Tabernacle Placement

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I have been told by a deacon that in the approved construction plans for his new church they are not putting the tabernacle in the main church at all. They are placing it in a small chapel that will not be visible by faithful who attend mass. He said that the rules require this for new churches and that it is wrong to place the tabernacle in the sancutary.

Is this a local rule or does Rome actually requie this? If a local rule then has the diocese building approval committee got it right or have they overstepped their authority?

God Bless
This is what the new GIRM says

*The Place for the Reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist
  1. In accordance with the structure of each church and legitimate local customs, the Most Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a tabernacle in a part of the church that is truly noble, prominent, readily visible, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer. The one tabernacle should be immovable, be made of solid and inviolable material that is not transparent, and be locked in such a way that the danger of profanation is prevented to the
greatest extent possible. Moreover, it is appropriate that, before it is put into liturgical use, it be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual.
  1. It is more in keeping with the meaning of the sign that the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved not be on an altar on which Mass is celebrated. Consequently, it is preferable that the tabernacle be located, according to the judgment of the Diocesan Bishop,
a. Either in the sanctuary, apart from the altar of celebration, in a form and place more appropriate, not excluding on an old altar no longer used for celebration (cf. above, no. 303);

b. Or even in some chapel suitable for the faithful’s private adoration and prayer and which is organically connected to the church and readily visible to the Christian faithful.
  1. In accordance with traditional custom, near the tabernacle a special lamp, fueled by oil or wax, should be kept alight to indicate and honor the presence of Christ.
  2. In no way should all the other things prescribed by law concerning the reservation of the Most Holy Eucharist be forgotten.
To me this is just crazy. Shouldn’t the house of God be built with God as it’s main focus? We come to His house and are not able to see Him in the place of greatest honor, in the center of the church where all can view him at once?
I worked in Wisconsin for over 5 years and every day during lunch I had the great good fortune of being able to stop at the local church and visit Jesus. I had a very difficult time locating Him at first, He was hidden to the side of the main alter, and sitting in the area that was built for Him were some urns and flowers. Also this church had the kneelers removed along with the statues, and the stained glass windows. The walls were covered with wood paneling. I felt like I was in a huge court room. None of the features that I always loved about the Catholic churches were visible. It was so sad to see. :confused: 😦 :mad: :hmmm:
No. The rules most certainly do NOT require it. IMNSHO, It is a horrendously bad idea. My parish did this years ago and unfortunately, many parishes do this today. What this says is, ‘hmmm, the real Body of Christ just isn’t important for the faithful Let’s just stick it out of the way’. It makes my blood boil when people parishes are built this way. I can’t imagine any justification for it at all (with the possible exception of extremely large cathedrals and basilicas where the Eucharistic Chapel can accomodate not only the appropriate number of people, but it can also still be seen by the faithful during Mass). It helps to destroy the faith for it removes Christ from the sanctuary. If the church would like to have a separate ‘space’ reserved for the tabernacle, put it in the sanctuary!!!

The way to do it…

One more comment is that it makes it very awkward to say the least to figure out where the Body is reposed in order to genuflect upon entering the Church if some sort of ‘side chapel’ is built. And then parishoners must still bow to the altar. Confusing for the faithful.

The way not to do it…
I studied in Italy and it took me a while to figure out their system. Most churches there had side chapels where the Blessed Sacrament was kept. In these chapels there were usually a lot of chairs/pews and kneelers for people to pray at, and this is where most of the consecrated hosts were stored. However, there was another tabernacle on the high altar that also had consecrated hosts in it along with a candle burning next to it. This system allows people not attending the Mass to pray infront of the Blessed Sacrment, while keeping the prominence of the Blessed Sacrament in the main part of the church. In my opinion this was a good system, and it was being done a lot in Rome, so I would have to imagine that this pratice is known to the Vatican.
I don’t mean to demean God but by way of analogy, I place the pictures of my children in prominent places throughout the house so that guests and family can see and enjoy them. I do not secret them to a side room and ask that guests go there to see the pictures. Beautiful displays of art or bouquets of flowers are displayed prominently also. I don’t reserve a special room for the important things in my life.

God in the Tabernacle should be placed in a central and obvious place: it reminds us immediately that we are saints on the road to sainthood, it orients us to a proper relationship with God. We are in HIS house and we go to church to be with God. If the eucharist were simply a symbol, it’s placement in the house of worship would not be terribly important. BUT the crux of our faith is that the hosts are really and truly the*** body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. Jesus Christ is right there in our midst,*** and just as Jesus is the center of our lives, the Tabernacle shoud be the center of the Lord’s home.
I went once to a large Cathedral that had a small side chapel with the tabenacle. I personally found it quite wonderful and intimate way to kneeel so close to my Lord and pray. I do not feel it took anything away from Christ but added to my ability to worship Him. Of course, I did have to take “extra time” to stop and worship in the side chapel, but that too was what probably made it more special.

The only problem I see is for visitors. It was confusing at first when I went to genuflect, but was quickly resolved with a quick question.
Just my opinion.

God Bless
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