EWTN Catholic Q&A
Eating in the church
Question from C.C. on 01-24-2013:

Our new priest has started having picnics in the church. Everyone brings food and they have parties and such. They did start removing the Blessed Sacrament when this is done but this seems so inappropriate to me.

Answer by Catholic Answers on 01-24-2013:


Are you saying that people bring their picnics and parties into the sanctuary and celebrate whatever they're celebrating in the presence of the altar and emptied tabernacle? Even from a solely practical perspective, wouldn't the pews be an obstacle to such frivolity?

Let's say for the sake of argument that the church seating is removable (chairs rather than pews), that there is no social hall, and that the Blessed Sacrament is removed. It doesn't matter! The sanctuary is supposed to be sacred space set aside for the worship of God. It is not supposed to be a "venue" for parties and picnics.

I recommend making an appointment with the priest to ask him to reconsider. If you can offer alternative ideas for parish socializing (such as in a social hall or in the homes of volunteer parishioners), that might help. But if he is immovable on the subject, then write a letter to your local bishop explaining the problem.

Michelle Arnold
Catholic Answers