"the censer swung and the priest raised the host"

Creative Commons AttributionCenser - Credit: Sharon Molleus

The ascending smoke from incense symbolises prayer and is used during important Western Catholic masses, such as benedictions. The censer is a covered bowl, suspended from a chain and swung by the priest in the direction of the person or object of attention.


The traditional offering of bread, which a priest calls on God to consecrate into the body of Christ,  is called the host. This is then shown to the congregation before being placed on the paten.