So my son comes home from ccd and tells me. .


#1

That every alter in every Catholic Church contains a real Saint’s relic… Zat so??


#2

Yes


#3

Not so… but they should. An altar is first supposed to be permanent. A relic(s) of a martyr is placed permanently into the table which should be made of stone, granite, marble etc… not just wood.

The altar is consectrated after the relic(s) is sealed in. Perhaps the EWTN library has the video of the bishop sealing and consecrating their altar…quite impressive.

But many altars do not have relics. It is another reason why the celebrant and concelebrants kiss the altar just as Mass is beginning.


#4

[quote=mark a]That every alter in every Catholic Church contains a real Saint’s relic… Zat so??
[/quote]

Well it used to. The new code of Canon Law does not require it, but recomends it. The US Bishops also recomend it but some newer churches altars do not have one because the altars do not have an altar stone.


#5

[quote=mark a]That every alter in every Catholic Church contains a real Saint’s relic… Zat so??
[/quote]

Yes, every altar must contain a relic, an actual piece of the saint’s body embedded in the altar cavity and sealed by the Bishop who consecrates the Altar.

This comes from the practice of the Ancient Church who celebrated the Holy Sacrifice on the tombs of the martyers. You can also see it in the Book of Revelation.
(Currently this practice is not mandatory however I attend a Tridentine Mass chapel in communion with the Church and IT IS REQUIRED OF US to have such altar with the relics embedded in the Altar stone because we have to follow the rubrics of the Missal of 1962)

Ken


#6

Well, the parish I attend here in Houston does. On the church tour during our RCIA class, they showed us the alter and where the reliquy is imbedded into the alter. But they don’t know who or what the relic is - just that it’s a relic of some saint.


#7

How would that be possible for every altar in the world to contain a relic. There couldn’t be enough relics to satisfy such a requirement.


#8

[quote=thistle]How would that be possible for every altar in the world to contain a relic. There couldn’t be enough relics to satisfy such a requirement.
[/quote]

There are a lot of saints!


#9

what class must the relic be?
1st (body part or anything related directly to christ) is a no-brainer, obvously its ok
would 2nd (clothing or personal posession of saint) be OK?
im pretty sure 3rd (touched to a higher class relis) arent…


#10

[quote=mark a]That every alter in every Catholic Church contains a real Saint’s relic… Zat so??
[/quote]

Zat is so. It has always been the case. It goes back to the first century Christians celebrating the Liturgy in the cemetary. It is the case in both east and west.


#11

I heard that rather than the altar having a relic, every Catholic church has to have one, I also read that there is a place in the Vatican that sorts out relics and sends them to Churches etc, don’t know if there is any truth behind it though :hmmm:


#12

[quote=kleary](Currently this practice is not mandatory however I attend a Tridentine Mass chapel in communion with the Church and IT IS REQUIRED OF US to have such altar with the relics embedded in the Altar stone because we have to follow the rubrics of the Missal of 1962)
[/quote]

I am not sure but it seems to me that this would be a self imposed standard and thus not really a requirement at all. Even Churches that make use of the 1962 Missal are still subject to and only to canon law as it stands today.


#13

This is what I learned in RCIA. My particular church does have a relic of the Saint that it was named after, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. I was told that you normally have the relic of the Saint that the church was named after. A church like St. Michael the Archangel(I think that this was the example given) would not have to have a relic because there are no relics St. Michael. I am only in RCIA so I might be wrong.


#14

There may have been a subsequent modification to this but the current Code of Canon Law reads:

Canon 1237 §1 Fixed altars are to be dedicated, movable ones either dedicated or blessed, according to the rites prescribed in the liturgical books.
§2 The ancient tradition of placing relics of Martyrs or of other Saints within a fixed altar is to be retained, in accordance with the rites prescribed in the liturgical books. %between%


#15

[quote=Cairisti]Well, the parish I attend here in Houston does. On the church tour during our RCIA class, they showed us the alter and where the reliquy is imbedded into the alter. But they don’t know who or what the relic is - just that it’s a relic of some saint.
[/quote]

If it’s a relic in an altar it must be authenticated with documentation and therefore they must know who or what the relic is. It’s not possible to have an official relic and not know where it came from.


#16

I didn’t know this, and I don’t think my church has a relic under the Altar.

That said, with all the Catholic Church’s in the world, this seems like something impossible to do, since only so many Saints have been cannonized.


#17

[quote=Br. Rich SFO]If it’s a relic in an altar it must be authenticated with documentation and therefore they must know who or what the relic is. It’s not possible to have an official relic and not know where it came from.
[/quote]

My RCIA director told us we have a relic in our altar but we don’t know who it is from. Years ago someone wanted to know what it was, but no one could find the paperwork and the original pastor couldn’t remember, as he was quite elderly and his memory was going. They still can’t find the paperwork. I don’t think that invalidates the relic, though.


#18

In the Byzantine Catholic Church, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated upon a Holy Table upon which is laid out an item called an antimension

saintthomastheapostle.org/tour_html/antimension.html

…which is a sacred cloth (roughly two foot by a foot and a half) into which are sewn relics of a saint. The antimension is adorned with a depiction of Our Lord entombed and is consecrated by the bishop of the eparchy (diocese). The relics are placed into the antimension and sealed by the bishop’s own hand.

As a young Byzantine Catholic (many, many years ago!) I recall our priest referring to the antimension as a kind of “portable altar”… it would always accompany him whenever he traveled to celebrate the Divine Liturgy at places other than our Church (for example, Divine Liturgies celebrated at our parish cemetery, visits to celebrate the DL in Latin Churches, etc.).


#19

My RCIA director told us we have a relic in our altar but we don’t know who it is from. Years ago someone wanted to know what it was, but no one could find the paperwork and the original pastor couldn’t remember, as he was quite elderly and his memory was going. They still can’t find the paperwork. I don’t think that invalidates the relic, though.

The Vatican could have the information in its archives if they were to try and contact them.


#20

[quote=a pilgrim]In the Byzantine Catholic Church, the Divine Liturgy is celebrated upon a Holy Table upon which is laid out an item called an antimension

saintthomastheapostle.org/tour_html/antimension.html

…which is a sacred cloth (roughly two foot by a foot and a half) into which are sewn relics of a saint. The antimension is adorned with a depiction of Our Lord entombed and is consecrated by the bishop of the eparchy (diocese). The relics are placed into the antimension and sealed by the bishop’s own hand.

As a young Byzantine Catholic (many, many years ago!) I recall our priest referring to the antimension as a kind of “portable altar”… it would always accompany him whenever he traveled to celebrate the Divine Liturgy at places other than our Church (for example, Divine Liturgies celebrated at our parish cemetery, visits to celebrate the DL in Latin Churches, etc.).
[/quote]

In the Latin Church the relics used to be in a “Altar Stone”. Which was usually white marble. This was set into a cutout in the top of the altar. Mass always had to be said with the elements on the altar stone during the Consecration. Even during the war priests who said Mass in the field carried a portable altar stone with them.


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