(This is an old post that I apparently saved as a draft and never posted)
I was checking Mass times for Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lindenhurst when this note on the front page of their website struck me:
"Thanks be to God, the Blessed Sacrament is now back in the sanctuary "front and center". The focus is now where it ought to be... on Christ in the Eucharist and in our lives. - Father Anthony"
Right below are some pictures of their new altar and rearranged sanctuary.
As Fr. Z. says, Brick by Brick......
There was an idea pushed in the 1970's and 1980's within the Church: The tabernacle should be moved to a place set apart from the sanctuary. This, combined with a Church design that would allow people to sit closer to the altar and even face one another, would make Catholics focus on the Liturgical action taking place. It would emphasize the presence of Christ in fellow parishioners. It would end the assumed widespread problem of Catholics focusing on the Real Presence in the Eucharist during Mass. This idea, like the pet rock and bell bottom pants, was not so good and in many places is now falling out of favor. The results of these moves may not have been what was intended: people now feel free to talk loudly in Church - before, during and after Mass, the worst offenders are the elderly and the ushers. (Ironically another idea in the 70's and 80's was to expand or create large spaces in front of the main section of the Church to create a 'gathering space'. This was to encourage community and was a good idea and is where the meet and greets should be taking place.) There is very little to no prayer before or after Mass. Catholics have less of a belief in the Real Presence today and very little belief in the value of piety. Many people are returning the tabernacle to the traditional location and are pleased with the results.