Recently in my area I have seen multiple parishes cover the altar with pictures of (deceased I suppose) members. I guess this is in connection with the whole All Souls time of year. Is this correct? Has anyone else ever seen this before?
I don’t see anything wrong with it. My parish does it and the Bishop of my parish encouraged in except during the mass he uses icons of saints
I’ve never seen that, though November is the month to pray for the souls in purgatory.
What do you mean by “cover the altar”? Do you mean the actual altar itself, or do you mean a display around the altar or in the sanctuary near the altar?
ON the altar itself: No. Absolutely not.
Some other place in the sanctuary: nothing expressly prohibits it.
From the GIRM:
- For only what is required for the celebration of the Mass may be placed on the altar table: namely, from the beginning of the celebration until the proclamation of the Gospel, the Book of the Gospels; then from the Presentation of the Gifts until the purification of the vessels, the chalice with the paten, a ciborium, if necessary, and, finally, the corporal, the purificator, the pall, and the Missal.
In addition, arranged discreetly, there should be whatever may be needed to amplify the Priest’s voice.
We had a mass two Saturdays ago in the morning that was something of a celebration of people who passed on in the last year. The priest allowed pictures on the altar but it didn’t cover them to where the Eucharist couldn’t be prepared and in no way was it irreverent.
This is expressly prohibited.
- For only what is required for the celebration of the Mass may be placed on the altar table: namely, from the beginning of the celebration until the proclamation of the Gospel, the Book of the Gospels; then from the Presentation of the Gifts until the purification of the vessels, the chalice with the paten, a ciborium, if necessary, and, finally, the corporal, the purificator, the pall, and the Missal
It’s a display around the altar I suppose. While I don’t remember anything at any of these churches being on top of the altar, it definitely completely surrounds it except for the back. Sort of makes it look like the priest is celebrating Mass on top of one of those display shelves at Wal-Mart…
Thanks for the cite.
Candles are also permitted either on or next to the altar, as is a crucifix.
I remember at our old parish when the priest draped the altar in the colours of his favourite football team… :eek:
That place always felt more like a hall than a church anyway. I am now in a new parish… soooo much better
Totally agree with your question. Why is that so many, including clergy, call the entire Sanctuary, the altar? I love it when I’m told to take something large like a picture and place in on the altar! “You mean ‘ON’ the altar?” “No, next to it!” What? Therefore, I agree with answer given here. Let’s all get on the band wagon and call the table of sacrifice the “altar” and the entire raised area that includes the presider’s chair, ambo and altar, the Sanctuary…please! We need to be teachers as well!
We place pictures of those we are remembering at Mass on a table on the far left side of the altar in front of the statue of St. Joseph. This is for special Masses, the last one being for deceased victims of crime in the past year. In another church I have seen pictures placed on the steps leading to the altar but not where anyone will be walking. All Souls Day pictures were placed around the Baptismal font. All should be done with permission from the Pastor.