Can the Blessed Sacrament be covered up in Adoration?

I heard this question today on a catholic radio station called relevant radio and the priest didn’t exactly know the answer to this if it was allowed to be practiced or not if someone had to go and no one was able to stay with Jesus. Has anyone ever seen this or heard about this being done.

I don’t think it is allowed to leave the Blessed Sacrament unattended unless it is in a secure tabernacle, lest it be left vulnerable to someone who would desecrate it. A veil does not provide that security.

Besides, if the Blessed Sacrament were to be veiled but left in a room with no tabernacle and no tabernacle light, a person might unknowingly come in and fail to show the proper reverence. On that account, I think there must always be some person or arrangement of the room (such as a tabernacle with a light) that signals the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Regrettably; not only hearing of it but witnessing no one present before the Blessed Sacrament in the Monstrance.

Years ago every Friday in my Archdiocese in the English deanery everyone in the parish had chance to do twenty-four hour Adoration from 7:00 am Friday morning to 7:00 am Saturday morning. Parishioners signed up at the back of the Church making commitment what hour they would do adoration. Midnight to 7:00 am were the most difficult hours to get commitment. For years we had a devout following for Adoration and then little by little it eventually fell into disarray. One early morning I was slated to come in between 3:00 am and 4:00 am. When I entered the small chapel at 3:00 nobody was there, so I stayed alone until 7:00 am until the parish deacon came in.

This continued on several occasions worsening. Eventually the parish priest put a stop to Adoration. Sadly now adoration in my parish only happens on Holy Thursday night until 11:00 pm. Can you imagine how this breaks my heart. Many Catholics could careless today.

Eucharistic Adoration consists of the host , in a monstrance or pyx, exposed for viewing.
Someone is required to be present during Adoration. If that person leaves they are required to repose Our Lord.
The Blessed Sacrement is covered in the tabernacle, or by a veil. This is not what is referred to as “Eucharistic Adoration”.

Here the description of the rites from the 1962 Rituale Romanum for the forty hours adoration

Only the beginning and ending rites are described, without prescription what should be done during the 40 hours

Here is the Canon Law referring to the liturgical books, and expecting only suitable number of adorers.

Can. 941 §1. In churches or oratories where it is permitted to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist, there can be expositions with the pyx or the monstrance; the norms prescribed in the liturgical books are to be observed.

§2. Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament is not to be held in the same area of the church or oratory during the celebration of Mass.

Can. 942 It is recommended that in these churches and oratories an annual solemn exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament be held for an appropriate period of time, even if not continuous, so that the local community more profoundly meditates on and adores the eucharistic mystery. Such an exposition is to be held, however, only if a suitable gathering of the faithful is foreseen and the established norms are observed.

Can. 943 The minister of exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament and of eucharistic benediction is a priest or deacon; in special circumstances, the minister of exposition and reposition alone without benediction is the acolyte, extraordinary minister of holy communion, or someone else designated by the local ordinary; the prescripts of the diocesan bishop are to be observed.

Here is the most current (2001) directives including:
Eucharistic Adoration (164-165)

also referring only to the liturgical books.

In a nearby parish there is perpetual adoration in a separate chapel. There is the Eucharistic lamp (candle renewed daily) and the chapel is accessible only by code outside of the most frequented hours. In the wee hours the rule is if someone leaves the chapel alone he or she covers the monstrance. If someone finds it covered he may or may not uncover it.

This is the process how we think about the Eucharist and Jesus presence in that: is it mysterium fidei only surrounded with delicate rubrics; or something closer than that, food for us, our friend, helper, fortress, open to us at any time.

The Exposed Eucharist is not supposed to be left alone. Period.

If need be, a layperson can repose the Eucharist in the tabernacle.

Do you have some written official source for this, or you just think so.

I my world the local pastor is responsible in this question.

The traditional ritual Romanum clearly required that the reposition had to be accompanied by a blessing and made by a priest. What and when changed?

¶138[138.] Still, the Most Holy Sacrament, when exposed, must never be left unattended even for the briefest space of time. It should therefore be arranged that at least some of the faithful always be present at fixed times, even if they take alternating turns.


It’s easy to quote the rules but running a parish perpetual adoration ministry is a lot harder than qouting the rule book. I wonder how many people who quote the rule book or speak in such absolute terms have ever actually committed for adoration at any time of day, let alone at 2:00 or 3:00 AM.

Life sometimes does not obey the rules. Cars break down and people get sick. They do the best that they can and sometimes the devil throws a flat tire into the mix or gives the committed adorer’s grandpa a heart attack. Sometimes people don’t call and the doctor, fireman or anesthesiologist has to go because he has people lined up for surgery or has a firehouse to man. As an hourly coordinator for perpetual adoration as well as a committed adorer, I can tell you that people often go to extraordinary lengths to keep their committment. As one who has slept right through his comitted hour, I can tell you that it is not a great feeling to know that the guy before me had to pull a double or that I might have been repsonsible for causing Jesus to be left alone.

