July 23, 2011

How to Step on the Altar

"It is customary that the sacristan, whenever he must step on the mensa of the altar, should do so barefooted, having first covered the mensa with a special cloth. He must never stand in the middle, that is, on the altarstone, for it is there that the sacred host and the chalice rest during the holy sacrifice of the Mass."

(Fr. John of Meerle, Capuchin Spirit and Life, 312)

4 comments:

Rachel Gray said...

Interesting... I wouldn't have thought it was allowable at all, but I suppose with a billion Catholics worldwide, some sacristan in some church somewhere in the world might need to.

cuaguy said...

This makes sense for things like cleaning the altar, or, if necessary, stripping it on Holy Thursday, and then replacing everything that was stripped, or covering statues, etc...

Yes, the liturgical geeks think of these situations all the time...

ben in denver said...

Well, I've stood on a side altar on parish cleaning day so I could polish the wooden statue of St. Mary which was behind and above it. I wish I had these instructions when I did. Even though a mass had not been celebrated on the side altar in decades, I wish I would have thought to take off my shoes.

ben in denver

GirlCanChant said...

You never know what kind of knowledge will be imparted on this blog! ;-)

But yeah, we might not think about it, and I don't think it happens much with main altars, but side altars probably get stepped on quite a bit. Think Passiontide, or in May. Mary's crown has to get up there somehow.