By Deacon Peter Freeman.
The Eucharist is Jesus truly present – body, blood, soul and divinity. At the moment of consecration during Mass, the “gifts” of bread and wine are transformed (transubstantiated) into the actual Body and Blood of Christ, at the altar. This is what is meant by the real presence: the actual, physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
After Communion, the Eucharistic Body of Christ is reserved in the tabernacle. A votive light is kept burning to remind us that Jesus is present.
Because we, as Catholics, believe that Christ is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament is given the same reverence, respect and devotion that is accorded to Christ.
Eucharistic adoration is adoring or honoring the presence of Christ in the Eucharist and can take place at any time that the Blessed Sacrament is present in the tabernacle.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament occurs when a priest or deacon removes the sacred host from the tabernacle and places it in the monstrance on the altar for adoration by the faithful. The monstrance is the vessel used in the Church to display the consecrated Eucharistic Host during adoration or benediction. The word monstrance comes from the Latin word monstrare meaning “to expose”. When a consecrated host is placed in the monstrance, it is said to be in solemn exposition.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament allows for the adoration of Christ visibly present in the Eucharist for 40 Hours devotions, holy hours, adoration and benediction.
Many parishes have Eucharistic exposition and benediction for a certain number of hours each week. Some parishes have perpetual adoration in a chapel reserved for Eucharistic Exposition. Perpetual adoration is adoration in front of the exposed Eucharist twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week.
During Eucharistic adoration, we “watch and wait” and remain silent in His presence and open ourselves to the graces which flow from the Eucharist. Like a magnet, the Lord draws us to Himself and gently transforms us.
Click Here for a directory of parishes within the Diocese of Covington that hold Eucharistic exposition and adoration, with days and times, as well as parishes with perpetual adoration chapels.