Because of his human nature Jesus himself fell three times under the weight of the cross. He knows we are human and imperfect and he knows the difference between being irresponsile and sincerly trying your best and coming up short. Again, it’s easy to quote the rules but “must never be left unattended even for the briefest space of time” would preclude even going to the bathroom. You guys try getting adorers for 2:00 and 3:00 AM, let alone two so that Jesus will not be left alone for 60 seconds while someone relieves themself.

Be realistic here please.


I remember now. In the good old times, if someone wanted to organize a 40 hour adoration (perpetual adoration were run only by religious orders) then (s)he had to get signatures at least two people for each our; and in the very small probability that neither appeared one of the adorers of the previous hour stayed for the next turn.

The question is what is more important: to feel good that our Church has perpetual adoration, or to have at least one person present when the Lord is exposed.

I personally believe that to prowide access to the Church with the tabernacle is (if necessary through keyed entrance) is more important that the exposition.

Tim, I so agree with you. I am a scheduled Adorer at my church who had to pull a TRIPLE shift one time. We do half-hour shifts, and upon the completion of mine, not only did the person following mine no-show, but the person following him also no-showed! I was the only one present for an hour and a half. The parish office was closed and I had no pertinent phone numbers with me to call. So I had to wait it out. By the end of the third shift I was so irritated that I’m sure it was sinful to be at Adoration in that state of mind. Furthermore, I was going to HAVE to leave soon even if no one arrived to relieve me and I was upset about that. Fortunately, someone did arrive for the fourth shift.

I also experienced at a different church, going into the Adoration chapel, and NO ONE was present! I felt obligated to stay until the next person arrived, but after an hour, I HAD to leave to get home before my children got home from school. I felt terrible. The following Saturday I went back to that Church to confession, both to confess my part in it and to let the priest know that the Blessed Sacrament was unattended for who knows how long. I found out later that they have since greatly reduced their Adoration schedule.

I am puzzled. What was there to confess? I don’t see any sin whatsoever in what you did, quite the contrary.

I am. When a parish arranges for stable adoration hours, they are making quite a staffing commitment. And, should something arise where the scheduled persons are absent and the prior person must leave, the Sacrament should be reposed without benediction.

That’s been the rule for 40+ years. (It’s mentioned by Pope Paul VI in more than one letter.)

Adoration should, ideally, be two people at a time scheduled, and trained in how to repose the Blessed Sacrament. That way, should either need to use the restroom, the other remains.

Especially since, aside from reposing the sacrament for mass, it may only be reposed twice a day, and a cleric or instituted acolyte should be the one to bring it out of the tabernacle at the beginning of adoration.

If a parish can’t keep up, then they need to reduce the time for adoration in the monstrance, rather than reduce the reverence demanded by the canons and liturgical books, as well as tradition and Tradition.

Running a Adoration Chapel can be quite frustrating without the proper guidelines!
Normally Eucharistic Adoration is lay-driven. The program needs a core of devout adorers willing to go the extra step or two to ensure a committed , sustainable
Adoration. Reposing and exposing must be keep to a mininum.

People cancel at the last minute and the hour must be filled by another. We fill in that hour one way or another, but have always managed to keep someone with Our Lord!
We call , from the phone in our chapel, to another adorer to come to our aid!
The calls have always been answered!

Last Saturday evening , due to the snowstorm, I cancelled the last three hours of Adoration.The relief adorer was snowed in. This was the first time that the chapel was closed under those circumstances since the Consecration of the chapel two years ago. The decision was made for safety reasons.We still had those hours covered.

The weekends have only one adorer , mostly, per hour , yet we still maintain.( We like to have two per hour in the event that one has other plans.)
Daily we pray for the success of our chapel during the general petitions. I feel that has been our biggest aid in keeping the candles burning! Encourgement is given by the priests.They make my job easy.

Yearly we have a short talk at mass but we post information in the bulletin every so often.
There are seven daily captains that coordinate a twelve hour time period. They are the backbone of the program.
Instruction and Communication will reduce the issue of abuse that may arise.
Once on a a visit to America Mother Theresa was asked “How do we combat abortion”?
She replied “One hour a day in all the churches in America would eliminate abortion.”

It was Adoration with exposition. No one came to the chapel to relieve me, and I had to leave. I left the exposed Blessed Sacrament unattended.

there was no sin, but when this happens you should call the pastor or parish office immediately and let them know this is happening.
that also why you should always sign in even if it is not “YOUR HOUR” so they know what hours are attended and which are not, and can change the schedule. Perpetual adoration is just that, adoration by worshippers who are present, not Perpetual Exposition. There should be a provision to veil the monstrance, and lock the door when someone has to leave the room unattended. If it happens regularly the standard instruction from the bishops is the hours have to be curtailed to a schedule the parish can maintain.

If you didn’t know better, the sin is minor.

Now that you know better, however…

How can there be any sin at all? They had to leave. Nobody came to take their place. They hadn’t been told what to do in that eventuality.

All circumstances beyond the person’s control and volition. Where is the sin? We don’t commit sin by mistake.

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