Manila: Benedictine altar arrangement

A reader sent a photo of the "Benedictine" arrangement of an altar Manila, at St. Peter the Apostle Church.

Apparently this is not permanent, but it is a step in the right direction.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Mhar Angelo says:

    That’s why, Fr. Z, your blog and several others (like the NLM) are important. More priests are becoming aware of the importance of the Benedictine altar arrangement from the valid and solid arguments that you continue to post.

  2. Joan Moore says:

    A lovely picture. Now I know that what I see in the oratories of any of the Opus Dei study centers I’ve been to are the Benedictine altar arrangement. I had not known the term to describe it, but always found that it draws my attention to what is taking place on the altar.

  3. Herbert says:

    I am from the Philippines. This is an exception. Most altars in the Philippines are bare. Sometimes instead of using candle sticks they use the small votive candles placed in a glass.

  4. Paul Cheng says:

    It’s an exception to what’s common in the Philippines, and even at St. Peter, we only have it on more solemn occasions. What I learned with the introduction of the “Benedictine” arrangement to our parish is that two groups of people have the “ultimate” influence in any sanctuary innovation—priests and sacristy workers—and it’s not easy “influencing” both.

  5. Dr. Eric says:

    There are two absolutely beautiful churches in Peoria, IL that use the Benedictine Arrangement:

  6. Joe says:

    one step at a time. Perhaps the concelebrants could wear chasubles.

  7. gedsmk says:

    how? I don’t see the logic.

  8. Joe says:

    gedsmk: if your comment was in response to mine, the GIRM is clear about how concelebrants should vest. If priests are starting to emulate the Pope with regards to altar arrangments, perhaps they will more closely follow the documents he approves. Although I understand that many parishes do not have ‘extra’ chasubles for concelebrants.

  9. TJ Murphy says:

    This picture calls a question to mind. The General Instructions call for the altar cloth to be white, allowing for a colored antependium or cloth, providing the top cloth that covers the mensa is white.
    In some places I have seen “altar scarves” that are draped over the altar and almost resemble a stole. My question would be, can the scarves be draped over the white altar cloth so as to resemble a colored stole over a surplice, or should it be placed beneath the altar cloth?

  10. Carlos Palad says:

    The concelebrant is apparently wearing either a white chasuble or chasu-alb.

    In the Philippines, it is common for priests to wear a white chasuble or
    chasu-alb at all times, regardless of the liturgical season, with the stole
    alone indicating the color of the day. It is also very common to not wear an alb
    under the chasuble.

  11. Paul Cheng says:

    Sadly, Carlos Palad’s observation is true. It is most common in the Philippines for priests to wear colored stoles over white chasubles and have street clothes–note, not clerical attire, but laymen street clothes–underneath. It is, in fact, quite challenging to get a concelebrant (and celebrants too) to vest in a chasuble (with stole underneath) even if a chasuble is available!

  12. Gedsmk says:

    Concelebrants should wear chasubles; that’s clear. What I don’t see is how the photo is a “step in the right direction”. I have no problem whatever with following GIRM. It’s all that clutter on the altar that looks so bizarre. And they’ve also made the architectural howler of having the altar facing the baptised be the same width as the altar further back facing the wall.

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