Question of the Day for Thursday, February 28, 2013
Q. About 30 years ago our small rural church was replaced by a new modern one a few miles away. When the altar, statues and pews were removed from the older building the altar stone was removed from the altar. One of the parishioners ended up with it, and it was handed down to a Catholic friend of mine who had no idea what it was until I identified it for him. I was told that altars were no longer required to have altar stones following the Second Vatican Council, and our current parish church does not have one. My friend offered it to our pastor for insertion in our altar, but it was refused, and he was told he could keep it, but one should treat it with reverence, which he does.
The fact that the miraculous change of bread and wine into the Body of Christ took place so many times over this altar stone leaves me in awe, and incredulous that the pastor wouldn’t want it for our church. Basically, I would like your comments about altar stones and their non-requirement in the newer churches being built.
Guy, via e-mail
A. Here is a reply from Father Francis Hoffman, J.C.D.:
As you can read below, the General Instruction of the Roman Missal does not require an altar stone for an altar, but allows for the placement of authentic relics underneath the altar, and not in the altar stone. The old altar stones are still sacred items because they have been consecrated and because of what you mention: Mass was celebrated upon them. Accordingly, they should be treated with reverence. It could be fitting to display them in a reliquary of the Church.
Read the rest of the answer at Our Sunday Visitor: http://www.osv.com/TCANav/TCAQuestionoftheDay/Feb25March12013/tabid/8693/Default.aspx