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Why We Do What We Do No. 2

During Benediction, why does the priest don a cloak then use it to hold the monstrance for the actual Benediction blessing, but at all other times he, and a member of the laity, holds the monstrance in bare hands?

The cloak that the questioner speaks of is known formally as the humeral veil, a piece of cloth that is worn by a priest or deacon in certain liturgical rites associated with the Blessed Sacrament.

During Benediction the humeral veil is worn by the priest or deacon only during the actual blessing with the Blessed Sacrament, and the veil is used here so that it is very clear that the blessing comes from the Blessed Sacrament present in the monstrance and not from the priest or deacon.

That’s also why the veil is not worn by the minister who exposes or reposes the Blessed Sacrament before or after the actual Benediction.

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