As things in the world and the Church continue to change and escalate it is more important than ever that Catholic families are dedicated to daily prayer and sacrifice. A home altar is a perfect way to set up a visual reminder for daily prayer and meditation. With regular use it becomes a place of refuge and comfort, that reminds us of the love and presence of God in our lives come what may. If you are looking to establish a traditional Catholic home altar, here are some steps to help you get started.
Choose a location: The first step in setting up a home altar is to choose a good location in your home. This should be a place that is quiet, away from distractions where you and your family can focus on prayer and worship. A room in your home dedicated for this purpose would be ideal, but you can also set up a small corner in your living room or bedroom, a mantle, a bookshelf, or any space around which you can gather to pray.
Gather the necessary items: To begin setting up your home altar, you will want to gather holy items and image such as any of the following: a crucifix, holy images, statues, blessed candles, a holy water font, holy books (Bible, prayer and devotional books, missals or other liturgical books, etc.) a kneeler, a rosary for each member of your family, holy relics, a liturgical calendar, and any other blessed or religious items your family finds edifying. The beauty of these sacred spaces is not the perfection or quantity of the items, or their arrangement, but the inspiration they provide your family to pray and the hours of prayer poured into them.
Decorate your altar: As Catholics our faith is very physical and active — kneeling, standing, genuflecting, making the Sign of the Cross, etc. Adding physical changes to your altar according to the liturgical season can make it more edifying and meaningful. You can decorate it with flowers, a tablecloth/fabric, and other religious elements. These seasonal changes can help you move through the liturgical year with the Church and assist your family in meditation on our Lord's love, sacrifice, and care.
Use your altar: Once you have set up your home altar and use it daily it will naturally become a sacred center of prayer for your family. The head of the household can sprinkle holy water and ask God to bless the space, or you can also ask a trusted priest to come to your home and bless your altar.
By setting up a home altar, you and your family can create a special and sacred space to pray, worship, and draw closer to God. It is a place where you can come together as a family, to offer thanks and praise, and to find comfort and peace in the presence of the Lord regardless of the chaos in the world or in the Church. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out. We are very happy to help!