CCC: Benedict Altar Arrangement at Old St. Anthony's

This is a picture of the beautiful low altar at Old Saint Anthony Parish on the South Side of Milwaukee. One thing you’ll notice right away is the arrangement of the candles and the large crucifix on the altar. This is known as the Benedictine arrangement, and it attained a degree of popularity during the pontificate of Benedict XVI and, thankfully, it has been retained in Rome under Francis. In The Spirit of the Liturgy, Benedict XVI/Cardinal Ratzinger wrote about the significance of placing a crucifix on the altar for liturgies versus populum. “Where a direct common turning toward the east is not possible, the cross can serve as the interior ‘east’ of faith. It should stand in the middle of the altar and be the common point of focus for both priest and praying community.” (p.83)
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1 comment:

  1. Hey, this looks familiar! Always nice to see your home parish making the rounds in the Wisconsin Catholic Blogosphere.

    For me the thing that stands out most, and I am 100% in support of the Benedictine arrangement, is the fact that at St. Anthony's in particular the candles and crucifix are quite tall relative to most places that use this arrangement and yet they still do not obscure anything when it comes to the worship of our Eucharistic Lord.

    The arrangement is a beautiful symbol of continuity with the past, a beautiful reminder to the congregation that the Altar is not just a communal table, and a powerful reminder to the priest of the significance of the offering he is making for us at the Altar. The more parishes that move to this altar arrangement (presuming a versus populum altar and that the altar space permits it) the more solemnity will naturally flow out in the worship at that particular Mass.


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