Mass Cancelled? You Need A Home Altar!

Updated: Mar 17

The domestic church has taken on an new meaning for many of us in this odd sort of unofficial lock down mode. While the virus is creating much discord, this has done something that’s been a long time coming, create more time for the family. It’s also given us more of a chance to work from home, do more things that we find enjoyable, and hopefully spend more time in prayer. I see many families seeking ways to unite themselves to the Church from home as more churches have chosen to suspend Masses and services during this time. I am fortunate that our Archdiocese has not done this but my heart aches for those that cannot. I know that not being able to gather to worship our Lord and be with our communities can be a very difficult sacrifice. This virus has brought turmoil, panic, and discomfort into our daily lives. It has disrupted our routine and left many of us feeling powerless. This season of Lent it seems that we don't have to just mentally and spiritually walk the desert with Christ but there is this physical suffering for many people now too. As "little churches", prayer at home is of the upmost importance right now and as a routine moving forward. I personally think this is a blessing in disguise, giving us the perfect opportunity to reprioritize. If we are the domestic church, that means that our homes should be places that we go back to after being in the world where we find peace and the presence of Christ. Yes, I know that this sounds crazy, you may be thinking "you haven't seen my home" or "you don't know my kids" but Jesus wants to dwell with us. Mass once or twice a week and a few minutes of daily prayer is not enough for me to conform myself to His love, I need more than that! However, since many of us have not been called to consecrate ourselves, that means that it has to be integrated into our daily life. I always look to this quote from St. Gianna Molla, who was a wife, mother, doctor, and one of my favorite intercessors.

St. Gianna Molla had a husband who traveled a lot for work, had several children, went to work as a doctor, volunteered in her community and Church, yet she decided to dedicate her home to Christ so that he could reign over all that they did, she gets it! Let's imitate this by letting God have control over our lives and our families, especially when our community needs our prayers. When you can't go to Mass, go to that peaceful and beautiful place in your home to be with God. Schedule a time in the day, now that your children are home from school, to pray and learn about the Faith. Let there be a space in your home that acts as a reminder that He is there!

Last summer we did a home enthronement to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I reorganized our home altar, and hands down this was the best thing that we have ever done for our little church. I use our altar almost daily and it has become one of my favorite places to pray. If you don't have a home altar I want share with you what I have created and where I got things. This can obviously be adapted to fit your private devotions but I have attached the link for the home enthronement. Definitely take a minute to check out the link and let me know if you have questions this is a truly beautiful dedication of your home which I highly encourage you to consider.

Find a corner of your home that can be dedicated to prayer. I recommend a room or place where you usually don't do work and there aren't any electronics.

These two images were purchased off Amazon, they are canvas and turned out to be great quality, I had them framed at Hobby Lobby while they were both 50% off. We needed these for the home enthronement, the Sacred Heart of Jesus image has to be in a prominent place of the home.

This is our relic of St. Padre Pio! The shadowbox is working for me now until we can save up for a beautiful reliquary. The brass double candlestick holder behind the shadow box was found at a Church rummage sale and has gorgeous floral detail on it.

The lanterns are special because they were used at our wedding. I bought them on Facebook but I made the floral toppers myself. They are a lovely reminder of that joyful day, I firmly believe all married couples should have reminders of their wedding day in their home. I think it acts as a powerful reiteration of the vocation that we have committed to. The bronze candle sticks came from Goodwill, I got a set of three for next to nothing. The small image of St. Therese of Lisieux was a gift to me. She was a powerful intercessor in my discernment process and remains a dear Heavenly friend to me. The lace runner was purchased off of Amazon and adds a nice touch to give it that altar look.

I bought this image of St. Dominic already framed from a local Catholic gift shop and I bought the home incense kit a while back online. The power of scent can help to put me in a prayerful state of mind, especially when I smell those delightful fragrances of the Church in my home.

This ”Life of Christ“ book is a gem, it’s actually signed by Ven. Fulton Sheen and stands in our prayer table as a reminder of his saintly life and well, the life of Christ!

The much needed Rosary holder is a part of most families prayer table. Whether they are hung on hooks or placed in a beautiful container, you need something to keep these prayer tools on hand.

Saint statues can also be added, especially those saints that we frequently ask the intercession of or want to be reminded of their example. I’m in the process of getting a couple more because I find that a well made statue can help elevate my soul closer to God through art and craftsmanship.

Altar cross can be purchased online, Amazon or Church supply store, for a fairly reasonable price depending on size and detail but this is a simple one that I keep on a mantle which I bought from At Home.

The Mary statue was given to me and she’s placed below the crucifix because as St. John Paul II often talked about, we can get to Jesus through Mary. During many feast days we will offer her flowers and I frequently ask her to intercede for me and draw me nearer to her Son. She is my daily reminder to true and authentic femininity so I couldn’t imagine a prayer table without her. White pillar candles came from the dollar store!

The furniture that is acting as the prayer table itself is an old dresser that came from my family. It’s a great piece and also acts as a place for extra storage. You can find something like this for very cheap on Facebook market, local Goodwill, or resale shop. If you don’t like the color of the dresser or table you find but the price is right you can always paint it or put a nice table cloth over it.

I think that this would be a great project for you and your family while there is some time off. It is certainly something that will provide more opportunities for spiritual exercises in your home and hopefully help to draw your family closer to the Lord to give you strength and hope. “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.” (Psalm 73:28)