Browsing Amen Corner

Amen Corner - September 26

Whenever I am invited to an event in someone’s home it seems everyone always gathers in the kitchen, no matter how big the house! The kitchen seems to be the heart of the home. The kitchen prompts us to anticipate the feast and the intimacy of sharing a meal.


The early Church gathered in homes to remember the person of Jesus by telling stories about his life and by sharing a communal meal. When we assemble each week for Eucharist, we too find ourselves gathered around two tables, the table of the Word, the ambo, and the table of the Eucharist, the altar. From time immemorial, the Church has gathered around these two tables.


Today’s churches are to be designed so that the altar and ambo bear a “harmonious and close relationship” in order to emphasize the close relationship between Word and Eucharist. 


“The Church is nourished spiritually at the table of God’s word and at the table of the eucharist: from the one it grows in wisdom and from the other in holiness. In the word of God the divine covenant is announced; in the eucharist the new and everlasting covenant is renewed.” Lectionary for Mass Introduction 10


Because the altar is the table on which the ritual meal is prepared and offered, it is considered the centerpiece of the sanctuary and of the celebration of the Mass. The Church requires the altar to “occupy a place where it is truly the center toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns.” General Instruction of the Roman Missal 299


Likewise, the ambo is to be in “a suitable place from which it may be proclaimed and toward which the attention of the faithful naturally turns during the Liturgy of the Word.General Instruction of the Roman Missal 309


The ambo is to be reserved for specific proclamations.


“From the ambo only the readings, the Responsorial Psalm, and the Easter Proclamation (Exsultet) are to be proclaimed; likewise, it may be used for giving the Homily and for announcing the intentions of the Universal Prayer. The dignity of the ambo requires that only a minister of the word should stand at it.” General Instruction of the Roman Missal 309


As we gather around the table of God’s Word and Eucharist, may we be nourished and strengthened that we might feed others with the Good News.


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