Who is allowed to touch the Host at Adoration?

They had a short one at church today, there were three parishioners other than myself. Adoration had started but when it finished a parishioner removed the Host from the monstrance.

I thought it had to be a priest or deacon? Can an EMHC do it or anybody?


A solemn adoration, with servers, incense etc., can only be celebrated by a priest or a deacon. Other people with the privilege can celebrate a simple adoration.

At a retreat that I went to, there was overnight adoration, which ended at 7:00, so they could start breakfast. I went in shortly before 7:00, and one of the two women in charge of the retreat had removed the Host. So I guess it doesn’t take a priest or deacon.

Surely the Host is encased in a lunette or similar, so nobody is touching it anyway.


What is a lunette?

The glass circle with metal edges.

He took it out to put in a dish (name unknown to me).

The person actually touched the Host? What happened with the “dish” (could be called a paten) after that?

For Exposition, a properly designated layperson can expose and repose the Blessed Sacrament but the particulars of what you are describing are … not what I would expect.


The layperson probably took the lunette (the glass disk thing with metal edges that the host is in to stand upright in the monstrance) and put it into a standing pyx (a usually gold bowl/dish like object the lunette slides into when not in use to be placed back in the tabernacle).

Why would this be different than when i, a lay Eucharistic minister to the homebound, fill my pix on my on to take with me?


By “it”, do you mean the lunette?

If a priest or deacon is available, he should return the host to the tabernacle after exposition. If neither is available, a properly instructed lay person may do so. The training given to EMHCs doesn’t usually cover this.

The host is held in a curved clip called a lunette that fits into a slot in the monstrance. In the tabernacle, it is kept in a large pyx which also has a slot for the lunette.

In my church, we have an hour of adoration after weekday Mass. The pyx with the host is brought to the altar by the deacon or EMHC who recesses the ciborium after Holy Communion. The priest places the host in the monstrance and the pyx and its cover are placed on the credence table. At the end of adoration, a lay person is designated to recess the host. Sometimes that’s me.

Too much noise at adoration today; praying loudly, singing hymns, reading readings. All the lights on too.

If there were no prayers, hymns and readings then there would be a failure to follow the liturgical book “Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass”:

“95. During the exposition there should be prayers, songs, and readings to direct the attention of the faithful to the worship of Christ the Lord.

To encourage a prayerful spirit, there should be readings from scripture with a homily or brief exhortations to develop a better understanding of the eucharistic mystery. It is also desirable for the people to respond to the word of God by singing and to spend some periods of time in religious silence.”

From the book n. 91:

“In the absence of a priest or deacon or if they are lawfully impeded the following persons may publicly expose and later repose the holy eucharist for the adoration of the faithful:

a) an acolyte or special minister of communion;

b) a member of a religious community or of a lay association of men or women which is devoted to eucharistic adoration, upon appointment by the local Ordinary.”

Today we would use the term “Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion” instead of “special minister of communion”. The term “acolyte” refers to an instituted acolyte. Only men can become instituted acolytes. They are given a lifetime appointment as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (unless they are later ordained as deacons).

Bernoulli wrote “A solemn adoration, with servers, incense etc., can only be celebrated by a priest or a deacon. Other people with the privilege can celebrate a simple adoration.” I disagree with this.

From the book:

“85. For exposition of the blessed sacrament in the monstrance, four to six candles are lighted, as at Mass, and incense is used.”

It does not have “and incense is used if the minister is ordained, but not if the minister is a lay person”.

From the book:

“93. After the people have assembled, a song may be sung while the minister comes to the altar. If the holy eucharist is not reserved at the altar where the exposition is to take place, the minister puts on a humeral veil and brings the sacrament from the place of reservation; he is accompanied by servers or by the faithful with lighted candles.”

It is clear from the term “minister” that this person need not be a Priest or Deacon. There is nothing to suggest that the servers are only to be used if the minister is a Priest or Deacon.

It describes the distinctions between the ceremonies with a lay minister and an ordained one in n. 91 and 92. The main one is for a lay minister: “It is not lawful, however, for them to give the blessing with the sacrament.” The other difference is the vestments worn.

[Excerpts from the English translation of Holy Communion and the Worship of the Eucharist Outside of Mass, © 1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.]

While a laymen may expose or repose the Eucharist for adoration, only an ordained minister make impart benediction. Laymen also should not process the Eucharist in a monstrance. If the exposition is to be in a monstrance in a separate place from where the Eucharist is reserved, the layperson should transfer the Eucharist to where the monstrance is already in place and not carry the monstrance there with the sacred species already in place.

From the 1973 instruction, “Immensae Caritatis”, the preference of laity who perform exposition and repose are in this order: instituted acolyte, instituted lector, major seminarian, religious brother, nun, layperson of either sex.

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It comes from this part: “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.”

This is understood as enumerating allowed forms and excluding others. This is opposed to priests and deacons, who may perform the full rite.

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