Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament
Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a brief service of adoration of the real presence of Christ in the blessed bread of Holy Communion. It serves as a way for the faithful to worship God as He extends His risen and glorified life in heaven to be present sacramentally with His people on earth.
The devotion of Benediction extends back many centuries and has its origin in the heightened devotion of the faithful to the Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic. It also finds its origins in the practice of blessing the congregation with some sacred object (e.g., a cross, holy water, etc.).
Because the ultimate purpose of the Sacraments is “that we should duly use them,” Benediction cannot under any circumstances be considered a substitute for attendance at the Eucharist and the reception of the Holy Communion; it is, rather, a supplemental aid in our devotion to Jesus.
At St. Mary’s, Benediction is offered following the Way of the Cross on Fridays during Lent and at the conclusion of Choral Evensong during the season of Easter.