Can a tabernacle be placed at the rear of the church?


#1

My parish had plans to renovate. We have actually been expecting this for years, have architech plans that are approved and a building fund that has been approved. The start of renovation kept getting put off due to details being changed by the past pastor (I was told) and probably some of the parish council. Permits would expire and need to be applied for again, work would be put off because it would interfere with an upcoming liturgical season. I read in our church bulletin that we should be all ready to start by mid-December and the Bishop wanted no more delays. Of course, there was a delay, which I assume was due to Christmas.

The parish coordinator told a lector and me, while chatting, the plans that were drawn up and approved have the tabernacle moved to the rear of the church. Supposedly, this is okay because it will be in a chapel. He said that was to allow for adoration to be more private. Ever since that conversation, I have been concerned about that and if it is alright. I assume it is because the plans were approved by the Bishop. I guess I just don’t like it. And I heard recently that a tabernacle is always supposed to be somewhere in the vacinity of the altar.

I have not read or heard any updates about when the renovation will begin. Two ladies I know who are active in the church were talking with me in the church parking lot after mass today about the renovation. One started off saying it was only gossip, but she heard the Bishop was holding onto our building fund and wants to use it for “his” cathedral. I feel bad because I listened to the gossip, although I was saying that I didn’t think so and I thought he wanted us to get going and stop delaying. They told me he was causing the delays now. Both of them were calling the Bishop evil and saying our parish would die like another in a nearby city because of him. Then they talked about the parish coordinator and called him evil and said he had a big ego. I on!y said I thought he was nice. I never heard these ladies talk like this before. I feel bad for being apart of it in a way. I was actually receiving a ride from one of them today, the only reason I was with them there. She is really nice to me and offers me rides home or to a store on most Sundays. But I don’t know if I should be around that kind of talk. It certainly didn’t feel like a fitting end to Mass. We did chat about other things, though.

What would you do?


#2

It seems that the ultimate decision for the location lies with the Bishop.
ewtn.com/expert/answers/tabernacle_placement.htm


#3

I feel that it could be a positive thing. When the tabernacle is placed on the sanctuary - people entering the church might not give it due reverence. The tabernacle in St Peter’s in Rome is located a long way from the altar.


#4

It seems odd to do in a parish church but as lon as it is decorated well and it is obvious that it is a chapel for the tabernacle then meh.


#5

If the tabernacle is in a daily Mass chapel, it IS near an altar- daily Mass-chapels usually have altars.

My church is constructed with a chapel attached to it in the rear, and the tabernacle is kept there. Doors to the chapel open to the main church when needed. That is where Exposition and Adoration take place as well as daily Mass. It is permitted by the Bishop.

It doesn’t really matter if I like it or not, it is what it is, but yes it is permitted, and there is much precedence for it in the history of church architecture.

I don’t know what you mean by “What would you do?” Graciously accept it, don’t fret about it, and stay away from gossip, I guess. We can’t have everything to our liking.


#6

If the tabernacle is in a daily Mass chapel, it IS near an altar- daily Mass-chapels usually have altars.

My church is constructed with a chapel attached to it in the rear, and the tabernacle is kept there. Doors to the chapel open to the main church when needed. That is where Exposition and Adoration take place as well as daily Mass. It is permitted by the Bishop.

It doesn’t really matter if I like it or not, it is what it is, but yes it is permitted, and there is much precedence for it in the history of church architecture.


#7

Yes, if the tabernacle is in a chapel, than that is fine. Many churches are designed like that - usually larger churches and cathedrals, but it is an permitted and it sounds like your bishop has approved.

In mu parish we have have an adoration chapel attached to the old rectory/church office building. It is a separete space with it’s own door. It also has its own tabernacle so that the Blessed Sacrament can be secured when the chapel is closed.

As for your friends gossiping, just state that you’d rather not talk about the church renovations. You can still be friends with them, but every time they bring it up (or other gossip), tell them you don’t want to talk about it and then change the subject. They’ll get the message.


#8

From the 2007 Apostolic Exhortation Sacrmentum Caritatis, at vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html :

The location of the tabernacle
69. In considering the importance of eucharistic reservation and adoration, and reverence for the sacrament of Christ’s sacrifice, the Synod of Bishops also discussed the question of the proper placement of the tabernacle in our churches. (footnote 196: Cf. Propositio 28.) The correct positioning of the tabernacle contributes to the recognition of Christ’s real presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Therefore, the place where the eucharistic species are reserved, marked by a sanctuary lamp, should be readily visible to everyone entering the church. It is therefore necessary to take into account the building’s architecture: in churches which do not have a Blessed Sacrament chapel, and where the high altar with its tabernacle is still in place, it is appropriate to continue to use this structure for the reservation and adoration of the Eucharist, taking care not to place the celebrant’s chair in front of it. In new churches, it is good to position the Blessed Sacrament chapel close to the sanctuary; where this is not possible, it is preferable to locate the tabernacle in the sanctuary, in a sufficiently elevated place, at the centre of the apse area, or in another place where it will be equally conspicuous. Attention to these considerations will lend dignity to the tabernacle, which must always be cared for, also from an artistic standpoint. Obviously it is necessary to follow the provisions of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal in this regard. (footnote 197: Cf. No. 314.) In any event, final judgment on these matters belongs to the Diocesan Bishop.”


#9

It has been quite a while since I have seen the artist’s rendering of what the church will look like and the architech’s plans, which were displayed in the foyer. One reason for the renovation was expansion of the building to accomodate everyone. We used to need to put folding chairs in the foyer and along the side aisles. It is a medium sized church with somewhat Spanish style (being in Southern California), built probably in the 1950’s or 1960’s. The large wrought iron chandelirs will be taken out for some updated lighting fixtures and we desparately need new carpet, which is bright orange and frayed at the connecting points, now held together by long rows of silver duck tape. The bathrooms are in the rear of the church, with a cry room between them and the foyer. The bathrooms, for some reason, suck up the cold air and are not heated. You would think that would not be a problem in So Cal, but it is. Toilets leak from time to time and warm water does not work at the sink. We do have a beautiful parish hall with modern restrooms, although not always open. The hall was built from donations (and matching funds from the diocese, I think). We even collected extra to put in beautiful windows). We will hold Mass in there during renovations.

So, the main reason for renovation is correcting problems, updating, and expanding a medium sized church. Mass attendence seems to have fallen off, from the looks of the 11 o’clock, which had the ladies I was chatting with worried and thinking we will no longer need the building expanded and the renovation will stall and then fall by the wayside.

Anyway, when I think of a chapel in the rear of the church, I think “where would that fit?” And I can picture the restrooms being gutted to make room, so it feels a bit disgusting to me to have the tabernacle where the toilets are now. But perhaps the cry room will be used for a chapel (rather small) and we will no longer have a cry room. There is a small amount of patio in front of the church, with a fountain, and I don’t know if the expansion would mean using that space, but the fountain is staying.

I think I should chat up the parish coordinator and possibly find out when and if the renovation will take place and maybe get another looking at the drawing and plans. Just to put my mind at ease through knowledge rather than guessing or wondering.


#10

The question “What would you do?” was in relationship to having friendships at church with those who gossip and call the bishop and the parish coordinator “evil”. It was not related to something I didn’t like that I can’t change, but about something I don’t feel good about and can change.

It is beneficial to me to accept offers of rides from one of the women, because I can get to where I am going much faster (usually) than waiting for the bus and it is especially nice if the weather makes standing outside waiting difficult. But I don’t want to go from receiving communion to being a bystander in trashing people.


#11

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