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Mike Hayes
Our readers asked:

Why did my parish cover the monstrance on the altar?

Mike Hayes Answers:

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.

The Author : Mike Hayes
Mike Hayes is the senior editor for the Googling God section at BustedHalo.com.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Fr John Blaker

    You’re never supposed to have the Sacrement exposed if nobody is there for adoration. The monstrance can be covered or the Sacrament can be put in the tabernacle.

    Also, in places where there is Perpetual Adoration, the monstrance is covered during Mass.

  • mike

    Interesting Emily. I have never heard that but it makes some sense to me. However, if someone follows you in do they have the sense to remove the cover or do they get timid about doing it? Seems like more of the job for a sexton or Pastoral Associate than individuals to me.

  • Emily

    The parish I grew up in does the same thing in the adoration chapel. I was always taught that if you are the last one to leave the chapel, you are supposed to cover the monstrance. I never got a detailed reason why though, beyond it being sort of a sign of respect.

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