Altar Stone no longer needed for Travel Mass?


I heard recently that not even an altar stone is needed for a Mass to be valid and that simply a corporal can do… can anyone support/refute this?


The Code of Canon Law

Can. 932 §1. The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a decent place.

§2. The eucharistic sacrifice must be carried out on a dedicated or blessed altar; outside a sacred place a suitable table can be used, always with a cloth and a corporal.


yes, but if one has access to a proper corporal wouldn’t it also stand to reason that they would have access to a small altar stone?



Anyone can get corporals by the caseload from any religious goods store.

Altar stones are few and far between.


I did not know this… my parish has a stack of 4 or 5 extras sitting in a corner


They are very rare actually. Most of the ones still available are ones that were removed from side altars over the years. Very few travel ones have survived.


can’t one just cut 1ft by 1ft slabs of granite/marble/other suitable stone and have them blessed, though?


An Altar Stone is not simply a blessed stone, it contains a 1st Class Relic.


i thought relics weren’t needed after V2…?


I go on pilgrimages where we have Mass every day. Usually the priest can get a church space, but a few times they have opted to just say Mass in the priests’ hotel room on a travel day. They use the desk/ table in the room. It would seem a bit impractical to expect a priest to be toting a heavy chunk of stone around in his luggage.


yes, but only only a few inches square? that isint that bad… like 4x4x1/2 inches…


It seems neither are altar stones, according to Don Ruggero.


They’re usually a tad bigger than that, see the one in this picture

They are likely also breakable and would also break your foot if you dropped one on it.

As for taking them on planes, I wouldn’t want to put blessed relics of a saint in the checked baggage, and I have heard of TSA people objecting to large stones in your hand luggage because “they could be used as weapons”. I suppose it would be doable, but it just seems risky and inconvenient, so I think the Vatican made the right decision in allowing priests to say Mass without them.


Why is this important to you?


curiosity, honestly


Yes. New altar stones can be made.

That still doesn’t mean that they’re readily available.


They are no longer required. I’ll second that comment.

They are still possible, though. Still permitted. They come under the classification of “portable altars.”


In the United States, we have a long ago granted permission to use an Eastern style Antimension which is a cloth that replaces an altar stone (it’s not a corporal in the West, although in the East it doubles as a corporal).

The blessing of an Antimension still appeared in the latest revision of the Roman Ritual.


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