CHNetwork Online Community › Forums › Mass, Liturgy, Liturgical Calendar, Blessed Objects › Guidance on objects around the home and statues/shrine
June 19, 2017 at 11:43 pm #22726
I am currently going through the conversion process and for months now I have grasped catholicism with both hands (and my heart!). I feel closer to Christ all the time, and the many traditions and sacramentals really help me to build on my relationship with God.
Anyway, I have seen a number of people online sharing pictures of their home shrine/altar. This is something I would love to do as it would give the whole family a place to go when wanting to pray.
I live the UK, and apart from those I have met at mass (who I don’t really know well just yet), I have never really known any catholics who are strong in their faith. I guess what I’m asking, is, is it normal/culturally acceptable to do this kind of thing? Part of me doesn’t care what other people think, but I do want to bring my kids up right and don’t want anyone thinking their parents are strange because of the shrine in their house!
I am very proud of my faith and want to proclaim it. I would be very happy if my friends, who know me historically as agnostic, saw some Catholic adornments and that it may prompt a conversation.
So I was thinking of having a crucifix above each of our beds and maybe having a shrine with candles and holy icons/statue. Can anyone advise if this is ‘normal’ for British catholics? Please forgive my ignorance of this beautiful faith and thank you in advance for your help ☺️June 20, 2017 at 3:24 am #22753
David W. EmeryKeymaster@David W. Emery
Yes, Thomas, it’s perfectly acceptable. Many Catholics have them.
England is very secularized, and your neighbors may wonder about you, but in most of the Catholic world, shrines are very popular. I believe that you will find acceptance of this practice among your fellow parishioners; you may want to discuss it with them once you get to know them better.
Many Catholics I know have “prayer corners,” private shrines where they can kneel or sit and pray or read the Bible or other spiritual literature. My wife and I, in contrast but with similar intent, have religious pictures and icons in several rooms of our home. They are not all concentrated in one place, but they give an omnipresent reminder that this is a Catholic home. We worship God and offer prayers as we contemplate a picture of the Sacred Heart in the kitchen, of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the den, of Christ crowned with thorns in the living room, or before one of the crucifixes, for instance, in the bedroom.
I say to you, Go ahead and do what is in your heart and don’t worry about “what people may say.” Tongues will wag no matter what you do (that is human nature), so it is best to do what Christ himself desires rather than hold back for fear of gossip.
DavidJune 20, 2017 at 3:40 am #22754
I have a Marian garden that I can sit and look at while I and doing devotionals and prayers. I find it very peaceful and keeps me focused.June 20, 2017 at 3:54 am #22755
Howard HampsonKeymaster@Howard the Pilgrim
The physical aspects of the Catholic Faith along with the written prayers have revolutionized my prayer life which was pretty sparse as an evangelical, As has been advised by David, follow your heart as it seems to be what the Lord is leading you to do.June 20, 2017 at 6:44 am #22757
Thank you all so much for your encouraging words, guidance and wisdom.June 21, 2017 at 1:26 am #22764
Hi Thomas, I have only been Catholic a couple of years now, but I make small crosses out of the blessed palms from Palm Sunday and there is one in each of the rooms in my house. I also have a small cupboard in the old desk in my bedroom which opens up and has my favourite prayer cards, some small statues, a small container of holy water, etc. I say my prayers there in the morning.
My son works from home on his computer, and he always has the crucifix from his rosary looped over the screen as a reminder between himself and God that holiness needs to be a priority when online. He has his favourite prayer card close by as well, and I think one or two other things which mean a lot to him.
We are moving soon to a much smaller location, so we will have to figure out where to put things and how to set things up. Saints, prayers and devotions will soon crop up in your life as being “your favourites”, and I have found that as circumstances change, sometimes so do they with certain ones remaining constant. It is all good and natural! The little cards, medals, pictures and statues may change and grow as you do as well, but it is all good.
