An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Reservation of the Sacrament

Following ancient custom, the BCP provides that the consecrated bread and wine may be reserved for the communion of the sick or others who for “weighty cause” could not be present at the celebration or for administration of communion by a deacon to a congregation when a priest is unavailable (pp. 408-409). The sacrament may also be reserved on Maundy Thursday for communion on Good Friday. It is customary to keep the consecrated elements in a tabernacle or an aumbry or covered with a veil on a table or altar. A lamp or candle burns nearby to announce the presence of the reserved sacrament. This light is known as a sanctuary lamp if the reservation is near the altar. Although not provided for by the BCP, the reserved sacrament is used for benediction and private devotions in some parishes with an Anglo-catholic piety. See Altar of Repose; see Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament; see Deacon's Mass.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.