Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is a service of devotion to the Blessed Sacrament (the Holy Eucharist). This devotion is normally added to a service of Evensong and is preformed about once per month at St. Stephen’s, typically at services celebrating feasts of Our Lord Jesus Christ or Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The devotion is normally added after the reading of the Collects during Evensong
The congregation, led by the choir, sings a number of short hymns
A Marian hymn sometimes known as Hail Holy Queen. This hymn is followed by a Collect.
O Salutaris Hostia
This hymn is composed by St. Thomas Aquinas and refers to Christ as the Saving Victim.
Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Another hymn composed by St. Thomas Aquinas.
Collect for Corpus Christi
Then follows the Collect for Corpus Christi, which is also the Second Collect for Maundy Thursday in the Prayer Book.
The Celebrant guides us through a series Praises.
The Celebrant processes to the tabernacle, from which he removes a luna containing a consecrated host, which is the Body of Christ. The luna is placed into a Monstrance. The celebrant, protected by a humeral veil, transports the Monstrance to the chancel steps with the other servers and Ministers. The Celebrant there makes the Sign of the Cross with the Monstrance over the congregation while the Bells are rung and the Thurifer censes the Monstrance.
As the Celebrant and servers recess to the Santuary, the Choir sings Psalm 117 with an Antiphon added to the beginning and the end; This concludes the devotion and the service of evensong.