "Let us pray" and one of the seven collects provided in the rite. During the collect, he either holds the book himself or, preferably, the deacon stands on his right holding it, so that he can intone the collect with hands joined. Towards the end of the prayer, the M.C. or a server gets the humeral veil and waits at the side, holding it in both hands near the clasps or tapes. As soon as the celebrant kneels, the server comes behind him, genuflects and places the veil over his shoulders. The celebrant secures it at the front with the clasp or tapes. He enfolds his hands in it and joins them. He stands and goes up to the altar, to the place in front of or behind the altar from where he will bless the assembly.
686 (p. 252). He genuflects, with his hands resting on the altar, then he takes the monstrance in both his veiled hands. Thurning by his right towards the people, if necessary, and saying nothing, he slowly makes the sign of the cross over the assembly, keeping his eyes fixed on the sacred Host throughout the action. First he raises the monstrance so that the Host is well above eye-level, then he lowers it and, turning to the left, moves it across to the right, the Host slightly above eye-level. Then he moves it back to the center and lowers it slightly. ...(the instructions continue)
687 (p. 253). If a deacon or priest assists, he comes to the altar with the celebrant and genuflects with him. The celebrant stands slightly away from the altar, as the assistant takes the monstrance and places it in his veiled hands, so that the front of the vessel faces out. Then the deacon or priest kneels on the right of the celebrant, on the top step, during the blessing. He may hold back the cope. If two deacons assist, both come to the altar and kneel for the blessing, during which they may hold back the cope. Then the deacon takes the monstrance from the celebrant and places it on the altar. Both genuflect together, before returning to their places at the center of the sanctuary.
688. While the celebrant receives the humeral veil, the thurifer may come to the center of the sanctuary. During the Cucharistic Blessing, he incenses the Eucharist, kneeling, with three double swings, bowing before and after the incensation. (He may remain at his place for these incensations.) According to local custom, the M.C. or a server rings the bell three times, keeping pace with the blessing, or appropriate organ music may be played. After the celebrant has placed the monstrance on the altar, thr thurifer stands and returns to his place, to the right of the celebrant or deacon. According to custom or national or diocesan directive, the Divine Prasis may be said or sung while the celebrant remains kneeling.
690 (p. 254). If the Blessed Sacrament is to be reposed in the tabernacle, then (after the Divine Praises and) during a psalm, hymn, acclamation or appropriate music, the celebrant or the assisting deacon or priest goes to the altar. He genuflects, turns the back of the monstrance towards himself, removes the lunette and places it in the pyx, which he closes. He moves the monstrance to the left of the corporal and may veil it. He then takes the pyx and places it in the tabernacle, genuflecting before he locks the door. (If the tabernacle is in a chapel, a server should place a humeral veil over the shoulders of the celebrant or the assistant deacon or priest before he removes the lunette from the monstrance. Torch bearers should precede him to the chapel and then return with him to the sanctuary, unless it is though more convenient to go directly to the sacristy.) All bow to the altar (or genuflect if the tabernacle is behind or on it) and return to the sacristy led by the thurifer. Sacristans and/or servers carry out their respective duries in the sactuary and in the sacristy.
I really recommend this book for your home reference library... it is great for questions such as this one about Benediction.

1 comment:

Liturgy said...

This is helpful thanks.
I'm working on developing the Liturgy of the Hours section of my site this year