The Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist (OSEHE) Art. 4 states: “devotion, both private and public, toward the Eucharist, even outside Mass that conforms to the norms laid down by lawful authority is strongly encouraged”. These norms are elaborated in the remaining Articles of the Introduction and in the rubrics for the various celebrations of Exposition included in the OSEHE. Although legitimate adaptations of the Church’s liturgy to local situations and needs are permitted, improvisation of, additions to or subtractions from the rites are not envisioned.
The Church’s liturgy should always be central to, and the point of reference for, all devotions, including Exposition and Adoration. OSEHE stresses that “account should always be taken of the liturgical season so that (devotions) accord with the liturgy, are in some way derived from it, and lead the people back to it” (4). It is the duty of pastors, catechists and other leaders and teachers of the faith to emphasize this necessary connection between the liturgy and devotions.
In order to insure both the observance of the highest degree of reverence and dignity in the reservation, Exposition and adoration of the Most Eucharist and the preservation of the integrity of the Church’s liturgy the Diocese of Orlando observes the norms set forth in universal law of the Church. The following definitions are provided for the sake of clarity in understanding and applying the norms.
The Reservation of the Most Blessed Sacrament
- The Most Holy Eucharist is to be reserved in the cathedral church, every parish church, and the appropriate church or oratory connected with the house of a religious institute or society of apostolic life.
- Reservation in other chapels or oratories requires the permission of the Diocesan Bishop.
- The Most Holy Eucharist is never to be reserved in any place that has not been authorized.
- The prescriptions of the liturgical books are to be followed in all that pertains to the reservation, handling, and the worship of the Most Holy Eucharist.
- In all churches, oratories, and private chapels, there is to be only one tabernacle, conforming to law as to construction, placement, and security, for the habitual reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist.
- The tabernacle is to be solid, immovable, opaque, and locked.
- The person responsible for the church or oratory is to take care that the tabernacle key is safeguarded.
- In religious houses, the Bishop can, for a just cause, permit Eucharistic reservation in an alternate oratory of the same house.
Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament
- Adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist in the tabernacle is strongly encouraged wherever the Blessed Sacrament is legitimately reserved.
- This adoration may be perpetual, with due regard for security and for the normal liturgical and pastoral life of the community.
- Adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist outside the tabernacle (i.e., Eucharistic Exposition) must follow the norms set forth in articles III, IV, and V of the Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist (OSEHE).
Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament for Brief Periods
- In all churches and oratories where the Most Holy Eucharist is legitimately reserved, Exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist in the pyx, ciborium, or monstrance for a brief period of time (that is, for less than a day) is encouraged if suitable numbers of the faithful can be present.
- Opportunities for such Exposition should be planned throughout the year, especially in relation to specal feasts and seasons of the liturgical calendar, and may occur monthly or even weekly.
- Exposition for several hours (but not more than a day) may occur monthly or even as often as once a week.
- Exposition for a holy hour may occur more frequently.
- During the Exposition, the norms of the Roman Ritual, Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, Chapter III, must be observed regarding the object and content of public prayer. The period should include sufficient time for silent reflection, as well as for prayers, songs, and readings, including a homily or brief exhortation to lead the faithful to the worship of Christ the Lord.
- Exposition may not take place during the celebration of Mass in the same church (unless in a separate chapel).
- If the period of Exposition both precedes and follows the Mass, a simple reposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle takes place before the Mass begins. This is permitted up to twice in the same day.
- No Exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist is permitted during the Easter Triduum, that is, from immediately before the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday until after the Mass of the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. This includes the period of adoration immediately following the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. This norm applies even in those communities authorized to observe perpetual Exposition of most Holy Eucharist.
- Exposition held simply for the giving of Benediction is prohibited.
Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament for Longer Periods
- In each parish and religious house, it is recommended that there be an annual solemn Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament for a more extended period of time (from one to three days), but only if a suitable gathering of the faithful is foreseen.
- If uninterrupted Exposition is not possible because of too few worshippers, the Blessed Sacrament may be replaced in the tabernacle during periods that have been scheduled and announced beforehand—but not more than twice a day. At least one person must be present at all times when the Most Blessed Sacrament is exposed.
- Any public prayer during the period of Exposition must observe the directives found in Order for the Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist (OSEHE). No improvised or invented rites are permitted.
- Where pastoral circumstances recommend it, such an extended period of Exposition may be scheduled up to four times during the year.
Processions with the Most Blessed Sacrament
1. In the case of solemn Eucharistic processions (that is, leaving church property to move through the streets), it is for the Bishop to judge whether and how this is to be done in particular circumstances.
Requests for permission, addressed to the Diocesan Bishop, should indicate the proposed date, time, place, route to be followed, and order of the rite.
2. On such occasions, the procession should normally originate in one church and go to another, although, when unavoidable, it may return to the same church where it began.
3. In the course of the procession, the Eucharistic blessing may be given at specified stations along the way; however, the procession is to conclude in a church with the rite of benediction followed by the reposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
4. Once the monstrance or other approved vessel has been put in the place of Exposition, it may not be moved for processions, blessings, or acts of personal veneration or devotion until the Benediction, if one is given, and Reposition.
Eucharistic Exposition outside of Churches, Oratories and Chapels
- Apart from authorized processions, Eucharistic Exposition outside of churches, chapels, and oratories where the Most Blessed Sacrament is regularly reserved is not permitted.
- In rare circumstances, and for the benefit of a large portion of the faithful, the Bishop may grant particular exceptions to this norm. Requests for such extraordinary permission, addressed to the Diocesan Bishop, should indicate the proposed date, place, liturgical arrangements, participants, and specific pastoral purpose of the event.
Perpetual Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament
- Church law permits perpetual Exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist only to communities of religious that have this devotion as an integral part of their communal life.
- Perpetual Exposition is also permitted to a pious association of the laity that has received official recognition and includes perpetual adoration as part of its constitution.
- In the case of an officially recognized lay association, the group’s activities should be understood as separate from that of a parish, although parish members are free to participate in them.
- As a devotional practice of a specified religious community or lay association, perpetual Exposition is not to take place in a parish church but rather in an authorized chapel of the community or association.
- Exposition must be suspended for the Easter Triduum, that is, from before the time of the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday until after the Mass of the Easter Vigil. This includes the period of adoration immediately following the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper.