Covering the monstrance?

I was watching the Corpus Christi procession on EWTN yesterday and had a couple of questions about what I saw.

(Please forgive my ignorance for I am not Catholic. Nor is any disrepect intended.)

The priest carried a monstrance into the church and subsequently took the host from that monstrance and placed it into the tabernacle. At the end, the monstrance above the alter was uncovered.

Is it proper to have only one monstrace exposed at any one time?
Is the host in the monstrance above the altar replaced periodically?


Yes to both questions.

Only one Sacred Host should be exposed at a time.

The Host in the monstrance must be replaced periodically; the accidents (appearance) of bread must never be allowed to deteriorate.

I did not view the broadcast in question, but if the procession immediately followed the sacrifice of the Mass, that would be another reason for the monstrance to have been covered (and subsequently uncovered). It is inappropriate to celebrate Mass with the Blessed Sacrament simultaneously exposed for adoration.


Is this done at specific intervals or as needed?
What is the process for replacement? Seems like the height of the monstrace above the altar might make involve a ladder, steps, etc.
I assume the priest consumes the host being replaced during that process. Correct?

I don’t know what the procedure is at EWTN. I am sure they have whatever steps, etc. are necessary. In parishes that have Perpetual Adoration it should be done on a regular basis (before it looks like it needs to be done, then it’s too late!).

We have adoration only weekly. We replace the host once a month. A new host is consecrated at the mass which preceded adoration. The host that is removed is broken up and added to the hosts being given out at that mass.

I like the idea of the consecrated host inside the crystal lunula (lunette) of the Ostensorium (“Monstrance”) being changed frequently. However; having been a Sacristan for ten years I have never seen the consecrated host inside the lunula replaced once a month.
Having served three different priests in the span of ten years the host in the lunula got changed once a year with a new host consecrated on the Easter Vigil. Due to the elderly age and forgetfulness of the priest’s; I was given the most humble task of removing the older consecrated host from the lunula and placing it in a ciboria. After purifying and cleaning the lunula I inserted a unconsecrated host inside the crystal lunula for the priest to consecrate which usually happened once a year. I have read about miraculous stories about the Eucharistic in one particular Catholic Church in Italy where a surviving 1300 year old consecrated host fully intact inside the lunula of a monstrance.

You should speak to your priest about replacing the hosts more frequently. One of the reasons the Church requires this is because if the bread corrupts, the Presence of Christ ceases. Then it would be idolatry.

I totally agree that the host in the lunula should be changed frequently.
And I have brought this issue up to my parish priest in a respectful tactful manner.
His answer was that frequent change was not necessary. I can no longer argue this matter.

The second part of your statement has me somewhat bothered where you state that hosts older than a month or longer corrupts and the Holy Presence of Christ ceases to be present.
Unless there is serious sacrilege I don’t see how Jesus Presence in the Holy Eucharist is diminished or ceases to exist inside the Tabernacle. Legions of God’s Angels in Adoration continually surround the Holy Presence of Jesus inside the Tabernacle

It’s not necessary that it corrupts, but it’s possible - and when it does so, the Presence of Christ ceases. If the change in the bread is so great that we could say the ‘accidents’ have corrupted - then Christ is no longer present under the appearance. To paraphrase the Angelic Doctor, the accidents are then no longer compatible with the nature of bread. No bread = no Christ, ince He is present under the appearance of bread.

I would certainly agree by what you state here.

To paraphrase the Angelic Doctor, the accidents are then no longer compatible with the nature of bread. No bread = no Christ

The Angelic Doctor of the Church of the Eucharist you are referring to is no doubt Saint Thomas Aquinas. In my archdiocese the Trappist Priest and Nuns make the wafer whole wheat hosts for a number of dioceses in my province. I still totally agree that the host in the lunula should be changed frequently and (“not”) left to a year before it is changed. Some priests being human do tend to get complacent in their duties.

Yes, only one monstrance.

Yes, usually every few days if not daily where daily Mass is celebrated.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit