Display of the Blessed Sacrement (Host) for Adoration

Can you tell me where to find an explanation of how Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament should be presented? All of the candles have been removed from our Adoration Chapel and I thought that a candle should always burn by the Tabernacle and by the Monstrance.

if required by the fire code the candle can be electric.

Actually Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament by Church law requires a certain number of candles, I think 6. One “live” flame must burn near the tabernacle containing the Blessed Sacrament.

I’ve never seen any exceptions in any Church document to a “living flame.” Most city and county ordinances have exceptions especially for churches when it comes to candles.

Thank you for the replies. I’ve never heard of an electic candle as a replacement, but they haven’t even gone that far…the Monstrance has two lamps flanking it on the altar. I thought there needed to be 4 candles around the Monstrance and 1 at the Tabernacle.

Does anyone know where I can find the documentation to present to the person in charge of the Adoration Chapel?

The main liturgical book on this is “Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass”. In Australia it was published published by E.J. Dwyer, Sydney, 1975, ISBN 0-85574-401-4. It can also be found in The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0, starting at page 633.

It has:
“85. For exposition of the blessed sacrament in the monstrance, four to six candles are lighted, as at Mass, and incense is used. For exposition of the blesed sacrament in the ciborium, at least two candles should be lighted and incense may be used.”

This is a little confusing, because for Mass two candles can be used. The Ceremonial of Bishops is clearer:
“1104 For exposition of the blessed sacrament with a monstrance, the followed are to be prepared: … four or six candles;”
(Ceremonial of Bishops, Liturgical Press, 1989, ISBN 0-8146-1818-9, page 297.)

Another document to consider is the 2004 Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, numbers 129-141. Particularly important is “[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.”

Even more recently, questions and answers have been published in Notitiae, a journal published by the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. In the September-October 2006 edition, page 493, it has article headed “Questions on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament [footnote Extracts courtesy of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops]”. It goes to question 30, whereas the full book has 31 questions. It can be purchased from usccbpublishing.org/productdetails.cfm?sku=5-595 . It includes:
“25 In order to enhance security, may the Blessed Sacrament be exposed behind a glass window?
No. … Such arrangements often result in the appearance of a “glass tabernacle”, which is forbidden.”

"24. In those places where perpetual adoration of the exposed Blessed Sacament take place, scheduling is often a great challenge. If a person misses an assigned hour for adoration of the exposed Sacrament, can a door or a drape be erected so that the exposed Sacrament can be temporarily closed off from public view?
No. The use of drapes or doors to shield the monstrance, even for a short period of time, is not the required reposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament may never be left exposed when no one is present for prayer and adoration. “Every effort should be made to ensure that there should be at least two people present. There must absolutely never be periods when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed and there is no one present for adoration”. [footnote 30: Roman Ritual, Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucahrist Outside of Mass, n. 88]. “If a period of uninterrupted exposition is not possible, because of too few worshipers, the Blessed Sacrament may be replaced in the tabernacle during periods which have been scheduled and announced beforehand.
This reposition may not take place more often than twice during the day, for example, about noon and at night”. [footnote 31: Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments,* Responsum ad dubium received by the USCCB Committee on the LIturgy, July 1995, published in Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, Washington, DC, 1996 (= Liturgy Documentary Series, 11) pp. 36-37."
I think footnotes 31 and 30 are mixed up.
The “about noon and at night” quote seems to be from Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucahrist Outside of Mass, n. 88. Although the version published in The Rites has “at midday and at night”.
The “at least two people present” quote is not in HCWEOM n. 88, so I guess it is from 1995 Responsum ad dubium.

The requirement for a taberancle lamp is in Canon 940 of the Code of Canon Law: “A special lamp to indicate and honor the presence of Christ is to burn at all times before the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved.”

It wants to look like this :D.

Although, I think we had just a few more than are required.

Diane Korzeniewski uploaded this image to

Here’s another picture from a 40 Hours Devotion at my parish. We typically have one in the late fall.

Diane Korzeniewski uploaded this image to

How beautiful is your church…

Lucky you. :banghead:

Thank you to all that responded to my questions.
God Bless

I have a question about the blessed sacrement itself, in the display of the monstrance or tabernacle. We have a small glass chamber in the back of the tabernacle in which the blessed sacrement is displayed for adoration. A chapel is built on the back side of the tabernacle for those that do perpetual adoration…
and the sacrament is on display through this small glass window 24 hours a day. Someone is always there to view and adore. My question may seem silly, but the blessed sacrament is displayed “crooked”, at times. It looks like an x, instead of a cross on the circular host. It seems disrespectful to have the most precious article of our faith “thrown” into the tabernacle any which way it may fall. Am I too uptight. Are there rules that govern the display?

Thank You,

Are there rules that govern the “postition” of the blessed sacrament in the tabernacle for adoration.
We have a tabernacle with a small glass window in the back, in which the blessed sacrament is displayed for adoration. (We have a chapel behind the tabernacle which is used for adoration…and someone is always present to adore.)
My question is…is the host suppose to be displayed with the lines on it displaying a cross? Ours is often “crooked”. It will often look like an “X” through the window. This seems so disrepectful, to the most precious article of our faith…Jesus Himself, to just “throw” him into the tabernacle any which way. Am I too uptight?

Thank You

Lux_et_veritas, your church is beautiful!!!

If a Host is used that has a cross or lamb or letters they should be properly aligned. Just so as to not distract those wishing to pray. Otherwise use a plain Host for Adoration.

Our Tabernacle has an electric candle. I always wondered about that. I wonder if it is (like Annie said) because of the fire code. Maybe I’ll ask.

Thanks for the info!
I have asked the priest to straighten the “cross”…but he did not do it ( it’s been 2 weeks now)…any problem with that?


No not really, but it might distract someone.

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