Is it against Church Doctrine or teaching for a Lay Ecclesiastical Minister to place the Eucharist into the Monserance for Eucharistic Adoration?
Yes, it is permitted, with permission from the bishop
- The ordinary minister for exposition of the eucharist is a priest or deacon. At the end of the period of adoration, before the reposition, he blesses the congregation with the sacrament.
In the absence of a priest or deacon or if they are lawfully impeded, the following persons may publicly expose and later repose the eucharist for the adoration of the faithful:
a. an acolyte or special minister of communion;
b. upon appointment by the local Ordinary, a member of a religious community or of a pious association of laymen or laywomen which is devoted to eucharistic adoration.
Such ministers may open the tabernacle and also, as required, place the ciborium on the altar or place the host in the monstrance. At the end of the period of adoration, they replace the blessed sacrament in the tabernacle. It is not lawful, however, for them to give the blessing with the sacrament.
- The minister, if he is a priest or deacon, should vest in an alb, or a surplice over a cassock, and a stole. Other ministers should wear either the liturgical vestments that are used in the region or the vesture that is befitting this ministry and is approved by the Ordinary.
The priest or deacon should wear a white cope and humeral veil to give the blessing at the end of adoration, when the exposition takes place with the monstrance; in the case of exposition in the ciborium, he should put on the humeral veil.
Actually, “a” is the one that applies for the average parish and it doesn’t require appointment by the Bishop.
*a. an acolyte or special minister of communion;
*A “special minister of communion” is an EMHC in the language used in 1973. The term was changed later.
It should be noted though that just because someone can do something, it doesn’t mean that they should.
There exists a certain intimacy between the priesthood and the eucharist, which always makes it preferable for a priest (or, to some extent a deacon) to handle the Blessed Sacrament.
Other persons being able to expose the Blessed Sacrament is not meant to be the norm. It’s meant for missionary areas, and regions that may only see a priest every few months.
But it also means that in areas with regular Adoration hours, they are able to maintain the schedule even if the Pastor is not available as long as an EMCH is around. Our parish used to have Adoration once a month but it wasn’t rare for the priest to be away at the Mission or at the diocese so an EMHC usually exposed the Blessed Sacrament at that time. In our case they didn’t even have to handle the Host, it was already in the luna in the tabernacle.
We have daily adoration in our chapel, generally 8 am to 10 pm. To have a priest expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament each day at these times would place an undue burden on their already hectic schedules so specially trained EMHC’s are appointed to this ministry in our parish. Maybe this is not ideal but we could not continue the adoration program here without doing it this way. As in Phemie’s case the Luna is prepared by the priest, in our case it’s done on a weekly basis.
Several times in a parish where I worked I had to expose the Blessed Sacrament for adoration. The priests just could not be located and people were waiting in the chapel. Also at times I had to repise it when no adorers showed up and Jesus was left alone.