Lay Benediction

Can a lay person approach the tabernacle, expose the Blessed Sacrament, and lead the prayers for benediction? What is the Church’s teaching on regulations for benediction?

Actually, no. But it might be because of the way you phrased the question. Allow me, please.

In the absense of a priest or deacon, a layperson MIGHT be delegated by the priest to expose the Blessed Sacrament in the monstrance. But only a priest or deacon can do benediction–the blessing of the people with the Bl. Sacrament.

Anyone can lead the other prayers, keeping in mind that only a priest or deacon can actually impart any kind of blessing.

Laity cannot preside at Benediction. Laity may expose the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration and repose it following.

Thank you Father and diggerdomer.

Father, there was no blessing with the eucharist, but it happened right after mass so I couldn’t see why the priest didn’t expose the Blessed Sacrament. Come to think of it though, he’d already left the Church campus by the time I went to question it, so maybe he has more parishes under his authority. This happened while I was on vacation, by the way, so I’m not familiar with how this parish does things. Benediction only refers to the blessing?

Digger, when you say laity may expose the Blessed Sacrament, does that include placing the Eucharist in the monstrance?

Yes the actual word “benediction” refers only to the blessing part. We often use the word to refer to the entire service. Nothing wrong with that. However, what we really should be saying is “Exposition and Benediction”

But the distinction is that a blessing can only be imparted by a priest or deacon, so as far as your question goes, a layperson cannot do Benediction.

Exposition on the other hand means that the Blessed Sacrament is “on display” (and here, I’m just trying to define the term) either in a monstrance or a pyx.

As I said in the earlier post, if a priest/deacon is not available, a priest may delegate to a layperson the function of removing the Bl. Sacrament from the tabernacle and “exposing” the Bl Sacrament for prayer, and then returning the Host to the tabernacle. This is one of those extraordinary functions, and it can be done only if there’s no cleric, and only if the priest specifically appoints someone to do this.

As far as praying before the Blessed Sacrament, anyone can lead appropriate prayers, especially Eucharistic prayers–but without attempting to impart any blessings.


OK. That about raps that up then; thanks again!

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