15-September-2000 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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ST. PETERSBURG DIOCESE ENDS PERPETUAL EXPOSITION OF EUCHARIST

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida, (CWNews.com) - The Diocese of St. Petersburg has issued new guidelines which, on September 1, ended the practice of perpetual exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in parishes, and only allows worship of the Eucharist reserved in tabernacles.

The guidelines, "Concerning Eucharistic Adoration, Exposition, and Benediction," survey Church history on the the theology of the Eucharist, noting that the current practice of worshiping the exposed Sacrament arose only in the 13th century. That contradicts other historians and theologians who trace the practice back to the sixth century in Spain. The guidelines, which were sent to priests of the diocese in a June 12 letter from Bishop Robert Lynch, also claim that the focus on the Real Presence in the Eucharist overshadows the presence of Christ in the minister, the Word proclaimed, other sacraments, and the participation of the faithful.

The directive says that exposition of the Blessed Sacrament should take place within a fixed period of time in a liturgical service such as Benediction, or for a period of one or more days annually.

For parishes that wish to inaugurate adoration of the Blessed Sacrament the Bishop says they should "reflect on... their commitment of time and money to social services." Among other reflections, they should ask, "Are they as respectful and reverent toward Christ's presence in the gathered Body, the Church, as they are to the presence of Christ in the Sacrament? .... Does the eucharistic bread look like bread? ... Do the eucharistic ministers reflect the parish, i.e., inclusive of age, ethnicity, and gender?"



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