Eucharistic Adoration & Benediction


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Benediction is an amazingly simple and beautifully proportioned act of worship. We begin by contemplating God's presence in our midst. Then follows the actual sacramental blessing: the priest makes the Sign of the Cross over us with the host enshrined in the monstrance. Finally, we make our response in words of praise and thanksgiving.

The practice of reservation of the Blessed Sacrament arose early in the history of the Church. People then began to gather spontaneously to pray and worship in the very presence of Christ. Later, because Christ's presence meant so much to them, they asked that the host be exhibited in a monstrance (ornamental receptacle). Still, later, prayers and songs were added, and the priest would bless the people with the host enthroned in the monstrance.

The rite of Benediction is as follows: After an opening Eucharistic hymn the celebrant removes the host from the tabernacle, places in it the monstrance, and enthrones it on the altar. After he incenses the host (an act of prayerful worship), a period of silent contemplation or public prayer ensues. Following the homily, a hymn such as "Down in Adoration Falling" is sung. The celebrant then says or sings a prayer, blesses the people with the host and then returns the Eucharist to the tabernacle. Afterward the people say or sing an acclamation such as the Divine Praises.

Eucharistic Adoration Prayers and Hymns (Polish/English/Latin)
Monk's 24-Hour Adoration WebCam
(external link)

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Some text reprinted from Handbook for Today's Catholic, Liguori (Redemptorist) Publications, 1994.314-464-2500.