The Tabernacle

The tabernacle is the heart of every Catholic Church, providing a safe and respectful place for the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist to dwell.

A place to keep the unconsumed Eucharist in the form of bread, Catholic tabernacles are inspired by the tent of meeting from the Old Testament which housed manna and Bread of the Presence in the Ark of the Covenant.

A tabernacle should be solidly constructed of noble material such as silver or gold, appropriate for the sacred treasure that it contains. It is often decorated with Christian symbols and biblical images.

To protect the Holy Eucharist inside, the tabernacle should be secure, protected by lock and key and bolted down so that it cannot be moved.

A tabernacle may include veils of white, gold, or the liturgical color of the day, further indicating that Christ is truly present there.

The tabernacle should be placed in a position that is visible and easy to find within the church. This location should be prominent but should not be the central focus of the church building.

To allow the faithful to pray before the tabernacle, it should be located in either an elevated place in the sanctuary away from the main altar or in a separate adoration chapel.

The location of the tabernacle is marked with sanctuary lamps. When lit with a real flame, the lamps represent the light of Christ and indicate the real presence of Jesus.

Catholics should acknowledge the presence of Jesus with a deep genuflection in the direction of the tabernacle when entering or leaving a Catholic Church building.

When approaching or opening the tabernacle, there should be a genuflection accompanied by respectful silence and reverence.

God pitches his tent with us:


The tabernacle is a dwelling place for God:

The Religion Teacher

A place to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament:

Archdiocese of New York

I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God].”

Revelation 21: 3

The tabernacle is the holy of holies:


Jesus is present in the tabernacle:


The unique and indivisible existence of the Lord glorious in heaven is not multiplied, but is rendered present by the sacrament in the many places on earth where Mass is celebrated. And this existence remains present, after the sacrifice, in the Blessed Sacrament which is, in the tabernacle, the living heart of each of our churches. And it is our very sweet duty to honor and adore in the blessed Host which our eyes see, the Incarnate Word whom they cannot see, and who, without leaving heaven, is made present before us.

Pope Paul VI, Solemni Hac Liturgia, 30 June 1968

God desires to have a designated place on Earth:

Ask the Associate

Its position should lend dignity to the tabernacle:


Placing the tabernacle in a prominent place but not front and center:

Breaking In The Habit

The tabernacle was first intended for the reservation of the Eucharist in a worthy place so that it could be brought to the sick and those absent outside of Mass. As faith in the real presence of Christ in his Eucharist deepened, the Church became conscious of the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species. It is for this reason that the tabernacle should be located in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1379

The light of the lamps indicate that Jesus is present:

St. John’s Savage

The Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

Encountering Jesus:

Ascension Presents

Share this page with friends and family to start a conversation about your faith.

Don’t miss a post. Learn more about the Catholic Church and strengthen your Catholic faith.

Find more Fiercely Catholic video issues here.

Subscribe here.

Book a Fiercely Catholic program at your next conference, retreat, or other Catholic event.