How to Set Up a Home Altar- Catholic Home Altar Ideas

In continuing with our series “Passing on the Catholic Faith to Your Kids“, I wanted to touch on setting up a home altar. When I first heard the term “home altar”, I felt a little scared. I didn’t know what I was doing, and the idea of setting up an official “altar” felt out-of-my-league. Sometimes home altars are also referred to as family altars, or prayer tables, or altar tables. Don’t let these names scare you either.

I’m here to tell you that setting up a home altar is not the complicated task that it may seem! It’s simple to do, there aren’t any “rules”, and it’s a great way to set the scene for the Domestic Church in your home.

catholic home altar ideas

What You Need to start a Home Altar:

  • A Surface to set it up on. This could be any surface- the top of a shelf, a mantle, a desk, a shelf that hangs on the wall, a section of your china cabinet, the back of your piano… just find something that works for you. I like to use a little cabinet so that our extra religious items can be stored underneath.
  • Some religious items to place on top. Try pooling objects you already have around your house such as a Bible, candles, rosaries, statues, crosses, flowers, prayer books, medals, pictures, etc. If you don’t have many things, your kids can color pictures, craft a crucifix or crosses, make rosaries, or make their own medals. And you know all those dried out palms in the shape of crosses you have left from Palm Sunday? You can put those there, too.

That’s is. Just set it up and you’re good to go.

home altar ideas for your domestic church

Once you have the basics down, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to branch out creatively. (At least I always do). ;-) Here are some more ideas to use once you get your home altar going:

I just keep our extra religious stuff under the cabinet, and pull it out when I want, but I’ve seen people around blog land store their liturgical items in plastic boxes labeled by the month. This way, you know exactly what to pull out when. Only you know if you’re that kind of organization nut or not. ;-) You could also keep well made children’s crafts in these boxes to come out (such as shamrocks to put around for St. Patrick’s day, Trinity triangles to come out on Trinity Sunday, Holy Spirit doves on Pentecost, Divine Mercy statues for Divine Mercy Sunday, etc. Find all my Catholic crafts here.

I also have a post on creating a portable prayer table for a classroom environment, but if you live in a home with limited space, this might also be a good option for you. You can also make small altars for your kids to each have in their room. This has been on my to-do list for awhile!

Setting up a home altar can certainly be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be, so remember to choose something that is “doable” for you at your current stage of life. Sometimes we get so excited about something that we over-complicate it, and then it doesn’t end up happening. It’s ok to start small.

prayer table ideas for home altar

Today was a continuation of our series “Passing on the Catholic Faith to your Children”. We have already covered:

Check out the Whole Series! “Passing on the Catholic Faith to your Children

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Comments

  1. BunnyMomRocks says:

    I was looking at ideas for this last night on Pinterest and found mostly adult oriented articles. Here this morning I find your article on Pinterest!!!! thank you so much for putting all of these ideas together and making it seem less terrifying. As an adult convert sometimes I find it extra challenging to help my children grow in their faith. Will get going on this today!

  2. This is just so all-around excellent Lacey. Love it! Thank you for your blog. It is definitely a blessing.

  3. It was wonderful to find this post as I have just bought my alter piece and was wondering where to start. The “alter” is a console table with some nice shelves/nooks and I was wondering if it’s ok to store books, specifically homeschool books, underneath our alter, or should the alter be used solely for religious items. They are Catholic homeschool books though ;-) Thanks so much for all of your ideas, Lacy!

  4. I was disappointed in the crafts that came with our VBS this year so I changed them to a series of crafts (rosary, cross, holy water jar, holy image, and flowers) so our kids could put together their own home altar with their crafts from each day. It was truly a blessing when I saw you blog entry a few days before we started! It gave be great confirmation that changing the crafts was the right thing to do, and it also gave me a great jumping off point for my letter to the parents about putting together their home altar. THANK YOU!!

  5. Growing up in the Philippines an altar in the home is common to each household. Even when you are approaching a house you know that the people who live there is Catholic because of the cross or the Twin Hearts of Mary and Jesus is hanging at the door or the gate. Or even the palm crosses are hanging too. When I read your post I am so glad you started it hope everyone follows ^_^.

  6. Julie davis says:

    Love your page, so helpful!! Love all the kids projects and how to get them involved. So, appreciate the hard work and organizing the information for all of us who are trying to pass on our faith to our children. Love the home altar idea, plan on using it with my children this week. Blessings