Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has directed all the pastors in his diocese to move the tabernacles in their churches back to the center of the sanctuary.
In a beautifully written pastoral letter, Ars celebrandi at adorandi (The Art of Celebrating and Worshiping), Bishop Paprocki expounds on the rich tradition and teachings of the Church regarding the celebration and reverence for the Eucharist.
Bishop Paprocki also recounts the lamentable movement in the last few decades that has seen the Blessed Sacrament relegated to “side chapels,” which he notes are sometimes nothing more than converted storage closets.
And that, says Bishop Paprocki, needs to change now:
“I direct that in the churches and chapels of our diocese, tabernacles that were formerly in the center of the sanctuary, but have been moved, are to be returned as soon as possible to the center of the sanctuary in accord with the original architectural design. Tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary or are otherwise not in a visible, prominent and noble space are to be moved to the center of the sanctuary; tabernacles that are not in the center of the sanctuary but are in a visible, prominent and noble space may remain.”
Bishop Paprocki also reminds the faithful that the proper sign of reverence for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is to genuflect, not merely to bow. He also encourages more frequent Eucharistic exposition and adoration, as well as public Eucharistic processions through the streets.
Bishop Paprocki, you rock.