What does the thurible symbolize?There are two symbolic purposes. First, the ris…

What does the thurible symbolize?

There are two symbolic purposes. First, the rising smoke of the incense symbolizes the prayers of the faithful rising to heaven. Second, incense has been, since ancient times, used as part of sacrifice and offerings.


Thurification or incensation is an expression of reverence and of prayer, as is signified in Sacred Scripture (cf. Ps 141 [140]:2, Rev 8:3). Incense may be used if desired in any form of Mass:

• During the Entrance procession;

• At the beginning of Mass, to incense the cross and the altar;

• At the Gospel procession and the proclamation of the Gospel itself;

 • After the bread and the chalice have been placed upon the altar, to incense the offerings, the cross, and the altar, as well as the priest and the people;

 • At the showing of the host and the chalice after the consecration.

Before and after an incensation, a profound bow is made to the person or object that is incensed, except for the incensation of the altar and the offerings for the Sacrifice of the Mass.