The bishops give two brief sections to direct the planning of a separate Eucharistic Chapel:
§ 77 § The diocesan bishop may direct the parish to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in a chapel separate from the nave and sanctuary but “integrally connected with the church” and “conspicuous to the faithful.”(GIRM 315) The placement and design of the chapel can foster reverence and can provide the quiet and focus needed for personal prayer, and it should provide kneelers and chairs for those who come to pray.
§ 78 § Some parishes have inaugurated the practice of continuous adoration of the Eucharist. If, for some good reason, perpetual exposition must take place in a parish church, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has directed that this take place in a separate chapel that is “distinct from the body of the church so as not to interfere with the normal activities of the parish or its daily liturgical celebration.”*
* In 1995, the US bishops received this note from the CDWDS regarding the practice of perpetual adoration. The footnote referencing that is given in its entirety here:
Because perpetual exposition is a devotional practice of a religious community or a pious association, it should normally take place in a chapel of that religious community or association. If for some good reason perpetual exposition must take place in a parish church, it should be in a chapel distinct from the body of the church so as not to interfere with the normal activities of the parish or its daily liturgical celebration. When Mass is celebrated in a chapel where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, the Eucharist must be replaced in the tabernacle before the celebration of Mass begins.
Other important issues not covered here but worth considering are accessibility by parishioners, safety of those praying, and security of church valuables. Placing these concerns alongside the Eucharistic spirituality of a community makes for a potentially enlightening and formative discussion and discernment.
All texts from Built of Living Stones are copyright © 2000, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.