Catholics/Question about Adoration

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Question
Recently I was at a conference (Steubenville) and, during Adoration, the priest took the Monstrance off the auditorium stage and went up and down the aisles with it and into the balcony before coming back in to put it in it's place.
I just went to Church today for Adoration and it was completely different. The Monstrance was left on the table at the front of the church for about 2 hours and 45 minutes, the priest then came into the room, led us in the divine praises, held up the Monstrance a couple of times facing each row of pews, set it down and left.

I am a new Catholic and my question is why Adoration was probably done so differently? I looked online and, as there are naturally very few videos of Adoration for a good obvious reason, it is hard for me to tell which is the normal way and why they are so different. I know you won't know for sure because you are not the priest at my Church or at the conference but any ideas you have would be very helpful.

Answer
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is a devotion that originated in the Medieval period.  As the Church deepened her understanding regarding the exact nature of the presence of Christ in the Sacrament during the Eucharistic controversies this devotion blossomed.  

Liturgical customs, practices, rubrics, rules, etc, are not in my area.  I can tell you that when it comes to this particular devotion there are many varied acceptable ways and manners to celebrate it. Some priests if they are having a special service like a parish mission will process around the Church with the Blessed Sacrament and allow people certain "closeness" with the Sacrament as Jesus comes and visits the people.  That is what that represents: the processing up and down the isles represents Jesus coming to his people and visiting them more intimately.  It is an acceptable way for a priest to celebrate Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. I have seen this done and I have been a part of it at my parish assignment when I was assigned as an assistant pastor. I grant this is probably a less common way to celebrate Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament but it is an acceptable way.

The more common form is the one you mentioned where the priest comes in, leads the Divine Praises and blesses the people.  Here the priest will make the sign of the cross with the Blessed Sacrament, some do it three (3) times, some once. This is called "Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament."  The priest will use a garment called a "Humeral Veil"   Because Christ is the one giving the blessing in this case and not his minister the Priest, the priest veils his hands as he makes the sign of the Cross to represent Christ is directly giving the blessing.  

I would say the "norm" is to have a period of prayer and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and end with Benediction.  However a less common but nonetheless acceptable way to celebrate Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is in processing down the isles with the Sacrament to allow people a greater period of intimacy and personal encounter with Jesus in the Sacrament.  

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Father Dave Bechtel

Expertise

I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.

Experience

I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Education/Credentials
Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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