When I travel and enter unfamiliar Catholic Churches, I don’t really ask for much: an atmosphere of reverent silence and a tabernacle in front of which I may momentarily kneel and worship my Eucharistic Lord.
One would expect our Lord to be in "a distinguished place ... conspicuous, suitably adorned and conducive to prayer". But often His whereabouts are unknown. Far too often, instead of kneeling before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, I have to assemble a search team to scour the Church building to find out where they have taken Him! This should never be! But it occurs far too frequently.
My daughter and her family recently moved to a new town in a new State. We went to visit them. We also went to visit our Lord in the two Catholic Churches located in this town. He was no where to be seen! After searching for Him in the larger of the two Churches, I found Him in a chapel set apart from the area where the congregation gathers and celebrates
I never did find where they had taken Him in the other Church! Mass.
A few days before this upsetting experience, I was blessed to attend the annual conference of the Catholic Marketing Network and the Catholic Writers’ Guild. These groups had no difficulty placing a tabernacle prominently behind the altar that had been set up in one of the hotel’s banquet rooms.
They also had no problem processing with our Eucharistic Lord from the hallways of one hotel to repose the Sacred Monstrance in an Adoration Chapel set up in an adjoining hotel. This all took place in a secular setting with hundreds of committed Catholics unabashedly and publicly singing “Holy God, We Praise They Name”.
Our Church buildings must be sacred places in which the tabernacle where Our Lord resides is prominently and conspicuously placed and readily visible to everyone upon entry. No one should ever have to search for Him after entering His Church.
How blessed I was to give witness to my belief in His Eucharistic Presence by processing with Him through the halls of two secular buildings. How tragic that I could not readily find Him in two of His Churches.