5/4/09 – Altar of Repose

The Blessed Sacrament is carried through the church in procession, led by a cross-bearer and accompanied by candles and incense, to the place of reposition in a chapel suitably decorated for the occasion…

From the Roman Missal for Holy Thursday

On Holy Thursday evening, we are required to do something that does not occur at any other time during the year.  We remove the Blessed Sacrament from the body of the Church.

While parishes with a separate chapel for the Blessed Sacrament may continue to reserve hosts in the tabernacle there, churches such as ours need to have a chapel and tabernacle prepared elsewhere.  Given our current constraints and our previous experience, the best solution for us at present is to prepare the Altar of Repose in the parish centre.  It is a location which seems to work well and allows a large number of people to participate in adoration, even if they only choose to stay a short time.

The Altar of Repose is prepared before Mass begins as it is a required part of the liturgical space for this Mass.  We enter the church through the former entry doors, reserving the parish centre for its particular purpose on this evening.  The fact that the Blessed Sacrament will be reserved in this space means that on this evening, the parish centre is afforded increased reverence.  It is to be treated as a space that is due the same reverence as any other part of the church.

Solemn adoration of the Blessed Sacrament follows Mass and may continue until midnight.  In previous years, however, those who have remained for adoration after Mass have left before this time.  Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will end, therefore, when the last people who have stayed to adore the Blessed Sacrament after Mass depart.

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