Liturgy: Exposition of the Eucharist by a Layperson?
ROME, JAN. 6, 2004 (Zenit) - Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.
Q: Is a layperson allowed to remove Jesus from the tabernacle, place him in the monstrance and process him into the main church for adoration? (The tabernacle is in a remote chapel.) I think only our priest has the privilege to do this. Am I wrong? -- P.M., Londonderry, New Hampshire
A: While solemn exposition (with the use of servers and incense) can only be carried out by a priest or deacon, a simple exposition, either by opening the tabernacle or placing the Host in a monstrance, can be done by an instituted acolyte or by an authorized extraordinary minister of the Eucharist.
(The monstrance is a sacred vessel designed to expose the Blessed Sacrament or for carrying it in procession. It usually has the form of a cross with a circular window in the center, often surrounded by a silver or gold frame with rays like the sun.)
Only an ordained minister may impart Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. However, should no priest or deacon be available, an authorized extraordinary minister may perform a simple reposition of the Eucharist once the turns of adoration have been completed (see the 1973 document "Eucharistiae Sacramentum" of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Nos. 91-92).
Of course, should a priest or deacon be available, he may not delegate the exposition to someone else.
In selecting a suitable person for extraordinary ministries of this kind when the priest is unable to do so, the order is: instituted acolyte, instituted lector, major seminarian, religious brother, nun, layperson of either sex (see the 1973 instruction "Immensae Caritatis").
In your description of the rite of simple exposition as performed in your parish I do note a technical liturgical error: The layperson may bring the pyx (a small round metal case used to carry the Host) to the altar and place the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance on the altar itself, but should not bring the monstrance with the Eucharist in procession.
The function of the extraordinary minister of exposition is limited to the simple exposition or reposition of the Blessed Sacrament with a minimum of ceremonial, though the exposition may be accompanied by a eucharistic song.
Although things may not be technically perfect in your parish, it is a wonderful gift, and a boon to the spiritual life of the whole community, that eucharistic adoration is cultivated and promoted.
* * *
Follow-up: Recent Papal Documents
A reader from Windsor Locks, Connecticut, asked about my column on the Pope's recent documents on the liturgy (Dec. 16).
I'll quote extensively from the question: "You present the highlights of the Holy Father's apostolic letter on sacred liturgy, and its relationship to Pope St. Pius X's 'motu proprio' letter entitled 'Tra le Sollecitudini.' I am curious about the linkage between the two documents. It seems that both were written in Italian. ... Neither was written in Latin, the language of the Church.
"For this reason, I read them in a different light. Pope St. Pius was first and foremost concerned about potential scandal to visitors coming to Rome and witnessing a liturgy that was not entirely adhering to norms, in particular musical norms. The tone of Pope St. Pius' letter was without question one of demanded adherence, albeit he mentions religious obedience. The papal letter to Cardinal Respighi is certainly strong indeed. ...
"Pope John Paul II has a quite different style. Yet I can't help but wonder if his choice to release his document in Italian only was not an accident. Was the Holy Father doing two things here: first, writing to his diocese first, and second, sending a message of obedience within the Vatican using the connection to Pius X?"
I am not privy to the inner workings of the Holy Father's intentions. But I believe it would be out of character for him to publish a letter with a hidden agenda beyond its stated aims, which in this case, was to commemorate the centenary of St. Pius X's famous letter "motu proprio" (on his own initiative) by making some brief reflections on the current state of liturgical music in the light of tradition.
For the information of our readers, our correspondent refers to two documents. The motu proprio "Tra le Sollecitudini" on sacred music (Nov. 22, 1903) was directed to the entire Church. A letter to Cardinal Pietro Respighi, titled "Il desiderio" and published the following Dec. 8, applied the previous document to the Diocese of Rome.
If John Paul II desires to send a particular message to the Diocese of Rome, he can do so as St. Pius X did to Cardinal Respighi: by sending a letter or directives to the cardinal's successor, the current vicar of Rome, or even to the people themselves.
If he desires a change in the Vatican, musically or otherwise, he does not send messages, he simply gives orders. Therefore the most likely reason for his publication of the document in Italian is because "Tra le Sollecitudini" was written in Italian. It is not unknown for documents of this type to be written in a language other than Latin.
St. Pius X probably wrote in Italian because he wanted to get the document out as quickly as possible. It was published barely three months into his pontificate and, in a way, had been written even before he became Pope.
As priest and bishop, Giuseppe Sarto (the future Pope) had been very active in the Italian movement for the restoration of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony and the elimination of the individualistic operatic style that had infiltrated much of 19th-century liturgical music.
Since this particular style was prevalent in much of Italy, and from Italy influenced other areas, writing in Italian and Spanish got the message across where it was most needed.
The difficulty was probably less acute in German-speaking areas where congregational singing was and is the norm, whereas English-speaking Catholics, the vast majority either Irish or of Irish descent, were at that time usually less than enthusiastic about any form of singing in Church.
Given Giuseppe Sarto's lifelong interest in matters liturgical, it was therefore quite logical that one of his first actions as Pope would be to act authoritatively to remedy the situation and usher in a new era in liturgical reform which, apart from music, also embraced the reform of the liturgical calendar, the Divine Office and lowering the age for first Communion.
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Eucharist, Papal, Documents
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017 HD Video
- Atheist plans to build a Robot God for other Atheists to worship HD Video
- St. Gelasius: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, November 21, 2017
- Loras College announces new business school
- Pope Francis on the poor and paradise
- Daily Readings for Tuesday, November 21, 2017
- Irish priest: Christians should stop saying 'Christmas' and 'Easter'
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, November 21st, 2017 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, November 20th, 2017 HD
- Catholics are sharing Christ's compassion. HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, November 19th, 2017 HD
Daily Reading for Monday November 20, 2017
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way