Making a Catholic Home Altar

There’s a suggestion you will see floating around various Catholic resources that you should make a small home altar.  It would be a place where you could “center” and a visible reminder of your faith in your home.  Fisheaters has a good article explaining one!   It should be noted that this also has the phrase the “domestic church” in with it.  As the fisheater article explains:

Every Catholic home should be considered a microcosm of the Church, with the Father as the head, Mother as the cherished spouse (both equal before God in dignity and, always, treating each other equally in charity), and with the children brought up learning how to know, love, and serve God. The true head of the Catholic home is Jesus, just as He is Head of the Church but appointed a Vicar in the Supreme Pontiff, our Holy Father. The constant awareness of Christ’s Kingship, with the family’s week centered on the Mass, and day centered on prayer, is key.

I’ve “known” all these things for a few years now, and back at our old apartment I did have a small altar on a bookcase for quite a while.  It was simple, with some pieces of religious artwork on it.  But it was a nice visible reminder of what we should all be focusing on.

The last few days, I’ve been working on introducing Grace to “school”.  We’ve been talking about the idea for a while and she’s very excited about it, so I’m going with it.  It’s pretty basic, just some crafts and talking about letters and numbers.  But I want to make sure she’s solidly educated in the faith and now I’ve decided to bring back our home altar (since it disappeared in the move).

We recently got rid of my desk in the living room and I decided to replace it with the bookcase that we had previously used for our altar.  It’s a good size for a few key items.  And the wall area is good for displaying some art.  Here’s the space with just the bookcase and the previous “art”.

Now here’s the bookcase with some additions!  On the wall I hung a close up of the portrait of Celeste and Jesus, a prayer/poem thing that’s called “Wedding Song” and two icons, one of Gabriel and one of Raphael.   Don’t ask why we don’t have Michael, we very well might and I just wasn’t able to find him (all these things were in a box in the garage and there may be more elsewhere).

I also put down some purple fabric, although I’m probably going to get something a bit nicer, this was just a scrap from my vast collection.  A candle that was floating around.  And two more pictures, both of which are just print outs on cardstock for two reasons.  One, the kids could reach these, so they can’t have any sentimental attachment.  Two, they are going to be changing, one monthly, the other weekly/biweekly.

One one side, we have an icon of the Transfiguration.  This is the upcoming weeks gospel.  I intend on switching this out every week or two to go with the Sunday readings and we’ll talk about it with Grace.

On the other side, we have St Joseph.  He’s a day early, March is “his” month.  So he’s going to be our saint of the month and we’ll talk about different stories and do some crafts and stuff.

Then I collected our relgious books and put them down on the bottom.  We’ve got a good amount (this isn’t all of them) but the shelves on this book shelf are sort of weird heights, so this is what’s going on there for now.

And here’s the finished space (well as finished as it is for now, I’m sure there will be changes).

I’m really hoping that as this space develops it will help us to remember to pray more.  It’s in the living room of our house (and on an east wall no less!) so it’s centrally located.

And even if it just helps me pray better for one day, that’s worth it.  🙂