What is a miniature altar?

So I was just looking on ebay and I found this miniature altar. What is a miniature altar used for? Can I have one?cgi.ebay.com/ANTIQUE-CATHOLIC-MINIATURE-WOODEN-ALTAR-ACCESSORIES-/260723463524?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item3cb4545564

By antique do they mean “actually old” or the more common use today of “its new but looks old”?

Looks like something folks in the past who are devout Catholics would have in their home as part of their prayer room. I’ve been to historical Spanish-era houses in the Philippines where a prayer room would resemble a small church and would have kneelers for the family to pray. They would have dozens of statues and sometimes decorated to be like church altars, although no actual Mass is celebrated there. Perhaps this one serves the same purpose.

I was looking more at the pictures and it comes with a hole mass set like it would be for a priest to administer to people in a hospital or something. Candle holders, bells, small chalice, etc. It even comes with a small monstrance and incence thing. Can I still have this?

Given that it comes with those miniature accessories, I might go as far as to say that the thing was built as a toy (albeit a very skillfully made toy). They sell things like this today (see here for example), for young boys who want to play-act the Mass. For many, such play-acting can be the first sign of a vocation to the priesthood.

This seems to be a miniature replica of some traditional triple altar, probably made for home decoration. The parts (e.g. the tabernacle) does not seems functional. The Church never consecrated such things. Given the price this is antique looking modern item. As religious statue it is allowed in private home, supposed it is in a honest place.

Cant you use this as a home altar?

Not sure if theres a truer answer, but if it has not been used to celebrate an actual Mass, then I guess its fine.

I saw these too in prayer rooms in homes when I lived in the P.I. They were very pretty altars and used every day.

How do you use a monstrance at your house?

Not for its original purpose definitely.

Maybe use it like a ripidion (a liturgical fan)? :shrug:

I am not sure, but I know that there’s something called “the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” which is focused on teaching very young children about our Catholic Faith, using Montessori methods. They use means that young children can understand, mainly physical means, but with Catechism principles integrated. They use miniature altar components.

The description described it as an authentic antique owned by a French Canadian family, and was used so that the boys could practice as a Priest growing up before entering the seminary.

Now that is really, really koool. I want that altar. You’re going to start a major bidding war with this thread. Are you sure you’re not the seller? :smiley:

I’m after seeing these on eBay before, also in various other places. It could be that they were used in private Chapels, that sometimes members of the Royal family were allowed to have, though it doesn’t look near as old. I think, like the description says, that it was used for the boys to practice being priests as children.

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