Why did my parish cover the monstrance on the altar?

Question:  I dropped by a local parish recently to visit the Lord in their perpetual adoration chapel. When I got there, however, there were no other “adorers” there and the Precious Body was covered by a cloth. My question is this: Why cover Him up? It doesn’t make the host cease to be the Body of Christ, right? And covered or not, He is well aware that the chapel is empty, right? To be honest, it kind of reminded me of when I had a pet bird as a kid. At night, we would cover the cage with a towel so the bird would sleep. Haha I know it isn’t the same concept at work, but the similarities struck me as funny! Thanks for your time!

Indeed I agree with you, this doesn’t make much sense and several liturgy consultants that several of our experts consulted with agreed with us!  But just for good measure we can make some assumptions:

Perhaps the pastor or associate pastor in your parish covered the monstrance in order to not confuse people.  Perhaps he removed the blessed sacrament from the monstrance after a benediction service or perhaps he was preparing the altar for adoration and got called away on an emergency before he could place the blessed sacrament inside.

Rather than leaving the monstrance without the sacrament inside, and confusing those who stood far away from thinking that the blessed sacrament was contained inside, he chose to cover the monstrance with a cloth so that it would appear not to be in use.

Regardless, it looks like that if that was his plan, he confused people regardless.

If anyone else has other ideas feel free to email them to us at questionbox@bustedhalo.com

Mike Hayes is the Senior Editor for Googling God.  Dr. Rachel Bundang contributed to the research on this question.

Mike Hayes

Mike Hayes

Mike co-founded BustedHalo.com in 2001. Currently, Mike is the director of campus ministry at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. A frequent speaker on ministering to young adults, Mike is the author of "Googling God: The Religious Landscape of People in Their 20s and 30s" and "Loving Work: A Spiritual Guide to Finding the Work We Love and Bringing Love to the Work We Do."


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