The place of Eucharistic reservation is one of the hottest post-conciliar flashpoints for Catholics, lay and clergy alike. Previously, most North American parishes reserved the Eucharist on the main altar. The recommendation for a separate place has not been well-received in all circles, and today, there is something of a retrenchment.
The GIHCWEOM is pretty clear about the preeminent place not necessarily being preeminent during Mass. Busy churches are urged to consider the various needs of those praying, and those celebrating other sacraments. This section doesn’t touch upon the other frequent use of a church: musical and other rehearsals.
9. The place for the reservation of the eucharist should be truly preeminent. It is highly recommended that the place be suitable also for private adoration and prayer so that the faithful may readily and fruitfully continue to honor the Lord, present in the sacrament, through personal worship.
This will be achieved more easily if the chapel is separate from the body of the church, especially in churches where marriages and funerals are celebrated frequently and in churches where there are many visitors because of pilgrimages or the artistic and historical treasures.
Does your parish’s tabernacle fit the bill?
10. The holy eucharist is to be reserved in a solid tabernacle. It must be opaque and unbreakable. Ordinarily there should be only one tabernacle in a church; this may be placed on an altar or if not on an altar, at the discretion of the local Ordinary, in some other noble and properly ornamented part of the church.[Eucharisticum Mysterium 52-53]
… and its security?
The key to the tabernacle where the eucharist is reserved must be kept most carefully by the priest in charge of the church or oratory or by a special minister who has received the faculty to give communion.
Our parish’s tabernacle has an interior veil. We use option one: an oil lamp. Anybody wish to report other good options they’ve used or seen?
11. The presence of the eucharist in the tabernacle is to be shown by a veil or in another suitable way determined by the competent authority.
According to traditional usage, an oil lamp or lamp with a wax candle is to burn constantly near the tabernacle as a sign of the honor shown to the Lord.[Eucharisticum Mysterium 57]