Society Magazine

"More of This Kind of Pastor, Please"

Posted on the 25 June 2014 by Brutallyhonest @Ricksteroni

Knowing we were going to have visitors on Sunday morning and would miss Mass at our own parish, the wife and I looked into what local Churches had to offer as to Mass later in the day.  We were delighted to find a 4 PM service that would allow us to meet our Sunday obligation at a Church less than 20 minutes from the house.  

The service was well attended (as I suspected the late Sunday afternoon service might be) but we were surprised to find, as we walked in, that the tabernacle was set up off to the side of the Church's entrance, well away from where worship took place, in what appeared to be a converted over-sized storage room.  And we did not notice the customary red candle denoting the presence of Christ though we may simply have missed it in all the nearby clutter.  We were struck by the fact that the tabernacle was not in a more front and center location in a Church we knew to be thriving.

Imagine my surpise then given our weekend experience when yesterday I found this related Simcha Fisher piece over at the National Catholic Register:

I struggle hard to believe the best about people's intentions, but I cannot find anything good in the impulse to put the tabernacle away, to the side, out of sight, hard to find, easy to overlook or even forget. Why would you do that? Why would you make it hard to do the thing you're there to do? How Sanctuarylampholderwould a body function if the living, beating heart were shifted off somewhere else, to a left foot or an elbow, maybe stashed off site in your coat pocket? What kind of body would that be, and how would it function? And why?

Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, has issued a pastoral letter on liturgy and adoration, in which he directs churches in his diocese to be moved or restored to a "visible, prominent and noble space":

In order that more of the faithful will be able to spend time in adoration and prayer in the presence of the Eucharistic Lord, I direct that in the churches and chapels of our diocese, tabernacles that were formerly in the center of the sanctuary, but have been moved, are to be returned as soon as possible to the center of the sanctuary in accord with the original architectural design. Tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary or are otherwise not in a visible, prominent and noble space are to be moved to the center of the sanctuary; tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary but are in a visible, prominent and noble space may remain.

In a parish not too far from us, a new pastor came on board, and the first thing he did was to bring in a new tabernacle -- shining, golden, unmistakable, and he had it installed front and center. He assured the congregation, in his friendly, reassuring way that it would be at no cost to them. I'm not sure how he funded the project. Maybe he found a donor; maybe he paid for it out of pocket. But it was the first thing he did. Why? Because that is why we go to Mass. There were other jobs to do and things to fix, but the tabernacle is what he fixed first, because why would you not do that?

More of this kind of pastor, please. More of this. 


The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Let every Catholic Church make that obvious in the location of the tabernacle.

Carry on.

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