Canon 938 and Perpetual Adoration Chapels


OK, there really isn’t an issue here.

In order for parishes to do such construction, it must first be approved by the diocese. So if these plans have been approved, then they have been approved by the diocese. In order to have a perpetual adoration chapel, which is something many Churches have, the Bishop is going to know.

Also, in order to have two tabernacles, the Bishop is going to know that too. Heck, our Cathedral Basilica has two tabernacles. One in the main sanctuary and one in the sanctuary of the daily mass chapel.

NOTE: I’m no canon lawyer, but they use the word “church” and not “parish.” If a parish building has two chapels on one campus, do they consider that actually two churches? For example: my parish has a big main sanctuary with large nave for Sunday Mass and Holy Days and a daily mass chapel. Both have their own pews, altar, tabernacle, ambo, etc. Both also have names. The main sanctuary/nave has the parish name, while the daily mass chapel is called the “Chapel of Our Lady.” Same thing with our Cathedral. The daily mass chapel has it’s own name: “Chapel of Our Lady of Ransom.” Both my parish and Cathedral have the name of the Chapel outside the doors that lead directly into the Chapel from the outside. :thinking:


I also know of some parishes with an adoration chapel (no daily mass chapel) where the tabernacle is in the main sanctuary, and no tabernacle is located in the adoration chapel, only a monstrance.

Then, on the other hand, my childhood parish just built a newer & larger perpetual adoration chapel and placed a 2nd tabernacle in there for EMHC to take communion to shut ins. The EMHCs use that tabernacle instead of the one in the main sanctuary so they don’t have to wait for a mass to be over if they come in during mass or during a funeral.

So I think two tabernacles is coming a norm in the United States due the increasing trend of more lay people bringing communion to shut -ins.

God Bless


I too have noticed that the Adoration Chapel tabernacle in at least one church is the one where the EMHCs go to obtain the Communion they take elsewhere, even when there isn’t Mass going on in the main Church. The Chapel tabernacle is much more accessible, and I believe the main Church space may be locked at certain times when Mass or other activities like music practice or Catholic school children’s instruction is not going on, but the Chapel is left open.


I’m not really trying to doubt any authorites, but rather see how Canon 938 is interpereted


I’m curious what a canon lawyer would say, but my GUESS is that they are using an argument of something like this: “a chapel on the same campus of the main parish church” is no different than “a parish with two separate chapels (churches) on two totally separate campuses.”

But this is a total guess.


The church (the building) is only that structure that is set aside for worship and properly dedicated as such. Any buildings outside of it are separate, even if just a couple of feet down a hallway. So, this new “adoration chapel” is it’s own sacred space. The Blessed Sacrament can be reserved there, with the permission of the local ordinary. Technically, this sacred space might be called an oratory but whether it is an oratory or chapel (canonically speaking), it can still have the Blessed Sacrament reserved there with the proper permission.



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