I don’t keep my home TOO overtly Catholic because my daughters are still all evangelical Protestants and I know it makes them feel rather uncomfortable, but I do have a few things out to remind them that, yes, their mom did go crazy there a couple of years back and actually became Catholic. Lol. They really have no idea what to do with that except not mention it too often in case it gets me talking about it again. Ha ha. I DO love to talk about it!June 22, 2017 at 11:49 am #22788
That’s a lovely description thank you! I am pleased that you are able to share your faith with your whole family. Thankfully your daughters, although not Catholic, are coming from a protestant belief in God so are still saved!! I live in the UK which is much more secular than the US. I came to Catholicism (although baptised Anglican) from a secular upbringing, where i had faith in God but I kept it secret from all those around me, family included for fear of being judged (I also made a stop with the New Age deception but that’s another story!). Thankfully my wife has joined me on this journey to Catholicism and my sons (7yrs, 4yrs and 6mo) are young enough to join us on the journey too.
What I find interesting is that we are warned against ‘vain’ acts of religion, such as that practised by the Pharisees, for the purpose that we are displaying our Christianity for the gain of earthly respect. I’ve read lots of comments about not wearing Rosary beads as jewellery, not hanging roasary beads from rear view mirrors etc etc.
HOWEVER, the situation for me here in the UK is this: when I tell people (friends, people at work etc) that I have found Jesus and am converting to Catholicism, there is nothing vain about it. I am almost calling myself out as a pariah in many social situations. The dominant ‘religion’ here in the UK is practised in the bars, pubs and clubs on a Friday and Saturday night, which involves lots of alcohol, hedonism and casual sex. Jesus is seen as an embarrassing and primitive throw back. So when I tell my friends about my Catholicism the reaction is that I am no fun anymore, and a bit strange. I have a senior job and being honest at work about my religion causes a loss of respect as people see it almost as a heresy.
So when I decided to follow Jesus again and be reborn, this problem became my own personal battle-line. I don’t have a Rosary hanging from my rearview mirror, but I have promised myself that after I have taken my first Holy Communion I will buy one for this purpose. It will make life harder for me – those who sit in my car, walk past my house etc will judge me negatively and I will lose respect. Similarly any statues/icons in my house will raise the eyebrows of my friends when they come around and I know it will cause people to be mocking behind my back. These are exactly the reasons I want to do these things – not because I get rewarded but because it causes me to suffer for Christ’s sake. Similarly, I have an appointment to get a tattoo of Christ’s passion on my forearm (I know lots of Catholics are against this but the catechism doesn’t forbid it afaik). I want to do this to leave an indelible mark on my body that i belong to Christ. Never again will I be ashamed of my religion.
I fell like I have just contradicted my original question there, but what I was concerned about was having things in my house that would be frowned upon by other Catholics and perhaps my priest, but it has been helpful to hear the experiences of other people.
Thank you allJune 23, 2017 at 11:37 pm #22814
I still live with my parents, and I’m the only one in the house who’s Catholic, so I just have a little prayer corner in my room. I bought a wooden crucifix from the Fatima Online Shop (which I heartily recommend), and I keep it with an image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, an image of the Sacred Heart, my Bible, a candle, some holy water and a few prayerbooks. I often have my rosary in my backpack or pocket, but it has a hook to hang on in the corner as well. For me, it is wonderful to have a spiritual centre to my bedroom, and a place to say my prayers. My Protestant family find it a little unusual, but they accept that this is something that Catholics do. Like you, I did not set it up to make a fuss (indeed, I was very bashful when the crucifix arrived in the post!), but to satisfy a desire that sprang up in my heart. I can just imagine how wonderful it must be to have a prayer corner as the spiritual centre of your whole household!July 5, 2017 at 11:27 am #22941
It’s lovely to hear your story thank you for sharing 🙂July 26, 2017 at 6:05 pm #23237
Hi Thomas, how’s this going for you?
I live with Protestant family so kept everything in a drawer and only getting it out for use. But a few months ago I put a tiny diptych of our lady of perpetual help and Christ the teacher up in my room, then after a while left an Assisi crucifix out permanently by my bibles. They are daily reminders and encouragement. I find they are very helpful for focusing in prayer.
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