“Altar of Repose”–a special place where the Blessed Sacrament is taken after Mass on Holy Thursday. I remember when I was in grammar school (back in B.C.–Before the Council) parishes used to have beautifully decorated side altars where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in a monstrance. These days it seems that all they have are a few potted plants and candles near the tabernacle.
There are many ways of doing this, depending on the design of the church. In our parish we have beautiful prayer gardens around the building. A tent it setup in one of the gardens adjacent to the church. The altar of repose is placed under the tent. The tent is huge. About 300 or so people can sit under it. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed on this altar until midnight. Then it is taken into the friary chapel until Easter Sunday when it is brought back into the church.
Last night there were hundreds of people in and out from the end of mass until midnight. At midnight, many people came out for the final prayers and hymn. It was beautiful to see people coming out in the middle of the night to adore the Lord.
Some churches don’t have such space, they use a side chapel or another room. Other churches use a side altar. Every church that has the space should have an altar that is different from the one that is used daily.
I remember being in the missions where our churches was literally the size of Blessed Sacrament chapels in the USA. There was no space for another place. You make due with what you have, but you try to make it very special and beautiful.
My dear friend
In my opinion we should spend more money than we have to ensure the Blessed Sacrament receives the honour and respect it deserves.