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“Ask a Priest: Could I Use a Monstrance at Home?”
Q: I am a devout Catholic and meditate and pray a lot at home. I would like to purchase a monstrance with a luna for home use. Is this approved by the Catholic Church to have one at home? I am assuming that I would not be allowed to have a consecrated Host at home for the luna. If that is the case, then what do people put inside of the luna in its place? I have holy water from Lourdes and Medugorje, along with a cloth that is reportedly a relic. Because of my illness I often cannot attend Mass or go to Eucharistic adoration. I just want to be certain that I am following the Catholic Church’s guidelines. Sorry for the dumb question. – R.B.
Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC
A: It’s not a dumb question — in fact, it’s good that you asked it.
The monstrance is the sacred vessel, often with a sunburst-like shape, which contains the consecrated Host when exposed for adoration or carried in procession.
The luna, or lunette, is the circular receptacle, usually with glass sides, that holds the sacred Host upright in the monstrance. The luna is made of metal circled with gold or a gilded metal.
Having the Eucharist in one’s home (technically known as reservation of the Blessed Sacrament) requires a bishop’s explicit permission. This kind of permission is rarely given, for various reasons.
As mentioned, a monstrance is used to display the Eucharist for adoration. That, in turn, requires a priest or deacon or someone with special permission to expose it, that is, to take it out of the tabernacle and put it in the monstrance.
It is also necessary that someone other than the minister be present when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for adoration. A person couldn’t simply put the Host in the monstrance with no one else around.
And to get the Eucharist in a venue in the first place usually requires that a Mass will be celebrated there – and, thereafter, at least once a month. Moreover, there is the matter of ensuring the safety and proper handling of the Eucharist.
So you can see how all of this gets complicated, and why bishops generally don’t give permission for at-home reservation.
And while it’s not prohibited for a Catholic to buy a monstrance and luna, a better alternative might be to get a reliquary where you can display your relic (I’ll assume that the authenticity of the relic isn’t in serious doubt). It would be good to have the reliquary blessed first.
The reliquary could be part of a prayer corner, or “little oratory,” that you set up in your residence. The prayer corner could also include a crucifix, pictures or statues of saints, and even bottles of holy water—whatever helps you to focus on prayer.
And if you can’t get to Mass, you could follow one on the Internet.
I hope some of this helps. Count on my prayers.
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