This Week’s Ask Alice: Does a person need to be ordained in order to access the tabernacle?

Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer as many questions as possible,
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Nancy writes: Our priest recently told us that only ordained hands were allowed in the tabernacle. The person must be an acolyte, deacon, or priest. No extraordinary ministers allowed. Is this true? Thank you.

Alice Answers: The tabernacle is a secure reservoir for the Blessed Sacrament. It is not used as a part of the Mass. There are no iron clad rules regarding whose hands are allowed inside the tabernacle.

Touching the interior of the tabernacle is a matter based on protocol and common sense. During Mass, the celebrant, con-celebrating priest and deacon (ordained men) are at the altar, so protocol and logistics suggest that ordained hands would open and close the tabernacle during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. However, extenuating circumstances, such as a disabled celebrant without a deacon assistant, might necessitate (with the priest’s approval) the use of the hands of an extraordinary minister or layperson.

Properly authorized extraordinary ministers often remove the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle during Eucharistic Adoration or when preparing to bring the Holy Eucharist to hospitalized or home-bound persons.

Directives regarding access to the tabernacle may vary from one diocese to another, according to the jurisdiction of the local ordinary (bishop). For example: A bishop or priest might prudently decide to restrict the laity from access to the tabernacle in a church that’s located in a high crime area, or in a community with a large population of non-Christians.

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

Leave a comment

No comments yet.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s