Can a lay person carry the Monstrance while a Consegrated Host is in it?

Hello All,

I’ve learned a lot in these forums and have always found the answers that i needed with out posting…Thanks…

But now, I am a bit baffled about something that I experienced this weekend.

I was invited to a retreat at a person’s home. This is common in our community because our Parish does not have space to do these types of event. The Pastor did grant permission.

I noticed that in the backyard, a tent was set up and it was well covered all around. Inside, to my surprise was the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the Monstrance. It had two candles in the altar and the tent always had people praying and worshiping. He was never left alone. :slight_smile:

Thats number one…Number two is that during the prayer, in the “retreat house” not the tent, a lay person came and with a piece of cloth picked up the Monstrance, with great reverence of course, and walked the Monstrance to the house. Two people followed with candles.

The Monstrance was placed on an altar and prayer continued. The same gentleman that carried the Monstrance in, placed the Monstrance on people’s heads while praying. He is neither a Priest or a Deacon.

The Monstrance was carried back to the Tent.

Later on that day, The Monstance was brought in in the same manner by a new person and taken back in the same manner.

I feel in my heart that this is wrong, but i need proof.

I read a little on the matter in the Relationship Between Eucharistic Worship Outside Mass where it says:

91…Such ministers may open the tabernacle and also, as required, place the ciborium on the altar or place the host in the monstrance. At the end of the period of adoration, they replace the blessed sacrament in the tabernacle. It is not lawful, however, for them to give the blessing with the sacrament.

Is this all a lay person is limited to regarding this subject?

Canon Law also states the following:

Can. 943 The minister of exposition of the blessed Sacrament and of the eucharistic blessing is a priest or deacon. In special circumstances the minister of exposition and deposition alone, but without the blessing, is an acolyte, and extraordinary minister of holy communion, or another person deputed by the local Ordinary, in accordance with the regulations of the diocesan Bishop.

I dont want to make a mistake and cause problems. This needs to be addressed if wrong and it should not be based on my feelings, beliefs, or opinions…

At a glance, it appears that there were two actions occurring: 1) a layperson carrying the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in it; 2) a layperson somehow attempting to confer a blessing with the Blessed Sacrament (that whole “plac[ing] the Monstrance on people’s heads while praying” business).

I’m not an authority to comment on 1 (and neither can I at this moment think of an authority to cite), but my guess would be that, as long as it is not meant to be liturgical in nature (like a procession), it may be permitted under extraordinary circumstances (no ordained minister is available to repose or transport the Blessed Sacrament). After all, lay ministers are permitted to carry the Blessed Sacrament (in hospital visits, etc.)…

As for 2, that’s definitely a no-no. Eucharistiae Sacramentum 91 (1973 document on the worship of the Eucharist outside Mass) states: “It is not lawful, however, for [lay ministers] to give the blessing with the sacrament.” Anyone who is not an ordained minister should not attempt to give the blessing with the Blessed Sacrament. That’s pretty clear.

Hope that helps…

I second it.

Third. Laypeople do not bless generally (except in some special cases – e.g. fathers blessing their children.)

Great!!! Thank you all for your feedback on the second part.

But what about the first? Can a lay person carry the monstrance while a Consecrated Host is in it?

I am reminded of God’s command about touching holy objects:

Numbers 4: 15-16

"Only after Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sacred objects and all their utensils on breaking camp, shall the Kohathites enter to carry them. **But they shall not touch the sacred objects; if they do they will die.** These, then, are the objects in the meeting tent that the Kohathites shall carry.
"Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, shall be in charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the established cereal offering, and the anointing oil. He shall be in charge of the whole Dwelling with all the sacred objects and utensils that are in it."

Am I wrong in making this correlation. Are our Ordained Priests and Deacons the equivalents of Aaron?

A lay person can touch the Monstrance with the host in it. The laity may not bless with the Monstrance.
I think our priests have a higher calling than those of the Old Testement.

Laypeople frequently act as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, and handle the Body and Blood of Christ whilst distributing them to the faithful, whether at Mass or visiting the housebound. It’s an old and honourable tradition.

The sacred species don’t become more sacred for being placed in a monstrance. Nor, I would imagine, is the monstrance itself as an object any more sacred than the pyx or ciborium an Extraordinary Minister would use as a vessel when distributing communion.

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