The mass I have started going to is in a shared building. This means that there is no tabernacle present and sometimes when I enter there is no altar either. Should I still genuflect in this situation, or what is the proper procedure?
If there is no tabernacle, no Sacramental Presence of Jesus, we don’t need to genuflect.
If the tabernacle is there but empty we don’t need to genuflect.
It is only to Jesus that we do so, not the tabernacle or altar for itself.
You genuflect before the tabernacle because of the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. If the Blessed Sacrament is not there then you don’t genuflect.
You do, however, bow to the altar instead. This is true even when the altar is unconsecrated. See this answer from Fr. Serpa: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?p=11810943
Bow to the Altar before you enter your pew when the tabernacle is empty or not there.
If the altar isn’t there, should one just sit down? Because of the way my ride works I am there very early and things may not be yet set up. I have had to get back up to get holy water after it’s finally set out. My instinct is to treat it as just an ordinary building if the altar is not in place.
You can’t very well bow to something that isn’t there. Just have a seat.
Agreed. I mistakenly assumed an Altar was present.