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Catholic Home Altar Set Up

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How do you set up a Catholic home altar? An important part of the domestic church is creating a place for family prayer.

The family that prays together, stays together.”

– Fr. Patrick Peyton
catholic family home altar set up with devotionals and holy images

The Catholic Home Altar

This is a place that we use to gather together daily to pray the rosary, morning and night time prayers.

Plus, it just sets up the focus, front and center of our living space.

Several years ago we had our home enthroned to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. And Christ is the head of our family home life.

Related: Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

children praying the rosary in front of the catholic home altar
our catholic home altar set up

My husband has plans to build something from scratch for our home altar. But for now, we are just using what we have.

I have a couple of these tables from Ikea that I use in our homeschool classroom. And I pulled one to temporarily set up our altar.

I’ll share sources of what we used to set up our altar at the end of this post.

But first, I want to give another example of a neat home altar that my sister shared with me.

another example of a catholic home altar set up
Photo credit: Dominique D.

This is the setup in her fiancé’s family home. That image of Our Mother of Perpetual Helps is so beautiful!

Items to Decorate With

Here are a few suggestions to make the space put together.

  • a simple linen
  • fresh flowers
  • blessed candles
  • favorite devotionals
  • prayer books / bible
  • pictures of saints
  • statues
  • holy cards
statues and blessed candles

Sources for Our Set Up

I wanted to make our prayer area extra special and exciting for my children. It really helps encourage their enthusiasm and attraction to devotions.

I started with a simple white linen with embroidery that reads IHS. It gives it more of a chapel vibe for our domestic church.

IHS is an ancient monogram formed from the first three letters —Iota, Eta and Sigma—of the Greek word for Jesus: IHSOUS.

side view of the white linen cloth

Then I placed our blessed candles on brass candle holders that were found at a thrift shop.

Next, I used an old cake pedestal to raise up our Pieta statue.

And finally, we have a rosary flip book that helps my family stay focused on the mysteries when we pray together.

Here’s a few of the items we used for ours:

  • Church linen – On the top of the table, we have the Latin cross altar table runner with an IHS Lace insert. Get it here
  • 13” Crucifix – this is the one we have hanging above our home altar. It is really nice quality. Get it here.
  • 12” Pieta statue- this is the one that we have in our home. Get it here.
  • Rosary flip book. The images come from the 16th Century work of Goswijn van der Weyden, “The Fifteen Mysteries and the Virgin of the Rosary.” Each page displays a 4″ x 5″, full color image of one of the 15 Joyful, Sorrowful, and Glorious Mysteries. Get it here.

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  1. I set up a home altar on a little bookcase when we moved into our new home upon retirement. As cradle Catholics, my husband & I have a collection of statuary all the way back from our First Holy Communion. Also included is a crucifix, Catholic book collection & blessed candles. I plan to add a holy water font by our bedroom door. It remains my go-to place. When I feel overwhelmed by life’s curveballs. Thanks for your great posts!

  2. Can you tell me what the name of the Blessed Mother Statute in the first picture. We have one and don’t know her name.