Why Do Catholics Have Eucharistic Adoration?

Question: I know you can adore the Blessed Sacrament in front of the tabernacle without exposition, so what exactly is the difference? What does it mean that exposition makes the Eucharist vulnerable to vandalism?
Also, how many adorers should be present for exposition of the Eucharist? It seems to me that exposition is meant for more than 1 person.

While Jesus can certainly take care of Himself, there has been many unfortunate incidents where non-Catholics have desecrated the eucharist. One famous example includes someone taking a host and thumbtacking it to their bulletin board and taking a picture of it with the words “It’s just a damn cracker.”

We’d certainly like to avoid giving someone the opportunity to do this.

At least one person is technically OK for adoration, but I agree with your sentiment. For safety reasons alone, I often require 2 people minimum to be present while in a campus chapel or church, for any reason, especially after hours.

Technically speaking, there is also no difference between having the Eucharist exposed or not exposed or even being in the room. Jesus is present everywhere. However, people find that it aids in their prayer to have a visible tangible sign of that presence–so adoration is helpful to us in that regard and we consider it a special experience–an intentional one on our part of being with Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

A final word. The most important thing about the Eucharist is that we become what it is that we RECEIVE. So consuming the Eucharist at Mass, rather than merely adoring it is where we’d most like to encourage people to most be. Now if Adoration helps increase their faith to where they become people who go to daily mass…then we can encourage that as well.

As a lay minister I often encourage both: expose the Eucharist for an hour BEFORE mass and then have them stay afterwards for mass or I do the reverse: Expose the Eucharist after mass. And I talk to people about the experience of adoration and include good Catechesis of the Eucharist around the practice both formally and informally.

A colleague tells me that he would often get many people attending a weekly adoration service but not weekday or often even Sunday Mass. This is what we most want to avoid.

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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