GIRM 296-298: A First Look at the Altar

GIRM 296-308 treats the altar. As you might imagine, there are important values and regulations to communicate:

296. The altar, on which is effected the Sacrifice of the Cross made present under sacramental signs, is also the table of the Lord to which the People of God is convoked to participate in the Mass, and it is also the center of the thanksgiving that is accomplished through the Eucharist.

Word hounds take note: an altar is also a table. More words, more ways of describing enrich such an important aspect of liturgy.

297. The celebration of the Eucharist in a sacred place is to take place on an altar; however, outside a sacred place, it may take place on a suitable table, always with the use of a cloth, a corporal, a cross, and candles.

298. It is desirable that in every church there be a fixed altar, since this more clearly and permanently signifies Christ Jesus, the Living Stone (1 Pt 2:4; cf. Eph 2:20). In other places set aside for sacred celebrations, the altar may be movable.

An altar is said to be fixed if it is so constructed as to be attached to the floor and not removable; it is said to be movable if it can be displaced.

My parish has a movable altar. It takes four determined people to budge it, however. It would be interesting to know the thinking behind that decision. What about your parish?

About these ads

About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
This entry was posted in GIRM, post-conciliar liturgy documents. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to GIRM 296-298: A First Look at the Altar

  1. Liam says:

    “My parish has a movable altar. It takes four determined people to budge it, however. It would be interesting to know the thinking behind that decision. What about your parish?”

    Your parish sounds good. Even a movable altar should not be easily moved. Why? Because there should be truly grave reasons for altering the use of the space on which the altar sits; it’s not a multipurpose room, nor should it be easy to convert it into that.

    My parish, unfortunately, has a 2-person movable altar. And it gets moved for concerts. Which I would strongly prefer not be done; concerts are not a good enough reason in my book. Way not good enough. But, fortunately for my parish and the world, I am not in charge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s