From a reader…
I attend a local parish in a rural area that is a small mission church from a larger one 20 miles away. There is no daily Mass here, but the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the Tabernacle during the week.
Yesterday I inquired if anyone ever came to visit Our Lord during the week (since the church is locked at all times except for one Mass on Sundays). I was told that no one comes at all. They offered to make me a key so that I could come with my children to pray the Rosary. I am wondering if it is okay to leave the Blessed Sacrament alone like that all week? It is only a few minutes from my house, I can go every day… but I’m so bothered by the fact that no one seemed to be concerned about this?
By law, the Blessed Sacrament may be reserved in a church or oratory which is not a parish church only under certain conditions. Mass must be celebrated there at least twice a month, an individual person must be entrusted with the care of the Blessed Sacrament, and the church must be open for at least some time each day for the faithful to pray (canons 934 and 937).
The hosts reserved therein are to be renewed frequently (at least twice a month), a lamp must be kept burning before the Blessed Sacrament, and an annual period of solemn adoration must be held (canons 938-942).
It sounds like the situation of your chapel is, shall we say, less than optimal.
The idea of passing out keys to the faithful to have access to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is one of those things that can frequently get out of hand at a parish, to the point that even having a lock on the door is superfluous. Yet, someone should ensure that the mission church is open at least for some hours of the day so that the faithful can access it.
Also, this church is probably under the care of some pastor of a parish. One of the first and most important duties a pastor has is care of the Blessed Sacrament. Somebody is responsible.