QUAERITUR: Exposition in a school classroom

From a reader:

Is it proper to hold Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in a classroom at the high school when 30 feet out the back door is the church and our Perpetual Adoration Chapel, where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed 24/7? Previous pastor didn’t allow it, current pastor does.

That just doesn’t sound right, does it. Unless…

I assume that the “classroom” has been more or less permanently converted into a chapel.  In that case, it may be okay to do so.

But you say there is already a chapel for Perpetual Adoration….

It sounds to me as if the priest there is trying make sure that students and teachers in the school have access to the Blessed Sacrament exposed, so that they don’t have to leave the building. That is laudable.

Provided that the classroom has been converted into a chapel, I don’t think such a thing would be forbidden.  The only problem I could foresee is having exposition in two places on the same campus.  That sounds odd to me.  Still, provided that everything is handled reverently and there is amble protection for the Blessed Sacrament, and It is not alone for long periods, I cannot see why there could not be exposition in a school chapel.

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17 Responses to QUAERITUR: Exposition in a school classroom

  1. Steve T. says:

    Why not refer to the Blessed Sacrament as he? That is accurate. Plus it ties certain Prots in knots.

  2. Charivari Rob says:

    I would not be astonished to hear in today’s world that it’s a case of some mix of procedural hoops to jump through for taking the students “off-premises” .

    Yes, I know it’s only 30 feet.

    In today’s world, though, institutions are (should be) much more aware of issues of (potential) liability, security, and procedure (and litigiousness). Some of the practices that follow from that awareness can be a little, ummm… Clunky? Dysfunctional? Overkill?

    Unless the school’s manual makes parents aware that regular activities may include unscheduled (short-notice) visits to the other building (as opposed to “student body Mass at the church, monthly, 1st Monday, 10 AM”) they may actually have to treat it as a field trip – get permission slips, get a crossing guard, get chaperones or another teacher to accompany (can’t have someone alone off-site with the youths, you know…)

  3. *considers the naivete of the world*

    We had a separate, unattached cafeteria in the parish hall, maybe a hundred feet from our school. Would you like to know how many bruises I came home with, just from walking that far under the unwatchful eye of playground supervisors instead of the watchful eye of teachers? Would you like to know how much verbal and physical abuse the old German nun at the cafeteria door suffered, due to the same thing?

    Let’s not even talk about walking 500 feet to go to Mass at church, or come back after. My calves still hurt, and that was with teachers right there. Going to receive or coming back from receiving, it was nothing but an opportunity for assault and occasional battery. And sadly, that’s the kind of routine liturgical abuse that has always been common among kids, before or after Vatican II. Kids are mean, nasty critters if you give them a chance, even if they’re perfect angels in a more disciplined environment.

    There is NO FREAKING WAY you should EVER take kids out of doors at school without keeping in mind that any change of venue is a “mayhem opportunity”. Combining mayhem opportunity with adoration seems like a guarantee of trouble, and would do no good for souls.

  4. Of course, it’s possible that many public, private, and parochial schools are better regulated than were any I attended. But given that I attended school in a middle class, low crime area full of educated people who owned their own homes, I think it’s about as good as you’re going to get.

  5. Julee says:

    No, the classroom has NOT been converted to a chapel. When Exposition is held there, they “dress” it up a bit, but after Adoration is over it reverts back to a regular classroom. Currently the theology classroom, which is better than the room they used to use which was the empty classroom used as a storage/coat closet.

    As to having to have a permission slip to leave the building, in todays climate you just might be right. However, the students currently walk over to the church twice a week for Mass…..no one has ever complained.

  6. People tend to confuse perpetual adoration and perpetual exposition. The former, where the Eucharist is reserved in the tabernacle, is within the rights of the faithful given the proper setting (a church or chapel or oratory). The latter, where the Eucharist is exposed in a monstrance (or, in lieu thereof, an open ciborium), is a privilege granted or denied by the local bishop. Mind you, I am referring to PERPETUAL exposition, not the typical holy hour or forty hours devotion.

    To expose the Real Presence 24/7 is a great responsibility, typically reserved to religious houses or institutes which have members who are able to be present at all times. It is an even greater responsibility for a parish, never mind a school. Again, with perpetual exposition, someone must be there all the time.

    In the Diocese of Arlington, I am aware of at least two parishes that have perpetual EXPOSITION, but they are in separate chapels, and someone is always there, or the chapel is locked. Sal and I went to see Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” when it first came out, and then headed straight to one of those chapels afterwords for a visit.

    It was the least we could do.

  7. jesusthroughmary says:

    “However, the students currently walk over to the church twice a week for Mass…..no one has ever complained.”

    I wonder if having Mass in that classroom instead of in the Church isn’t the next step. Just walk over to the Church for adoration. Oy.

  8. Allan S. says:

    I cannot imagine how this could be a bad idea. What could be more powerful?

  9. Mundabor says:

    It doesn’t feel right to me.

    In my eyes, a child must understand and make own the concept that he is **expected to go to church**.

