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Monday, August 20, 2018
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Vatican II
Holy Spirit Interactive: Vatican II: A Walk-Through - The Altar

Vatican II: A Walk-Through - The Altar

Where possible, the high altar is to be placed in such a way that Mass may be offered by the priest facing the people; the altar should stand away from the wall of the sanctuary, so that room is left to allow the priest to move around it. The Blessed Sacrament should be reserved in a strong tabernacle, placed at the centre of the high altar; but it maybe placed upon a side altar, if that side altar is dignified and easily seen. Again, the tabernacle may be placed on the altar at which Mass is said facing the people; in this case the tabernacle should be small.

The cross and candlesticks will be placed upon the altar in the customary way; in certain circumstances, however, the bishop may allow them to be placed alongside the altar. The sedilia, or seats for the celebrant and sacred ministers, should be easily seen by the faithful, and the celebrant's sedile should be so placed as to show that he is presiding over the Mass as the assembly of the People of God. There should be an ambo (lectern or reading-desk) -- clearly visible to the faithful; from which the readings from Scripture are to be made. It should be observed that many of these changes can be effected only when new churches are planned; where possible, the sanctuary of an existing church should be adapted in accordance with the Instruction of the Central Commission.

Next: The Sacrifice of the Mass

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