How to Make a Home Catholic Altar

Written by alyson paige
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How to Make a Home Catholic Altar
Altars adorn public and private sanctuaries. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Samuel Coleridge wrote, "Christianity is not a theory or speculation, but a life; not a philosophy of life, but a living presence." A Catholic altar in the home gives Catholics a spiritual focal point where they can live and pray their faith every day of the week. If you're a Catholic who's desires more prayer and reflection, create a sacred space in your home to serve as a focal point.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Crucifix
  • Religious icon
  • Small table
  • Glass or ceramic bowl with blessed water
  • Altar table
  • Chair
  • Kneeler
  • White altar cloth
  • Candle
  • Incense holder
  • Roman Missal
  • Bible

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  1. 1

    Hang a crucifix on a wall to draw the immediate attention of all who approach the altar. Hang an icon on an adjacent wall, if you wish.

  2. 2

    Place a glass or ceramic bowl on a small table at the entrance to your altar space. Fill the bowl with water that has been blessed by your priest. The bowl will serve as a holy water font.

  3. 3

    Place a table, a chair and a kneeler in the space beneath the crucifix. Lay a white altar cloth on the table. Place a candle and an incense holder on the cloth.

  4. 4

    Set a copy of the Roman Missal on the table. Place an approved Catholic Bible, such as the New American Bible, with the missal.

  5. 5

    Use your altar to begin and end your day with Catholic prayers and readings. For example, pray the rosary and novenas and perform the Lectio Divina in your altar space.

Tips and warnings

  • Place your altar table in a corner, if possible, to accommodate the crucifix on one wall above the altar and an icon on a wall near the crucifix.
  • Offer a prayer that your altar will serve to illuminate your family and draw you closer to God and each other.
  • Decorate your home altar to mark the changing liturgical seasons.

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