St. Anthony Messenger

Placement of the Tabernacle

Why is the tabernacle not always on the main altar? Placing it elsewhere seems to show a lack of reverence.

Many churches have a special chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved. That has been the case at the Vatican basilica (St. Peter’s) for more than 350 years. Having it in a chapel allows people to get closer while they are praying. According to the “General Instruction of the Roman Missal ” (third edition), the tabernacle should be in a part of the church “that is truly noble, prominent, conspicuous, worthily decorated, and suitable for prayer ” (314). The tabernacle need not be in the sanctuary (274).

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