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  #1  
Unread 3rd July 2011, 02:56 PM
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Altar Rail Returning to Use

Architects, pastors and parishioners find it enhances reverence in church.


In Tiverton, R.I., when some parishioners suggested returning altar rails to the sanctuary of Holy Ghost Catholic Church, Father Jay Finelli gladly accepted, little knowing shortly thereafter the Pope’s 2007 motu proprio letter Summorum Pontificum would follow and he would be interested in learning how to celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass.

In Norwalk, Conn., when a groundswell of parishioner support encouraged pastor Father Greg Markey to restore St. Mary Church, the second-oldest parish in the diocese, to its original 19th-century neo-gothic magnificence, he made sure altar rails were again part of the sanctuary.

Altar rails are present in several new churches architect Duncan Stroik has designed. Among them, the Thomas Aquinas College Chapel in Santa Paula, Calif., the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., and three others on the drawing boards.

Altar (Communion) rails are returning for all the right reasons.
Said Father Markey: “First, the Holy Father is requiring holy Communion from him be received on the knees. Second, it’s part of our tradition as Catholics for centuries to receive holy Communion on the knees. Third, it’s a beautiful form of devotion to our blessed Lord.”

James Hitchcock, professor and author of Recovery of the Sacred (Ignatius Press, 1995), thinks the rail resurgence is a good idea. The main reason is reverence, he said. “Kneeling’s purpose is to facilitate adoration,” he explained.

When Stroik proposed altar rails for the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe,
“Cardinal [Raymond] Burke liked the idea and thought that was something that would give added reverence to the Eucharist and sanctuary.”
In Eastern Orthodox churches, there is an iconostasis — a wall of icons and religious paintings that separate the nave from the sanctuary — rather than altar rail separating the sanctuary. While the altar rail is usually about two feet high, the iconostasis veils most of the sanctuary.

“The altar rail is nothing compared to that,” he says, “and these are our Eastern brethren. We can benefit and learn something.”

Altar Rail History


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/altar-rails-returning-to-use?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register&utm_content=Google+Reader#When:2011-07-3#ixzz1R4P7egAr
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The more I follow the online discussions ... the more I follow the debates and disagreements in the Church about administrative unity, or the concerns expressed about the moral or personal or administrative or leadership failings of the bishops or the clergy, the more I become convinced that whatever might be the truth of these concerns, ALL of this is simply a distraction. No, it’s more than that. It’s a justification, an excuse, for not helping each other and those outside the Church fall in love with Jesus Christ. How easy it is to talk about everything, but about Jesus hardly at all.


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  #2  
Unread 3rd July 2011, 03:24 PM
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It is always humbling to receive the Holy Eucharist, kneeling at the altar rail; whether New Mass or Old Mass.
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“Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another' s burdens; and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ.”
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Unread 9th July 2011, 03:13 AM
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Interesting article.

It also compared the communion rail with the iconostasis in the Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and how the time after Vatican II can be called iconoclastic.
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Unread 9th July 2011, 03:37 AM
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The post-Conciliar "wreck-o-vation" was most certainly iconoclastic in ardour, if not in word.
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“Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another' s burdens; and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ.”
— Galatians 6, 1-2.
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Unread 9th July 2011, 03:59 AM
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Praise the Lord for this good news.
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Unread 9th July 2011, 08:14 AM
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And the best part is that the Eucharistic ministers who would be out of a liturgical job could stand at either end of the priest to help the old people get up afterwards....
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Unread 9th July 2011, 09:24 AM
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Beautiful article. I only wish the article was present when, months back, we were discussing altar rails. Someone was claiming that the altar rails were meant to separate us from the priest, and I mentioned that I remembered a gate, so it wasn't for that purpose. Well, it seems like my memory wasn't that off because the article mentions a gate too.
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Unread 9th July 2011, 09:38 AM
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If kneeling is such a sacred position, then why don't other Christian churches have kneelers?

Many if not most older people have difficulty kneeling. And older people are, in general, more frequent churchgoers than younger people.
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Unread 9th July 2011, 09:45 AM
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My church has always had a rail and gate.Some people choose to stand if they are uncomfortable in the kneeling position.
Folks who can not make it to the alter can sit in the front pews and receive communion there after the rest of the congregation has partaken of the hosts.
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  #10  
Unread 9th July 2011, 11:57 AM
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Not every Church has kneelers or even pews. In the East, kneeling is a sign of penitence, done only during the Mystery of Confession or Vespers; in the West, kneeling has always been understood as sign of prayer, humility, and reverence; as acceptable sign of humility whenever at Holy Mass or more specifically: when receiving the most Body and Blood of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist.

Not all Christian Churches have kneelers, as some do not even have pews. Keep in mind pews are a modern invention; generally the pale of Protestants during the Protestant Rebellion. Prior thus in Catholic Churches, There chairs lining the wall to seat the elderly and infirm, otherwise folks would sit, stand, prostrate, or kneel on the bare, open floor in whatever position they felt most comfortable or worthy positioning themselves to worship our Blessed Lord during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Kneeling to receive the Blessed Sacrament as a general practise dates from the early to middle Mediaeval era; although the practise itself occurred much earlier. It was also in the Mediaeval-era and late Roman-era 500-900s that communing under both species of the Holy Eucharist gradually became discouraged and proscribed. Until eventually to protect against profanation, reception of the Precious Blood was entirely removed from the laity, leaving only the Sacred Host to be received.
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“Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another' s burdens; and so you shall fulfill the law of Christ.”
— Galatians 6, 1-2.

Last edited by Virgil the Roman; 9th July 2011 at 12:03 PM.
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