Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

Article

A popular Eucharistic devotion in the Catholic Church of the Latin Rite. In the more solemn form of this ceremony the officiating priest is vested in surplice, stole, and cope. The consecrated Host, enclosed in the ostensorium, is placed on the altar or in a niche above, and is incensed by the priest. Then the last two verses of the hymn “Pange Lingua” (“Tantum Ergo…Genitori…“) are sung, during the second of which the Blessed Sacrament is again incensed as before. The versicle “Panem de crelo” etc. and its response “Omne delectamentum” etc. are sung, and the priest chants the prayer of the Blessed Sacrament “Deus qui nobis” etc. Then with his hands covered by a veil pendent: from his shoulders he makes the sign of the cross over the congregation with the ostensorium; after which the consecrated Host is replaced in the tabernacle. Usually a Eucharistic hymn, e.g., “O Salutaris,” is sung at the beginning of the exposition, and a hymn of praise, e.g., “Laudate Dominum” is sung at the conclusion of the ceremony. Other hymns and prayers are permitted before the “Tantum Ergo“; and nowadays the Divine Praises are generally recited by priest and people after the blessing, before the Blessed Sacrament is replaced. At least twelve candles must be lighted on the altar during the function. Benediction originated with the custom, which came into vogue during the 14th century, of exposing the Blessed Sacrament for adoration. Subsequently (c.16th century) the blessing with the Sacred Host was added. The general law of the Church permits Benediction, both morning and evening, on the feast of Corpus Christi and during its octave. For a good reason the bishop may grant permission for this devotion on other occasions. The second Council of Baltimore allows Benediction in churches throughout the United States on Sundays, feasts of the first and second classes, twice a week during Lent, every day during a mission, and at the Forty-Hours’ devotion, besides the days designated by the individual bishops.

MLA Citation

  • “Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament”. New Catholic Dictionary. CatholicSaints.Info. 5 September 2013. Web. 21 August 2017. <>