Where does Fr. sit?

Hey, I was just wondering where the chair of the priest presiding at Mass should be placed. Our priest used to have it in what I think is the ‘normal’ place (to the side of the Altar), however this past week he’s taken to sitting between the tabernacle and the Altar (directly behind the low Altar). He’s not quite obscuring the tabernacle, but it is a little destracting. Space allows for it to be in it’s old position. Is there any significance to this change, and is it in keping with the ruberics?

Thank you!

In my church (granted, it is Byzantine), Fr. sits behind the altar and is nearly hidden by the tabernacle, which is on the altar. This is the normal form in a Byzantine church.I know it’s not entirely applicable, but I hope it helps in some way.

From the 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) approved for the USA, which can be accessed from romanrite.com/girm.html :

The Chair for the Priest Celebrant and Other Seats
310. The chair of the priest celebrant must signify his office of presiding over the gathering and of directing the prayer. Thus the best place for the chair is in a position facing the people at the head of the sanctuary, unless the design of the building or other circumstances impede this: for example, if the great distance would interfere with communication between the priest and the gathered assembly, or if the tabernacle is in the center behind the altar. Any appearance of a throne, however, is to be avoided.[footnote 119: Cf. Sacred Congregation of Rites, Instruction Inter Oecumenici, on the orderly carrying out of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 26 September 1964, no 92: AAS 56 (1964), p. 898] …”.

This is a little different to the 1975 GIRM: “271. The priest celebrant’s chair ought to stand as a symbol of his office of presiding over the assembly and of directing prayer. Thus the best place for the chair is at the back of the sanctuary and turned toward the congregation, unless the structure or other circumstances are an obstacle (for example, if too great a distance would interfere with communication between the priest and people). Anything resembling a throne is avoided.”

I notice the example of “if the tabernacle is in the center behind the altar” which was added in 2002. From my observations a majority of churches have this arrangement. Despite this we still have “…the best place for the chair is in a position facing the people at the head of the sanctuary, unless …”.

Ah-ha so it’s actually more in keeping with the rules this way rather than the celebrants chair being pushed to the side! Thank you! I’m rather happy now!

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