    If we bring him the Blessed Sacrament, how about having Mass in the classroom? Perhaps should we have the priest coming to school to hear confessions? And what is next, “Jesus’ vans” with the Blessed Sacrament driven around in parks and squares where people gather? I don’t like where this is going.

    I also wonder whether Don Giovanni Bosco, or Padre Pio, or St. John Vianney have ever felt the need to bring the blessed sacrament in classrooms, or have rather expected children to go to church, and why. I think I can imagine the answer to this.

    I can’t avoid feeling a certain smell of banalisation, of “let us entertain the children”-attitude. The fact that Father Z had *naturally assumed* that the classroom had been transformed in chapel whilst this wasn’t the case clearly speaks of the “casual” approach adopted by the school, and by the priest.

    Then there is the matter of the atmosphere. A classroom is not the environment naturally conducive to the proper spirit with which the Blessed sacrament must be approached. This is not a puppy taken to school so that the children may say “cute”, and learn something. Children will not *learn sacredness* if what is most sacred is banalised and transported in their everyday world. On the contrary, they must be encouraged to *go to another world*, in the completely different atmosphere of a chapel.

    M

    M

  10. EWTN Rocks says:

    manwithblackhat,

    Thank you for reminding us not to confuse perpetual adoration and perpetual exposition. In either case, a high school classroom doesn’t seem appropriate to me. I believe the Blessed Sacrament should be placed where it encourages praying, spiritual contemplative thinking, and reverent worship of our Lord. I do not believe that is possible in a classroom!

  11. Julee says:

    Currently, we DO have priests come over to the school to hear confessions as well…..And our current Mass schedule of twice a week is going to be reduced back down to once a week, because “going to Mass twice a week is considered excessive at this age level.”

    I want to reiterate that I have a lot of respect for the current administration at the school….these decisions are not being made by them.

  12. Julee says:

    Allen,

    I am not it’s a bad idea, per say. I object because I do not think that a classroom is a proper, reverent place for Exposition of our Lord, especially when there is a main church and a Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Chapel on the same campus. There is NO chapel in the school building.

  13. St. Rafael says:

    If you have a perpetual chapel for the Blessed Sacrament 30 feet away, then by all means, the students can get off their can and walk the 30 feet to the chapel, where they know a sacred place has been set aside for all to worship. The classroom is not a chapel, it is a classroom that is used as a classroom, that is dressed up for the Blessed Sacrament. Why would there be a need to have exposition 30 feet away from each other? Especially when the church and chapel are right there by the school? It sends the wrong message of confusion about the differences, value, respect, and sacredness between a school building, classroom, church, and a chapel.

  14. EWTN Rocks says:

    St Rafael,

    “It sends the wrong message of confusion about the differences, value, respect, and sacredness between a school building, classroom, church, and a chapel.” I agree with you.

  15. mpolo says:

    If the children are going to adoration in small groups (rather than complete classes), this could well be a disciplinary measure. If the whole class is going together with the teacher, I would prefer to send them to the chapel. And of course, everything would be even better if there were a room in the school that could be permanently converted into a chapel — perhaps even with a tabernacle so that the kids can freely visit the Eucharist between classes. Of course, you need the permission of the bishop to do that…

  16. I wasn’t saying that kids at parochial school should never go over to church for Mass. Being at a school Mass was great. (Jesus was the only person in that school who was consistently on my side, except the librarian.) I’m saying that parochial teachers should be watching and keeping control over their classes, which is something that many of ours never did.

    Re: “….no one has ever complained.”

    Well, of course not, Julee. The first rule of being a kid in a large group is that you’re not allowed to “tattle” on anyone, no matter how much you’re being beaten on. If the adults notice first, that’s fair; but if a kid initiates a complaint, he’s a traitor to everyone and should be shunned or beaten up more.

    That said, the usual problem with walking kids over to church is letting them cluster up. If you line up kids, you have to be alert for scuffles or make them walk far enough apart that no scuffles occur. (Or you have to be a teacher who is respected by the kids enough that they never try anything anymore, which requires an eagle eye.) There are ways for a kid individually to walk which keep people from giving you a “flat tire” (stepping on your shoe as you walk, so that your shoe comes off), but there’s no way to escape shinkicking on the way to church.

    We wore skirts so I’m sure my black and blue (and yellow and green) shins were constantly exposed to teacher view, yet nobody at my school ever asked about it. They knew perfectly well that I was getting beat up, just like they knew that poor little old German nun was getting harassed.

  17. Fredo says:

    I know that the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum states in #108 that “The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise. In this case the celebration must be in a decent place.”[197] The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis. In the footnote to this article they cite the Code of Canon Law, can. 932 § 1; S. Congregation for Divine Worship, Instruction, Liturgicae instaurationes, n. 9: AAS 62 (1970) p. 701.

    It would seem to me that without a “particular case of necessity” exposition of the blessed sacrament should take place in an already established chapel properly erected by the diocese. If there is one 30 feet away I wonder what the Bishop thinks of your pastor’s decision. This case reminds me of people who want to do Masses in their homes or outdoor Masses just for the novelty of it. Such things require consultation with the Bishop and a true pastoral need. The Eucharist’s dignity must always be respected.