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What Incense Is Burned in Catholic Church

what incense is burned in catholic church

What incense is burned in Catholic church

Incense has been used by the Church since ancient times, and it’s especially prevalent during Christian worship services. Not only does it purify the air, but its smoke also symbolizes prayers being offered up to God.

In the Catholic Church, incense is used at various points during Mass. The officiant may use it during entrance procession, beginning of Mass, scenting altar itself, proclamation of Gospel message or Offertory.

Churches often utilize Frankincense, a type of resin with an aromatic woody scent which is considered spiritually purifying and antiseptic in nature, helping to prevent diseases and bacterial growth.

Catholic churches typically burn three types of incense: Rose, Palo Santo and Copal. Each type has a distinct aroma and is believed to serve a specific purpose.

When incense is used during Mass, it’s typically carried by a thurifer. Their responsibility includes presenting the thurible to the priest or deacon when it’s time for use and taking away any remaining incense from inside after it has been consumed.

If a thurifer is absent, another server typically known as a boat bearer will carry the censer. This person holds a vessel similar to that of a boat while burning incense.

At the Easter Vigil, five grains of encased incense (usually designed to look like red nails) are embedded in a paschal candle. These five grains symbolize Jesus Christ’s five wounds – one in each hand, foot and spear thrust into His side.

At the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, incense is used by the priest to accompany the sacraments of bread and wine placed on the altar. Additionally, it serves to signify consecration of Eucharist at the Offertory.

Incense is often included in Catholic Masses, as it’s believed to have spiritual cleansing properties and a symbolic significance. The smoke from burning incense symbolizes the prayers of the faithful ascending to heaven and purifying everything it touches.

Incense is also burned during various religious rites within the Church, such as Vespers, Matins, Sunday vespers and other special services like funerals or memorial services.

Since the earliest days of Christianity, Christians have used incense as part of their liturgical practice which has been inspired by God and documented in Sacred Scripture. It plays an essential role in many Christian services today.


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