Incense bowls ?


I was at a funeral mass recently and the priest had a “bowl” with incense in it and put it on a stand by the altar. I heard and seen this on photos by others on here. Is this the “modern” version of some ancient practice. Seemed strange to me.


First off, sorry for your loss.

What the priest should have had was a server holding a lit thurible (the basket of incense on chains that gets swung so the smoke goes up and around). He should have incensed the casket. And that is a very ancient practice.

As for legitimacy, I can’t tell you. I know in some places, the heavy-duty ceramic bowls of incense are big things.


I can answer your question because I recently encountered this at my mother’s funeral earlier this year. The priest who said the funeral Mass was from Sri Lanka, and was very familiar with Hindu practices and beliefs. He wasn’t the priest at the parish where the funeral Mass was held, so when he was in the sacristy getting ready, the deacon offered him an incense bowl to use at the Mass. Father refused to use it, pointing out that incense bowls are used in Hindu temples. He insisted on a thurible, which the deacon finally retrieved for him. Incense bowls are from Hindu, not Catholic, tradition.


God Love that Priest!!!


Long may that priest live and incense lots of stuff and people (not just the faithful departed)!


This is a pagan practice. New Ageism seeping into the Liturgy.

A thurible is more appropriate.


Alas, in many places it already has. In the same way that some may actually be Catholic without actually knowing it, some Catholics have turned pagan and refuse to acknowledge it.


Indeed. Bowls of incense, female altar servers in long white gowns, distasteful music- hey, thats the Mahoney video ;).


Sometimes one is just tempted to just let them do all their rubbish to make it clear which is the Catholic Church and which is a Pagan Temple. :stuck_out_tongue:


My cousin commented on one used at a church dedication she recently attended. She questioned the Bishop about it in the ‘receiving line’ and how it looked ‘paganish’ to her - he told her he saw her point but that it was required for church dedications (it was placed in the middle of the altar as the rest of the church and congregation were incensed with thuribles). ???


The General Instruction of the Roman Missal and Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite allow Incensation by Thurification only.

Revelation 8, 3: And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; (4) and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angle before God.

My guess was that the priest, in his special way, was offering a continuous offering of all the prayers offered during the funeral Mass. However; I could not locate authority or any documents to suggest this is within the teachings or rubrics of the Church.


“The Latin Church also uses incense (again, more sparingly than the Eastern Church) in some of her other liturgical rites. The Rite for the Dedication of a Church, for instance, **specifies that incense is to be burned in a brazier placed on the altar **after the anointing with chrism, and from this brazier, coal is placed in a censer for the incensation of the church building, walls and assembly.”


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