‘To take forward’: Monstrance travels diocese for centennial year

It’s reached one campus ministry center and three churches, and there are at least 80 more stops to go this year.

A traveling monstrance is part of the Diocese of Raleigh’s centennial, which observes the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1924.

The endeavor serves not only to unite the diocese during a milestone, but to focus on the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist during a year that will see the National Eucharistic Congress in July.

A liturgical vessel that holds the Eucharist, a monstrance is part of venerating the Blessed Sacrament.

“The monstrance is a very important devotional focus for the Eucharist,” said Monsignor David Brockman, whose parish, Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral, was first to host the traveling monstrance Jan. 2. “And it's, by which, prayer before the Lord and adoration is done. For just about a thousand years, the faithful have come together in an official ritual prayer before the Eucharist.”  

Monsignor added that the word monstrance has its roots in the Latin verb monstrare, which means to show.

The monstrance traveling the diocese has a golden hue with accents in a silver tone and a cross at the top.

It was an important part of the local Eucharistic Congress, which took place in October 2023. Catholics from St. Luke Parish and Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral Parish accompanied the monstrance as it processed from Sacred Heart Church, which was the cathedral for the diocese from 1924 until 2017, to the Raleigh Convention Center, where the congress was held.

This year, so far, it has been part of the faith lives of those in the Raleigh Deanery at the cathedral, St. Luke, St. Catherine of Siena and Catholic Campus Ministry at N.C. State University.

It will reach other destinations in the Raleigh Deanery before moving on to locations in the seven remaining deaneries of Albemarle, Cape Fear, Fayetteville, New Bern, Newton Grove, Piedmont and Tar River.  

The journey is an interesting feat considering the Diocese of Raleigh covers half the state of North Carolina.

“It’s really the celebration that the Diocese of Raleigh is 32,000 square miles,” Monsignor Brockman said. “It is a vast area, especially when you get out into the Albemarle Deanery, where you could have an hour or more, driving, between parishes … same in the Outer Banks.”

For Monsignor, the travel reminds people of the many places where Catholicism has been nurtured for generations.

“You think of the people in New Bern, where the faith had its very beginning [in our state in 1821],” he said. “Bishop England came up on horseback, from Charleston … and celebrated Mass in the living room of the Gaston family.”

The travel also highlights diversity in the diocese, and each faith community will welcome the monstrance in their own way. The focus is on “prayer and honoring Our Lord … all within the context of Adoration, so there is a prescribed rite for that. But adding their pieces, as we have a multiplicity of different cultural groups, different languages … it’s the universal Church,” said Monsignor.


Eight parishes and one Catholic student center have welcomed the traveling monstrance so far this month! And before the Diocese of Raleigh's centennial year is over, the total could be more like 80! NC Catholics NOW visits three parishes in the Raleigh Deanery to learn more about the endeavor. Join NCCN at Sacred Heart Church (part of Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral Parish), St. Francis of Assisi and St. Andrew the Apostle.