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Devotions and Eucharistic Adoration

 

"May the Stations of the Cross be prayed during Eucharistic Adoration? I thought that the focus was on Jesus present on the altar and not on his passion."

Regarding the praying of the Stations of the Cross during exposition of the Eucharist, refer to numbers 15-16 of the Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, which is a convenient collection of the rubrics and directives of the liturgical books regarding Eucharistic exposition and benediction:

"During the exposition there should be prayers, songs, and readings to direct the attention of the faithful to the worship of Christ the Lord. To encourage a prayerful spirit, there should be readings from Scripture with a brief homily or exhortations to develop a better understanding of the Eucharistic mystery. It is also desirable for the people to respond to the word of God by singing and to spend some periods of time in religious silence (see Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, no. 95)."

"Part of the Liturgy of the Hours, especially the principal hours, may be celebrated before the Blessed Sacrament, when there is a lengthy period of exposition. This liturgy extends the praise and thanksgiving offered to God in the Eucharistic celebration to the several hours of the day; it directs the prayers of the Church to Christ and through him to the Father in the name of the whole world. (see Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, no. 96)."

Note that these two paragraphs are taken from Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, which is a part of the Roman Ritual, one of the Catholic Church's official liturgical books.

In the light of these directives, the Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist provides several examples of the kinds of public prayer that would be appropriate during a period of exposition, including the Liturgy of the Hours and "Eucharistic Services of Prayer and Praise." These liturgies are designed to "acknowledge Christ's marvelous presence in the sacrament and invites us to the spiritual union with him that culminates in sacramental communion" (Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist, no. 7).

Praying the Stations of the Cross is an ancient and venerable devotion which is designed to foster a devotion to and meditation on the mystery of the Passion of Christ. Traditionally, this devotion presumes the physical movement from station to station, at least on the part of a minister, to stations erected inside a church. Since focus during periods of exposition should be on the Eucharistic presence of Jesus in the monstrance, it does not seem that the traditional way of praying the Stations of the Cross would be appropriate during Eucharistic Adoration. However, the meditations themselves written for the Stations of the Cross might be a helpful aid to prayer during times of exposition.

Those involved in the planning of Eucharistic devotions should bear in mind that the purpose of all exposition is adoration of Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament. The liturgies provided in the Order for Solemn Exposition of the Holy Eucharist are good models for public prayer during solemn Eucharistic worship.



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