Respect for places in the Church


I hope I make this question understandable. We have an old church in our neighborhood without a basement. The kitchen and meeting rooms are behind the sanctuary. On one side of the sanctuary is an adoration chapel, (which also started out as and continues to serve as a cry room on Sundays) and of course the monstrance is usually closed unless someone comes in for adoration.

Problem, the absolutely only way to get to the meeting rooms and kitchen behind the sanctuary is to go through either the sanctuary (no altar rails, wide open sanctuary) or the adoration chapel.

I have always thought going through the adoration chapel is best, unless the monstrance is open but I am wondering if that is correct. Seems like the sanctuary is becoming a roadway.



That is a unique way that particular Church is designed. I guess I would choose the Adoration chapel if the Monstrance is closed. But even so to give proper genuflection.


I don’t think I’ve ever seen a church built the way you describe, without direct access from the nave to the vestry, sacristy, priest’s office, storage facilities, or whatever other rooms are located behind the sanctuary. Since you describe it as an old church, I wonder whether perhaps there used to be direct access of this kind when it was built, but in the course of later alterations it got blocked off?

These two plans show what I mean. Access to the Adoration Chapel (or Lady Chapel) is through the south transept, and access to the vestry, sacristy etc. is through the north transept. Even where a church is built without transepts, the basic arrangement is always the same, in my experience: as you stand in the nave facing the sanctuary (chancel), the entrance to the Adoration Chapel is on the right-hand side and access to the rooms behind the sanctuary is on the left-hand side.




Yes, it is different. Two things, I believe there was a fire somewhere in it’s past and I believe what is now the adoration chapel used to be the access to the rooms behind the sanctuary.


Ah! As I suspected, there were later alterations to the original plan. It was highly unlikely that a church would have been built that way from the outset. Without seeing a plan of your church, it’s hard to visualize what the exact layout looks like, but would it be possible to knock down a small part of the wall, creating a doorway leading from the nave to the rooms behind the sanctuary, on the opposite side to the Adoration Chapel?


Yes, that is possible.


Well, a construction job, however small, doesn’t come free of charge. If the church’s budget can accommodate an expense like that, I think it would be the correct solution to your problem.


I can’t exactly visualize the problem here. It seems that the adoration chapel should be more isolated and not a thoroughfare to get to someplace else, except heaven. Then, considering the back-and-forth foot traffic, I think I’d go nuts trying to concentrate on prayer, with the commotion of people going back and forth and whispering and chuckling etc. while transiting the chapel. At the very least, I’d hope the floor is carpeted to deaden the shuffling of foot traffic.

I’m mystified by the people who talk in church before Mass, yet hush up when the processional starts – because, you know (!!) the PRIEST is coming.


Yes, I think it is hard to imagine. The adoration chapel used to be the cry room on Sundays and still is but the problem is to get to the rooms at the back of the building the adoration chapel or the sanctuary are the only two ways to get there.

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