Altar preparation

Hello, I am a listener of Catholic Answers almost daily. I listened to the open forum today the 27th but was too late to talk to Jimmie. Here was my question, aren’t procedures in the preperation of the alter supposed to be the same? Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go with my mother in law to her Roman Catholic Mass and was surprised that the altar was totally set before the Mass even began. I was even more surprised when the altar wasn’t cleared off after Mass. Is this allowed to be a judgment from the Priest? Thanks, Lois Jean :slight_smile:

[quote=Lois Jean]Hello, I am a listener of Catholic Answers almost daily. I listened to the open forum today the 27th but was too late to talk to Jimmie. Here was my question, aren’t procedures in the preperation of the alter supposed to be the same? Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go with my mother in law to her Roman Catholic Mass and was surprised that the altar was totally set before the Mass even began. I was even more surprised when the altar wasn’t cleared off after Mass. Is this allowed to be a judgment from the Priest? Thanks, Lois Jean :slight_smile:
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[quote=Lois Jean]Hello, I am a listener of Catholic Answers almost daily. I listened to the open forum today the 27th but was too late to talk to Jimmie. Here was my question, aren’t procedures in the preperation of the alter supposed to be the same? Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go with my mother in law to her Roman Catholic Mass and was surprised that the altar was totally set before the Mass even began. I was even more surprised when the altar wasn’t cleared off after Mass. Is this allowed to be a judgment from the Priest? Thanks, Lois Jean :slight_smile:
[/quote]

I believe the rules are that the altar must be bare (other than the altar cloth) before and after Mass. From the beginning of Mass until the Gospel, the only thing on the altar is the Gospel. After the Liturgy of the Eucharist and before the closing prayer, everything except the Altar cloth is to be removed from the Alter.

At least that is how it was explained to us when I was in Philadelphia and how it is done at the parish I goto now in Detroit.

PF

As a priest, I had to put the chalice, paten, water and wine cruets, finger towel and bowl at the far right of the altar before Mass because the servers did not show up for Mass (daily Mass). The Sacramentary is on the altar on the book stand. This is done for daily Mass.

On Sundays and Holy Days, the altar is empty except for the altar cloth.

This is interesting. I hadn’t known the Altar had to be empty besides the cloth before and after mass. I’ll have to pay attention and see. :slight_smile:

Also, the candles (at least 2) should be “on or near the altar”.

The liturgical books do have specific instructions about when things are to be placed on the altar. It is wrong not to follow them by setting the altar at the beginning of Mass. There should be an altar server, but if there is not one the priest should bring things from the credence table at the correct time.

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM): “306. Only what is required for the celebration of the Mass may be placed on the mensa of the altar: namely, from the beginning of the celebration until the proclamation of the Gospel, the Book of the Gospels; then from the Presentation of the Gifts until the purification of the vessels, the chalice with the paten, a ciborium if necessary, and, finally, the corporal, the purificator, the pall, and the Missal.” (From usccb.org/liturgy/current/chapter5.shtml )

Before Mass there are instructions about preparations from 2002 GIRM 118©:

“On the credence table: the chalice, a corporal, a purificator, and, if appropriate, the pall; the paten and, if needed, ciboria; bread for the Communion of the priest who presides, the deacon, the ministers, and the people; cruets containing the wine and the water, unless all of these are presented by the faithful in procession at the Offertory; the vessel of water to be blessed, if the asperges occurs; the Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful; and whatever is needed for the washing of hands.”

The Roman Missal’s Order of Mass also has instructions that should be followed: “After the liturgy of the word, the offertory soing is begun. Meanwhile the ministers place the corporal, the purificator, the chalice and the missal on the altar.”

(From The Roman Missal, Catholic Book Publishing Co., New York, 1985, page 370).

In my local church(Oblate Fathers.Inchicore,Dublin,Ireland)we have a pre vatican 2 type altar still in place with High Altar,Altar Rails,Pulpit and new altar table and Ambo.

The altar is always set before mass with a Book stand and Book at the ledt hand side of the altar and the Chalice on top of the corporal in the middle.

After mass everthing is taken away and placed on a side table except the book and the book stand.

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